Japanese manufacturer Sharp has agreed to license an important file system patent from Microsoft for use in its Android phones. While financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, it forms part of Microsoft's broader strategy of targeting Android OEMs for lucrative licensing deals — last month, low-end tablet manufacturers Aluratek and Coby both signed on the dotted line, joining big names such as Samsung and HTC.

Known as Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT), the technology covered by this particular patent was developed specifically for flash storage, and was first released along with Windows Embedded CE 6.0 back in 2006. ExFAT overcomes a file size limit of 4GB inherent in the older FAT32 system, and is therefore useful for storing high-quality videos and other media on mobile devices. The list of companies which already license the patent from Microsoft includes Japanese firms such as Canon, Panasonic, and Sony, as well as European and US businesses like TomTom and Aspen Avionics.