Efforts by Microsoft to penetrate the European mobile phone market could receive a boost when Taiwanese hardware manufacturer Mitac International launches the first mobile phone using a chipset from Intel and the US software giant's Smartphone operating system.
In details published on Tuesday Mitac said the Mio 8380 would be available at the end of the third quarter. It provided no pricing information.
Intel and Microsoft officials could not comment immediately.
The clamshell phone is based on a reference design provided by Intel and Microsoft. It will use Intel's 200MHz PXA255 processor and run Microsoft's Windows-powered Smartphone 2002 software.
In addition to making phone calls, customers can use the phone to send e-mail, take and send snapshots and listen to music. The triband phone operates on GSM and GPRS networks in Asia, Europe and the US.
Last year, Microsoft made its debut in the European handset market. The UK subsidiary of France's Orange introduced the first mobile phone in the region using the US company's Smartphone software. The phone, manufactured in Taiwan by High Tech Computer, uses a chipset from Texas Instruments.
At the 3GSM World Congress event in Cannes earlier this year, Microsoft announced Mitac and Winstron, an Acer spin-off, as new Smartphone and Intel partners.
"The move by Mitac is good news for Microsoft which needs to get more handsets from different suppliers out there in the market," said Chris Jones, analyst at Canalys.com. "This will create more competition which will help drive the development of new products and could also lead to lower prices."
Jones expected the Mio 8380 model to sell before subsidies at between €500 (£350) and €550, in line with prices for other advanced mobile phones. To ease their way into the market, however, suppliers should consider pricing below the €500 mark for phones without contracts and below the €200 market for phones with contracts, he said.
John Blau writes for IDG News Service