Windows Phone 8 to start on HTC, Huawei, Nokia and Samsung devices with support for 180 countries

When Windows Phone 8 arrives in the fall, it will have a relatively narrow slice of hardware makers: HTC, Huawei, Nokia and Samsung will represent the first wave. That's excluding some significant partners that have surfaced even over the past year, including ZTE. When they do ship, though, all of them will be using new Qualcomm processors; we have a hunch that's code for Snapdragon S4 variants. There certainly won't be any shortage of regional support with apps available over 180 countries and 50 languages accounted for -- more than Apple mentioned as attached to iOS 6, Microsoft is keen to add. While the number of hardware launches isn't likely to come that close anytime soon, it does mean that phone designers will have considerable more flexibility as to where they launch.

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Update: Not to miss a good opportunity, Huawei has issued a press release to announce that its Ascend Windows Phone 8 handset will launch first in the US, Europe and China, with other countries to follow. You'll find the full spiel after the break.

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Huawei to build new Ascend Windows Phone 8 handset

Expanded relationship with Microsoft signals Huawei's ambitions to solidify its leadership in the global smartphone market

Shenzhen, 21 June 2012: Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, today announced it is expanding its relationship with Microsoft Corp. for the creation of Huawei's first Windows Phone handset. Part of the Huawei Ascend family, the company's portfolio of best-in-class smartphones, the Huawei Ascend with Windows Phone 8 expands Huawei's smartphone portfolio and brings the Windows Phone operating system to an even bigger audience. Huawei is one of the selected vendors in the world to carry the Windows Phone 8 operating system on its smartphones.

"2012 is building up to be a great year for Huawei. Now, we are poised to end the year with a big bang – with the introduction of our first smartphone running on the Windows Phone platform. We're very excited about this relationship with Microsoft which will enable us to provide our customers with a bigger array of Huawei smartphone choices," says Shao Yang, chief marketing officer, Huawei Device.

"It's great to welcome Huawei to the Windows Phone family. The only phone with Live Tiles, Windows Phone brings you closest to the people and things you care most about," said Terry Myerson, Corporate Vice President of the Windows Phone Division at Microsoft. "With Huawei's impressive global capabilities, together we can bring Windows Phone 8 to more people around the world."

The Huawei Ascend with Windows Phone 8 is expected to be available in Europe, China and United States, with other markets to follow. It will be marketed through a series of promotional activities in conjunction with key mobile operators around the world.