Cheap Phones, powered by Microsoft


Having won only minor traction with some of the larger phone makers, Microsoft is choosing another tact – cheap phones made by original equipment makers. The company made the announcement this morning at the 3GSM Congress, and said that it will be working with Flextronics, to develop a low-cost GSM/GPRS phone which can be brought to market quickly and be re-branded by all comers. The new platform is called Peabody, and can be used to customize the phones depending on the orders.

“That’s the significance of this partnership — extremely high-volume, low-cost devices that don’t have any concessions in terms of functionality,” John Starkweather, product manager at Microsoft’s mobile devices division told The Associated Press. Microsoft is trying hard to get a toehold in the wireless market, and despite its best efforts it has had limited success. Wireless is crucial area of growth for the company which is finding core “PC” business moving slower than me after a night of single-malt binge.


Charlie Sierra

Nobody is ignoring MSFT, which could be a very bad thing, for it is better to co-opt that to face the uncertainty of locking them out altogether.

Mr Softie may just be able to grab the brandname mfg’s margin for itself by going directly to the assembler.

This is a very smart move by MSFT.

But lets see how far QCOM lets them go.

Ah, the sweet sounds of two ruthless and brutally smart competitors going for each other’s jugular. Let the games begin.

Capitalism, you can beat it, baby!!!

Sunil Chhaya

No one should ignore what Microsoft is doing here. With the emergence of all-in-one devices a-la HP’s 6315 etc, cheap Phone/PDA combos can become the personal computing/communication devices with a ‘little push’ from the big guy. I feel that huge demand can be stimulated overseas, especially in Asia, where wireless is the only available medium for communication and in some cases, low-end computing (PCs are not as cheap even in dollar terms in India, as they are here, for example). What if someone such as MSFT came up with a dockable computer (remember the $140 PC from the likes of AMD, and another that Intel announced?) in PDA/Cell phone form factor that has the universal interface to run low-end (low-end is very subjective here, as the StrongARM processor capabilities keep growing at phenomenal rates – the latest HP PDAs have Intel PXA2xx 624 MHz?)… May be I should patent this;) If this thing is subsidized, that will BE the next PC, and hence Microsoft’s keen interest in pushing this. The route to this may be through developing countries, though, given the glacial pace of new technology adoption in the North America.

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