Microsoft has teamed up with Taiwanese chipmaker MediaTek to develop Windows Mobile-based smartphones aimed at emerging markets. Using the Windows Phone 6 platform, the two firms aim to develop “multimedia-rich smartphones will have full touch capabilities and offer advanced communication features including email and Internet access.” The plan is to develop smartphones that will be affordable to consumers in emerging markets such as China; the companies noted in a statement that the phones will have the “best cost-performance ratio” in the market. “There is a huge thirst for smartphones in emerging markets. For many people, the phone rather than the PC is the main entry point to the Internet, resulting in a high demand for rich communication devices,” said Daren Mancini, general manager for OEM Mobile at Microsoft.
Meanwhile, speculation is rising that Microsoft is poised to make a big announcement at the GSMA Mobile World Congress next week, after it was announced yesterday that CEO Steve Ballmer will personally present the company’s press conference on Monday. According to a media alert on Microsoft’s website, Ballmer will “discuss Windows phones” at the show but gave no further details. According to WindowsForDevices.com, an unofficial Microsoft blog, the firm is “certain” to show of the next evolutionary version of its Windows Mobile platform – known as Windows Mobile 6.5.3 – but rumours are also rife that Microsoft will reveal details of the long-awaited Windows Mobile 7.