Among Microsoft's many software announcements to flow from this morning's Windows Phone 7 update event in New York is a list of new hardware partners.
The next wave of Windows phones will come from a crew that is both diverse and familiar. Acer, Fujitsu, and ZTE are new Windows Phone partners. The former two are best known for computing devices like scanners (Fujitsu), laptops and tablet PCs (both), and a recent foray into tablets (Acer).
It's little surprise that the computing stalwarts have their hooks aimed at the white-hot mobile space. Microsoft hasn't detailed specifics on any future phone designs or markets, so we'll have to wait and see if either manufacturer succeeds or if they will follow rival Dell to Windows Phone obscurity.
ZTE is also a noteworthy addition as a Microsoft companion. It's little known in the U.S. and has only released one phone with a tier-one carrier to date. The rest of its U.S. pickings have typically been entry-level handsets bound for prepaid carriers like MetroPCS, although Sprint (and Virgin Mobile) did get the ZTE Peel hot spot and T-Mobile has a hot spot.
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Microsoft didn't share during the event if ZTE Windows Phones are on track for a global release that includes the U.S.; however, it would be interesting to see what ZTE's first smartphone tied to a U.S. carrier would look like as a Windows 7 phone. (ZTE has produced several unlocked Android phones.)
In the meantime, Samsung, LG, and HTC will continue their partnership with Microsoft. New phones on their roster will include 4G-capable handsets and the Mango update, although Microsoft didn't specify which type of 4G would be supported, LTE or WiMAX.
We do know, however, that Nokia phones will receive Mango first, thanks to Nokia's February decision to primarily manufacture Windows phones in favor of their own Symbian software.
Microsoft also said that it's preparing to announce new carrier partners and geographic availability. Stay tuned for all the latest Windows Phone 7 news here.