Lenovo has reportedly petitioned Microsoft for the Nokia-style freedom to modify Windows Phone for its own range of devices, dispatching R&D execs to Microsoft HQ to request more OEM flexibility. The company told Microsoft that it was less interested in developing pure Windows Phone 8 devices, Chinese site WPDang reports, and that it hoped to customize the smartphone platform in terms of UI and other aspects.
Lenovo confirmed plans to launch at least one Windows Phone last year, suggesting at the time that it would be the second half of 2012 when we saw the handset arrive. In the meantime, the company has established an $800m mobile-centric facility, tasked with developing new smartphone, tablet and other mobility-related products and software.
So far, Lenovo’s public phone plans have mainly consisted of Android devices, often heavily customized for the company’s home Chinese market. However, Lenovo is also apparently looking to make Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets, which would slot well into an overall ecosystem with Windows Phone.
Nokia, thanks to its unusual deal with Microsoft, has greater liberty than other OEMs adopting Windows Phone to modify the platform to its own needs. However, while it may be at liberty to hack away at the Metro UI, so far the Finnish software engineers have been relatively restrained, prioritizing consistency across Windows Phones rather than its own hunger for differentiation.
A glimpse of what was said to be the first Lenovo Windows Phone was spotted late last year, with the handset resembling the existing Lenovo S2 but running Microsoft’s platform.