Back in July, Lenovo’s first Windows 10 Mobile handset was unveiled, and it will finally go on sale next week. To say it’s been a long time coming is something of an understatement.
A Lenovo executive first confirmed plans to launch a Windows phone in November 2011, saying it would arrive in the second half of 2012. The device never materialized, and it seemed those plans had been abandoned until February 2014, when Microsoft announced that Lenovo was one of nine new Windows Phone partners.
Later that year, Lenovo said the company’s first Windows phone would arrive in 2014, but there was no sign of that device. When Microsoft announced its Windows 10 launch plans last year, it said Lenovo Windows phones would be “available in mid-year 2015 via China Mobile”. Once again, that didn’t happen. Another Lenovo exec said in mid-2015 that Microsoft’s cross-platform software efforts had made Windows phones less relevant.
So it came as quite a shock when Lenovo’s new Windows 10 Mobile handset was revealed a few months ago. But while the device bears Lenovo’s logo, it will actually be marketed under the brand of the Japanese carrier that will be selling it, apparently as a global exclusive.
It will launch on November 11 as the SoftBank 503LV, and will be the first Windows 10 Mobile handset, and the first Lenovo phone, to be offered by SoftBank, the Japanese parent company of US carrier Sprint. It’s aimed at business customers, promising a ‘luxury glass’ design, along with support for Windows 10 Mobile’s Continuum feature, which allows buyers to use a mouse and keyboard with the device when it’s connected to a larger display.