Microsoft planning to announce new flexible hardware specs for Windows Phone 7?

By Tom Warren, on 11th Apr 11 8:45 pm with 26 Comments

Windows Phone 7 at MIX11

Microsoft may be planning to announce a new flexible hardware specification for Windows Phone 7, WinRumors has learned.

According to sources familiar with the company’s plans, the new hardware specifications will allow device manufacturers such as Nokia to create cheaper Windows Phone devices. The announcement may be made as early as the company’s MIX11 conference this week. The new flexibility will offer device makers the option to use cheaper components to bring the overall cost of a Windows Phone down. Microsoft is understood to be open to flexible specifications in order to gain smartphone market share and eat into Google’s Android efforts.

Microsoft will make a number of Windows Phone related announcements at its MIX11 conference, starting on April 12. The software giant will unveil more features of its “Mango” update, due later this year. Microsoft is expected to announce support for Silverlight in Internet Explorer 9 mobile, full socket support for developers and camera API improvements. WPCental posted a list of rumored announcements on Monday, including the ability for developers to access sensor framework and controls. The rumors of a new flexible hardware specification are also backed by an anonymous Twitter account which claims the software giant is working on a new chasis spec for Windows Phone.

Microsoft is currently hard at work on “Mango”, its next major release of Windows Phone. Microsoft has promised to ship “Mango” later in the year. “Mango”, the codename for what will likely be named Windows Phone 7.5, is currently in the early beta stages at Microsoft. The company revealed a number of new featuresin February that will ship as part of its Windows Phone point release later this year. Nokia is also reportedly waiting for the next release of Windows Phone before it unveils its first Windows Phone device.

“Mango” currently contains multitasking, Internet Explorer 9 mobile and Twitter integration. Microsoft’s unveiling in Mobile World Congress tied up some of the unknowns with “Mango” but only scraped the surface of what the release will contain. Microsoft will unveil further information about the Internet Explorer 9 mobile component at MIX11 this week. Microsoft is planning to mark Windows Phone 7′s first birthday with a big platform release. Although Microsoft is still working on the release, codenamed “Mango”, the software giant is expected to brand it as Windows Phone 7.5 as an interim before the platform is aligned neatly into Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.

  • GP007

    I wouldn’t call it flexible, but probably a lower end Chasis 2 spec? I mean we still don’t have one do we? We’re only on the baseline 1 spec. If they do a lower end version I expect the smaller res screen support to play a key there, and probably go with 800Mhz CPU at the min. There really is no reason to go slower than that at this point I’d say since faster 1.2-1.5Ghz single and dual core chips are out and will push the price of anything under 1Ghz low regardless.

    • Anonymous

      I think they should leave the min spec as it is today, as you say prices for todays hardware will drop anyway, so todays WP7 spec should become the future low price spec. How much can they save by dropping to 600Mhz or 800Mhz CPUs today?

      But we’ll see. Tomorrow is the big day.

    • Kawaii Gardiner

      A lot of Android’s momentum has come through the ability by many carriers to offer their own cut price low CPU clocking branded Android phones. For example Vodafone offers 2-3 of their own branded Android phones that I see around all over the place which is why the over all sales are up – because there are more ‘bums in seats’ because the entry ticket has dropped. It won’t be the best experience in the universe but it does get people through the door and experiencing something for the first time then deciding to maybe go ‘upper market’ when it comes to replacing the phone. WP7 needs to be broad and deep rather than narrow and specific – if they make it broad and deep with a device for anyone and everyone then you’ll start to see the sales sky rocket as hand set vendors start to offer cheaper phones or phones that target different markets.

  • Dragon

    MicroSD, please.

  • frankwick

    too bad they don’t have a tablet sized screen in their spec.

    • GP007

      It’s clear now that Win8 will be on tablets.

  • christos galousis

    Are we going to have all those new updates the WP7 owners? Or we have to buy again a new device with windows 7.5 or 8?….

  • Nicholas Coulter

    Wow this is not new! This was news in 2010, but not now. We’ve known these ‘cheaper’ devices would come. They are what’s being called “Chassis 2″ devices.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, I was reading this completely backwards, and then I got to the punchline – LOWER specs.

    I mean, really? There won’t be an announcement of a HIGHER-SPEC? The current Snapdragon is a battery hog with a horrible GPU. Cmon, MS, let’s get the next-generation specs in line for the Mango release!

    • Anonymous

      Isn’t NoDo compatible with the 45nm chipsets? Atleast the single core variants like the MSM8255 anyway.

    • Anonymous

      That’s news to me that NoDo allowed for 45nm chipsets, but it would be great news.

    • Guest

      India etc. Of course they are/will be doing Higher-spec handsets? Trust me this is a good move.

    • Guest

      India etc. Of course they are/will be doing Higher-spec handsets? Trust me this is a good move.

  • FMH
  • Anonymous

    I hope these “bargain” devices don’t end up making the wp7 experience less than desirable. The experience needs to be uniform throughout the wp7 line. Having cheap hardware that performs crappy will turn a lot of people off of the entire platform.

    • Seika

      And I hope they don’t push the chasis 1 price up. The logic being, they have alternative to sell in the lower end so they can now freely push the old and higher requirement up as high-end device without worrying about price competition (they have it covered).

  • mike g

    To be honest its too late for me (a Focus owner). The OS just isnt mature enough & neither is the hardware. But the real reason im buying iPhone4 (again) is get this: there is no armband for a Focus. I listen to music at the gym and hate fumbling around my pockets to get my phone. Hence I stopped listening to music > stopped using my phone. Its the one feature that MS has that Apple doesnt (Zune kills iTunes IMO).

    ill be holding off on WP phones till at least 7.5, and even then i want to see the hardware first.

    • Guest

      You wrote the same thing on Neowin, why do you need to keep repeating your compaint? Microsoft fans sure know how to shoot themselves in their foot. Paul Thurrott has made several errors (some related to WP7) that I think he should know, so I don’t listen to him about WP7.

    • Guest

      There are arm bands for the Focus on sale at ebay.

  • Itsmemcgoo

    You need to allow Flash and install a sd card slot.

    • Stephen Anderson

      In order to get Flash on WP7, you also need Adobe to come to the party as well.

    • Kawaii Gardiner

      Yeah because the lack of Flash on iOS has really harmed them – please, check out the number of Android users who don’t have it installed just to register the fact that its non-existence hasn’t harmed anyone in terms of units shipped. The SDCard slot does exist but it isn’t designed so you can constantly change, swap and other crap because it treats it as a single pool of storage once installed rather than two separate entities thus to avoid the crap Android users have to deal with (moving apps from their ‘main storage’ to ‘secondary storage’ with some app vendors not allowing you to do that).

  • Josè Daniel

    Cheaper? :/

  • LK

    Any news related to native code support for non-Microsoft partners?

  • Avatar X

    It is not that specs will be lower for WP7. just that what was high end one year ago will be the low end of WP7. The new specs tier will simply reflect what is the suggested specs for the high end while using WP7.

    I mean is not like if we will be seeing Smartphones, even if lower end with specs lower that 1ghz of cpu and 256mb of ram do we?

  • bobk

    Lowering the spec is necessary for foreign markets. Nokia sold over 100 million phones last year. They need to be able to sell CHEAP phones in foreign markets. How else is Nokia going to compete against no name Chinese android phones?