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Microsoft is offering Windows Phone 8.1 to OEMs for free that helps to add Windows Phone to low-cost devices as well as existing Android devices.

After several months of buzz, Microsoft has reportedly decided to reduce the Windows Phone OS licensing cost for OEMs. The Times of India reports that the two local producers — Karbonn and Lava (Xolo) have signed an agreement that suggests the elimination of licensing fees for the new Windows Phone smartphone from the manufacturers.

Karbonn and Lava are two of nine new partners that were announced during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The duo is currently producing cheap Android smartphones. Karbonn is also expected to launch a dual-boot device with Android and Windows Phone.

For Microsoft, the step almost seems to be obligatory by seeing current Android marketshare. Today OEMs have to pay a sum of between $5 to $15 for each smartphone. Microsoft has taken the first step towards totally free operating system for manufacturers to steal market share from Android, offering low-cost devices.

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The arrival of the first “license free” devices should coincide with the announcement of Windows Phone 8.1 during the BUILD developer conference in early April. The new version of the operating system has been designed precisely to ensure optimum use of the low-end hardware. The modification such as the elimination of the physical buttons and dual-SIM support will allow manufacturers to quickly adapt existing Android devices to run Windows Phone OS.

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