updated 05:15 pm EDT, Tue August 9, 2011
Windows Phone Tango to focus on developing world
Microsoft's next Windows Phone update, Tango, is focused regaining control of the low-end smartphone market, insiders gave away on Tuesday. The release is expected to be "all about Nokia" and would aim at cheaper devices than what Microsoft's partners can field today. One ZDNet informer expected Tango would center primarily on Asia, which has been underserved so far.
Tango is regularly connected with Nokia's Sea Ray, they added. If a production phone, Sea Ray isn't likely to ship with Tango from the start as it has already been seen running Mango. Nokia has promised to have at least one phone in the market this year.
Tango is considered more of a minor release akin to NoDo early this year and may add important, but not fundamental, feature updates. Microsoft is widely expected to have a fundamental shift late next year when Apollo arrives and is likely badged as Windows Phone 8.
Nokia was at one point the leader in low-end smartphones, even as the iPhone and later Android effectively controlled the high end, but it has been losing ground even in this once safe territory. Android's currently free licensing has led to companies like Huawei and ZTE producing full smartphones that often cost $200 off-contract. Even Apple, which focuses on premium models, has had success in the low end with the discounted 8GB iPhone 3GS.
Equivalents exist in Nokia's lineup but are running the aging Symbian S60 and perform poorly in comparison.
Until Tango, Microsoft's guidelines will usually limit WP7 to mid-range and high-end phones. Chassis requirements demand at least a relatively modern Snapdragon processor, a 3.5-inch or larger 480x800 screen, and at least a five-megapixel camera, pushing designs even based on Mango out of contention.