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Microsoft linked to little-known phone manufacturer Phicomm, possible Windows Phone deal brewing

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Windows Phone is supported by several major brands, all of which most technology fans will know, such as Nokia, HTC, Samsung, and Huawei. Despite these big names, Microsoft is still looking for new partners, and a new name has emerged in the shape of Phicomm. Um, who? Exactly.

Here’s what we know about the new company in Microsoft’s life:

Based in China, Phicomm already has a healthy catalog of Android smartphones and tablets, including the dual-core, 5.3-inch i813, and the 7-inch, Android Gingerbread-powered FPad tablet. Now, a Phicomm Europe representative has revealed it’s negotiating with Microsoft to adopt Windows Phone 8. It’s stressed that the discussions are in the very early stages, and should they be successful, the first phone born out of the partnership is still a long way away.

According to AllAboutWindowsPhone, Phicomm is a fan of licensing existing reference designs for its phones, with the resulting low price being the primary incentive to buy. From a design aspect, this isn’t going to be an option with Windows Phone, so when – or if – it signs the papers, it’s going to have to come up with a phone all of its own.

China is an important market for Microsoft, just as it is for most other smartphone manufacturers. Nokia has introduced several of its Lumia smartphones there already, while Asus and Lenovo are also said to be negotiating terms with Microsoft to sell Windows Phone 8 hardware in the region. Lenovo primarily sells its Android smartphones, like the K900 announced during CES, in Asia; while Asus is best known for its tablets and quirky hardware such as the PadFone 2.

Phicomm doesn’t have the pedigree of either of these two, or Microsoft’s other partners for that matter, but it’s reminiscent of Huawei before it became the internationally recognized name it is today. Ironically, if Phicomm joins Microsoft’s merry band, its low-to-mid devices will probably put it in direct competition with Huawei.

Whether the deal goes through or not, it’s evidence that Microsoft is keen on securing as much market share in China and Asia as soon as possible.