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Leaked roadmap shows two major Windows Phone releases coming shortly

It looks like 2012 will be an interesting year for Windows Phone.  A leaked slide deck offers the first tidbits about Microsoft Corp's (MSFT) launch plans for 2012 -- a year some are billing as a make it or break it year for Microsoft.

Windows Phone (WP) 7.5 Mango is still relatively new on the market, but Microsoft is already cooking up its successor (or perhaps counterpart) dubbed Tango.  Set to launch in Q2 2011, Tango will bring the Mango experience to lower-priced budget smartphones.  

Microsoft has been pretty strict thus far about its hardware specifications (e.g. requiring a 1 GHz CPU), so it should be interesting to see if lower end hardware can keep pace.  Windows Phone is perhaps the most fluid operating system on the market today, in terms of animations, when navigating the core menus interface.  If the budget hardware indeed makes the WP experience clunkier, it should be interesting how much that cripples the UI experience.

Windows Phone roadmap
[Image Source: WMPoweruser.com]

Tango is likely heavily crafted with Microsoft's premium partner Nokia Oyj. (HEL:NOK1V) in mind.  While Nokia has struggled in the U.S., it has flourished with budget handsets in other very large markets like China.  Nokia has promised to transition all of its smartphone lineup to the Windows Phone platform.  In order to get its budget handsets onboard with that plan, WP Tango will be necessary.

For WP fans, the more exciting launch will likely be the Q4 2012 "Apollo".  Perhaps the rumored Windows Phone 8, Apollo will bring support for "super phones" (think LTE, large HD screens, dual-core CPUs, and more).  While some Windows Phones (think the HTC Titan) have offered more of a premium hardware experience, they still trail Android models in CPU speed (less noticeable) and screen resolution (more noticeable).

Samsung Galaxy S II
Next year Windows Phone will finally get the kind of gorgeous HD, super-smartphones that Android users have long enjoyed.

The slide also indicates it will improve the business experience.

Microsoft's slide also indicates that a key objective of Apollo is to "increase overall volume".  Well, duh -- even the typically enthusiastic Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has said that Windows Phone sales have been "very low".  With Nokia's transition to WP, Microsoft will instantly gain a large international market share, but it will need to push hard to win over the U.S. market, which is currently being dominated by a Google Inc. (GOOG) Android and Apple, Inc. (AAPL) iPhone duopoly.

While its success is uncertain, Microsoft continues to pour money into the mobile space and cook up novel product -- from an operating system perspective, if not yet from a hardware perspective.  Thus it seems inevitable that sooner or later its effort will see at least modest success.  2012 will verily be an exciting year for WP fans.

Source: WMPoweruser



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By Arsynic on 12/29/2011 3:16:54 PM , Rating: 1
What Microsoft did with the original Xbox is opposite what they're doing with WP7. With the Xbox they targeted the core gamers who are techies and who will spend $300 on a machine with ten $60 games. At the time Xbox was cutting edge for a console: It had an Nvidia GPU, a 10/100 NIC for broadband Internet and a hard drive in the box. Today, those things are the basics needed for a game machine. This core audience provided a foundation on which the platform flourished early on. Then once it was established, MS went for the general, casual gaming audience helped by the word-of-mouth spread by the core gamers.

With WP7 Microsoft is trying to go after the budget market first. These people don't know shit about phones and will get whatever the sales rep recommends. They are continuing to do this. That's why Tango is coming out before Apollo. Microsoft needs to court the gadgeteers and the tech fanatics who love buzzwords like LTE, Dual Core, and megapixel. These are the types of people Verizon goes after: The techie with an appetite for the next cool thing and who has the disposable income to purchase a $300 phone every two years. Microsoft needs phones that fit Verizon's business model and Verizon will happily do commercials for Windows Phone and push its reps to push WP7.

This really confuses me since the Xbox and WP7 groups are under the same Microsoft E&D banner. Is the company THAT fucking big?


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