Windows Phone market share continues to be in the doldrums, but there's potential good news: A big Chinese manufacturer, LG, and others have signed on to build Windows Phones. Will that kickstart Windows Phone, or is the platform already a lost cause?
Reports within the last few days say that a number of new manufacturers will make Windows Phone devices. The biggest news is LG, which back in 2010 made the line of Windows Phone 7 Optimus devices, but dropped them a year later because they simply didn't sell. Last year, LG told CNet that it wouldn't make Window Phone 8 handsets because there was not enough demand for them.
Evleaks, which has a good track record with leaks, recently posted an image of a Windows Phone 8 device called the Uni8 which it said is from LG. LG is a large, South Korean-based manufacturer, and if it does commit to Windows 8, that would be a big win for Microsoft because of its global reach.
Two other manufacturers have signed on to Windows Phone, according to the LiveSino site, and even though they might not be big names like LG, their impact could be even greater. That's because one of them has a major presence in the Chinese market, where Windows Phone has so far failed miserably. The other, Blu Products, isn't nearly as important.
Neowin, citing the LiveSino report, says that one manufacturer is K-Touch, part of the Beijing Tianyu Communication Equipment Company which claims to be the third biggest manufacturer of mobile phones in China. The Chinese carriers with which it has partnerships include China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom. China has the world's largest smartphone market and Windows Phone has barely any presence there. The latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech show that Windows Phone has only a 1% market share in China, down from 1.9% a year ago. If Windows Phone is to succeed, it has to do much better than that in China.
Around the world, Windows Phone isn't doing much better, with only a 3% market share, according to the latest figures from Canalys.
Will these latest deals on their own save Windows Phone? Certainly not. But they'll at least keep it on life support. And LG's global presence and K-Touch's strength in the Chinese market might even mean that Windows Phone could make some headway. But the platform needs more than just three new manufacturers. It needs demand for it to spike, and that's still nowhere to be found.