ZTE launches Tania, reveals cost of Windows Phone license

By on January 19, 2012, 1:30 PM

Chinese phone manufacturer ZTE has officially launched its first Windows Phone at a press event in London. Dubbed ZTE Tania, the device features a 4.3-inch touchscreen, and is powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 processor along 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. For connectivity, there's HSPA with up to 14.4Mbps download speed, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 and A-GPS.

It's intended as budget-friendly offering, and while its specs are nothing to write home about, its arrival brought one interesting nugget of information to our attention: the cost of Windows Phone licensing.

Speaking at the Tania's launch event, Santiago Sierra, a portfolio manager for the company's UK branch, explained to TrustedReviews that the firm pays between £15 and £20 ($23-$30) for a Windows Phone license from Microsoft and thus pricing for the Tania would be higher than a comparable budget Android phone.

The fee is significantly higher than previously speculated, with HTC and Samsung widely believed to be paying around $10 to $15 per device. Of course, Microsoft could have different deals with each manufacturer depending on their sales volume or just how good they are at the negotiation table.

This is the first time that an approximate figure for Windows Phone's licensing costs has been revealed by a manufacturer. In contrast, Google offers its open source Android OS at no cost to smartphone and tablet manufacturers, but as we've seen in recent months, manufacturers are left vulnerable to patent infringement lawsuits and are often forced into licensing deals with third-parties such as Microsoft.

More than 70% of all Android smartphones sold in the U.S. are now paying royalties to Microsoft and a few of those still face legal pressure from other fronts, making the "free" proposition of Android less attractive. Google is arming itself with over 24,000 patents from the planned $12.5 billion Motorola Mobility purchase, but whether that'll give the company enough ammo to defend its mobile platform remains to be seen.




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