‘Leak’ Suggests Low-Cost Focus Is Next for Windows Phone

After the boost in functionality from the well-received Mango update, the next generation of Windows Phone 7 devices will focus on low cost.

That’s the claim of a Windows-centric Web site that posted a “leaked” roadmap for updates for Microsoft‘s struggling mobile operating system, which was launched last year and is riding into the market on Nokia devices.

Ready To Tango?

WMPoweruser’s “roadmap” shows the release of Windows Phone 7 “GA” in the fourth quarter of 2010 followed by the Mango update in the fourth quarter of this year that allows new features, new languages and access in new countries. And if the document is current, Microsoft will follow a pattern of names ending in “o” with Tango in the second quarter of next year and “Apollo” in the fourth quarter.

While Tango’s focus would be “products with the best prices,” Apollo would work to increase overall volume and add “competitive superphones” as well as focus on business users, something that should be a prime goal for the software giant since so many businesses use its Windows operating system for computers and its Office productivity suite.

A spokeswoman for Microsoft said she was unable to accommodate our request for comment about whether the roadmap is authentic in time for publication.

“I don’t know if this is credible or not,” said wireless and mobile analyst Gerry Purdy of MobileTrax, “but it seems reflective of Microsoft’s strategy.”

Purdy said briefings he had attended showed that Microsoft aimed at low-cost devices, but not bargain-quality products.

“”Microsoft and Nokia are going after the person looking to upgrade from a feature phone to their first smartphone with their low cost approach. Then, they will put their energies behind going after the enterprise market,” he said. “They’re saying here’s a smartphone that has Microsoft in it and Nokia [hardware] and it’s a lower cost than any other phones that are full power. You can get [an iPhone] 3GS for nothing, but it’s not as powerful.”

The reference to superphones, Purdy said, signals a new class of devices that is higher performance with more multimedia features.”


Both Microsoft and Nokia need a big boost to catch up to the popularity of devices powered by Google’s Android operating system as well as Apple’s iPhone. Last month Gartner released figures that showed Windows phones slipping from an already small 2.7 percent of the world market in the third quarter of 2010 to a current 1.5 percent as the new iPhone and a range of new Android devices flowed into the market.

During the same period Android’s share doubled, from 25.3 percent to 52.5 percent, while Apple’s iOS dropped slightly from 16.6 percent to 15.5 percent. Nokia’s Symbian operating system, which will be replaced on most phones by Windows in a $1 billion deal announced this year, fell from 36.3 percent to 16.9 percent in that year, Gartner said.

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