Windows Phone Tango – a new version of the OS for BUDGET phones

Right then, it’s common knowledge that there’s a couple of updates coming for the Windows Phone platform, the most famous one being the Apollo update that’ll switch Windows Phone over to run on the same kernel as their Windows 8 OS. The other, less well known one, though, is called Tango, and it’s taking a very different direction.

Y’see, according to WMPoweruser (where the screenshots are from), Windows Phone Tango is being made to run on budget phones. However, Microsoft seem to be going about it in an unorthodox way, ‘cos it appears to have a list of maximum system requirements, and I ain’t never seen that before. So, what’s this update going to be like, then? 

Well, the first fact is that it’s designed to run on phones with just 256MB of RAM, which is tiny in this day and age. Since it seems to be designed for people moving up from a feature phone, it also supports SIM contacts, which is bleedin’ rare in the modern smartphone world. So, kudos to Microsoft, for that.

Next up is the fact that phones running on Tango can only have cameras up to 3MP, presumably so it’s not producing overly massive files that’ll fill up the meagre storage space Microsoft are obviously expecting these phones to have (yeah, I wouldn’t expect them to have anywhere the amount of storage that something like the Nokia Lumia 800 has). Oh, and also, photos aren’t automatically uploaded to SkyDrive, as they are in the full fat version of Windows Phone.

And finally, there’s the matter of apps, ‘cos as you can see in the screenshot, Tango won’t let you download apps that need more than 256MB of RAM. That strikes me as being similar to the way a lot of Android apps are only usable on more recent version of the OS (for example, running on Android 2.2 or higher… so the Samsung Galaxy Nexus could run a certain app, while an old phone like the HTC Hero couldn’t), which I find amusingly ironic since Microsoft (and Windows Phone fans) have whined about Android fragmentation.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t this move fragment the Windows Phone platform?

Anyway, yes. New version of Windows Phone, and it’s designed to run on budget handsets. It could be just what Microsoft need to make it big (‘cos cheaper phones like the HTC Wildfire S were very important to the growth of Android), or it could drag them down (if they screw it up).

Time will tell…

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About TechnicalMarkus

It's a little known fact Technical Markus has now beaten both his Transformers addiction AND his Mass Effect addiction, by replacing both with an equally obsessive addiction to XCOM: Enemy Unknown and buying Humble Bundles for his Android phone. At the moment, he's pondering the actual usefulness of smartwatches and smart glasses, even if the nerd in him is shouting for joy at how sci-fi they are. He spends his spare time being whinged at to figure out what's wrong with other people's mobile phones, and drinking unimaginable quantities of tea. With milk. And three sweeteners, thanks for asking. Oh, and he's got an HTC One X, but he reckons his next phone might be a Sony, the turncoat...