Android's huge growth hasn't been solely caused by flagship devices such as Samsung's Galaxy S III. Much of the platform's success is also owed to lower-cost devices such as the ASUS Nexus 7 and various other value-orientated devices. Thus far, this is a market that Microsoft's Windows Phone platform has yet to really take advantage of, particularly in emerging markets.
While the recently announced Huawei Ascend W1 will take a step to solve such a problem; Microsoft has bigger ideas. Microsoft is rumoured to be working on a reference design for low-cost Windows Phone 8 handsets. As we have come to expect, Qualcomm is one of the partners. Another rumoured partner is MediaTek, however we fail to see how they fit into the picture given Qualcomm's exclusive chip agreement for Windows Phone handsets.
Regardless, such a reference model could be ready by the middle of the year. From there OEMs will adapt it for themselves to create their own affordable Windows Phone 8 handsets. The first such devices could arrive in time for Christmas.
KitGuru says: If Microsoft is indeed working on a low-cost reference design, expect Windows Phone to be a much more competitive platform in twelve months time.