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Windows Phone goes 4G at last

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) appears to be finally preparing to "face the future" and flip the switch on fourth generation wireless technology.  Faced with a "no-LTE-no-Windows Phones" ultimatum from America's largest carrier -- Verizon Wireless, a joint venture between Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and Vodafone Group Plc. (LON:VOD) -- Microsoft appears to finally have became serious about LTE, with the first 4G Windows Phones spotted in the wild.

Windows Phone fans have long defended the platform's lack of LTE with platitudes such as "4G kills battery life; "the technology is ready for the market"; "LTE speeds aren't as good as promised"; or "the coverage isn't ready yet".  These criticisms certainly single out legitimate weaknesses of current LTE deployments, but they glaringly miss the fact that rudimentary 4G -- while a work in progress -- is the state of the art, today.  And technology sells phones; without cutting edge hardware (even if it's just a little better), a phone is less likely to succeed in the fickle consumer market.

But the drought and defensive responses may at last be near an end.  The Verge cites a source cites a source close to Samsung Electronic Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930) as describing an upcoming "early 2012" Windows Phone, which packs both a larger screen that the previous Samsung Focus S Windows Phone (so likely Samsung's 4.52-inch display found in the Galaxy S II HD) and a LTE modem.

Likewise a source reveals an HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) Windows Phone handset named "Radiant", which will also feature an LTE modem.  WPCentral, a top Windows Phone rumors site, has spotted the handset in the wild.  The handset was running a post-Mango build -- Windows Phone 7.10.8004.

Nokia Oyj. (HEL:NOK1V) is also reportedly cooking up an LTE-enabled variant of its slick Lumia 800 handsets, which bears a bit of a resemblance to the sleek colored metal-body iPod Nanos.  

Lumia 800
[Image Source: The Verge]

Some of the details clash with the previously leaked Windows Phone roadmap (also revealed on WPCentral).  Reportedly "Tango", the next build of Windows Phone would be aimed at budget handsets, and the late 2012 "Apollo" would be aimed at higher end (i.e. LTE, HD screen) smartphones.  

It now appears both the HD screens and LTE will be launching in early 2012.  It's possible that Apollo will launch aside Tango, or it's possible that the improvements have been merged into Tango as a single super-release, similar to Mango.

Samsung is the world's largest maker of smartphones and second largest maker of feature phones.  Nokia is the top smartphone seller in China, the world's new largest smartphone market.  And HTC was on top of the American smartphone market -- the world's second largest market -- at last count.

Sources: WPCentral, The Verge [1], [2]

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RE: get a move on
By Arsynic on 1/3/2012 9:23:27 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft and Nvidia really don't have a great relationship after they screwed Microsoft with the original Xbox, so much so that Microsoft had to kill the console early to avoid hemorrhaging cash.

Microsoft/Nokia should lock up a six-month exclusive deal with Qualcomm to get the new smaller LTE chipsets so that they can advertise that they have the best LTE battery life of all phones.

RE: get a move on
By sprockkets on 1/3/2012 10:18:03 AM , Rating: 1
Microsoft and Nvidia really don't have a great relationship after they screwed Microsoft with the original Xbox, so much so that Microsoft had to kill the console early to avoid hemorrhaging cash.

News to us. Got a source for nvidia screwing with Microsoft on the original xbox???

RE: get a move on
By french toast on 1/3/2012 2:14:27 PM , Rating: 2
Yes they did, as they wouldnt alow microsoft the rights to manufacture the chip, and therefor cut costs by way of node shrink/modernisation, as the xbox was beeding money left right and centre this forced there hand on moving to the 360..they lost billions..

Back to nvidia tegra and microsoft, the thing im confused about is the fact that microsoft used tegra 1 for the zune hd?? as it used the same user interface and got rave reviews for its performance i would have thought they would have carried it over..

Yea standardising on qualcomm for now would be good to keep out fragmentation, also duel core kraits with intergrated lte and improved adreno on 28nm would be a very good fit for wp7, that and a 1gb ram and a hd screen with front facing camera and nfc...that would sell like hot cakes if the nokia n900 has it!

RE: get a move on
By Arsynic on 1/3/2012 2:18:06 PM , Rating: 2
Read it in Dean Tikashi's book "Opening the Xbox". Console manufacturers rely on cost reductions over the life of the console to recoup costs. Microsoft and Nvidia had a big dispute because Nvidia refused to reduce the price of Xbox's NV2a chip. This is the main reason Microsoft decided to own the IP for the Xenos chip for Xbox 360.

RE: get a move on
By sprockkets on 1/3/2012 5:08:36 PM , Rating: 2
I remember now, reading that in Anand's article. The xbox had the worst BOM. Course the PS3 has an nvidia GPU and they didn't get screwed...

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