Microsoft at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona unveiled plans to bring its smartphones to host a new of countries by expanding hardware and language support. "A new line of low-cost phones, which use cheaper "system-on-a-chip" processers and reduced memory, will bring a high-end smartphone experience to more affordable devices - while still running nearly all the applications available in the Windows Phone Marketplace," Microsoft announced.
"Windows Phone 7.5 now enables our partners to deliver phones using a lower cost processor (the Qualcomm 7x27a "system on a chip") and reduced memory (256MB on-board memory) -- while still delivering the buttery-smooth Windows Phone experience," Microsoft stated.
These phones will open the door to new price points and customer segments in several high growth markets.
In terms of reaching new countries, we now have new language support for Malay and Indonesian, and technology to support network requirements in China. We recently brought Windows Phone Marketplace to five new countries: Argentina, Indonesia, Malaysia, Peru and Philippines.
In the coming month, Microsoft will be adding 23 more markets -- more on that and things. That's 28 new consumer markets this year alone, for a total of 63 markets worldwide where your Windows Phone apps may be sold. In terms of actual potential app customers, the addition of new price points and customers in China and the other new markets represents a near 60% increase in the total addressable market for Windows Phone.
Whilst there was no mention of the codename "Tango," details about the upcoming update to Windows Phone 7.5 has been hinted in the various official press announcements:
- Windows Phone "Tango" will still be branded Windows Phone 7.5. It is simply referred to as a "new software release that enhances Windows Phone 7.5 platform".
- Windows Phone "Tango" will be released in April 2012
The new Nokia Lumia 610 announced today is the fourth and most affordable Lumia smartphone. "Available with Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive, Nokia Transport and Nokia Music, people can also choose from thousands of apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace to further personalize the experience."
Nokia Lumia 610 makes it easy to keep in touch with friends, providing instant access to social networks and bringing all mobile, email, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn contacts into one place. It also makes it easier to browse the Web with Internet Explorer and to access games through Xbox Live.
Nokia is also making available its first LTE smartphone the Lumia 900, around the world in a DC-HSPA variant, for high speed data connection (42Mbits download) in countries where LTE is not available.
"The Nokia Lumia 900 features a 4.3 inch ClearBlack AMOLED display for a superior touch and viewing experience. It also features Nokia's highest capacity battery making it the perfect Lumia phone for enjoying media and entertainment on the move. The primary camera on the Nokia Lumia 900 has exclusive Carl Zeiss optics, a large aperture for improved performance in low light conditions and wide angle focal length for capturing full 16:9 images."
ZTE has also unveiled their second Windows Phone, the ZTE Orbit, which will be available in the second quarter of 2012.
Microsoft also released a technical preview of the Windows Phone SDK that gives you access to the 256MB emulator to let you determine how your apps install and run on lower memory devices. "This preview does not include a "go live" license so you can't publish apps created with it. A final version of the SDK, complete with the go-live license, will be available next month," informs Microsoft.
You can download the Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1 Update - CTP here.
Microsoft also devoting its presence at MWC to its €100 "Smoked by Windows Phone" challenge, where attendees are being invited to pit their smartphone against Windows Phone to complete everyday tasks such as uploading a photo to Facebook, texting a friend, or checking email. If the challenger's phone is faster, they win €100. If they lose, they must pose for the cameras with a sign that reads "My Phone Just Got Smoked by Windows Phone."