With Mango already completed and a few months away from landing on smartphones later this year, Microsoft has already unveiled plans for two releases in the future for Windows Phone, codenamed Tango and Apollo.
The new release of Windows Phone, which is expected to be a significantly smaller update than Mango was, was unexpectedly announced at an MSDN seminar in Hong Kong. While not much is known about the new release as of yet, Microsoft has elaborated on its purpose: unlike Mango, which is aimed at mainstream smartphones, Tango is aimed at cheaper phones made for developing markets.
The likely scaled-down system will be sold to manufacturers and preloaded onto low-end smartphones that will be available in developing countries, specifically made for users who might not be able to afford, or wish to buy, a full-priced feature rich smartphone. It’s still unclear what these low-end devices will look like, but they’re expected to keep the core features of smartphones, such as web browsing and certain other features that require a data connection, yet some aspects of traditional smartphones likely won’t be part of ‘Tango’.
Microsoft isn’t the only developer of a smart phone operating system that’s trying to appeal to emerging markets. Early today, we reported that Apple could be developing a lower-cost iPhone 4, with half as much storage space as the current low-end model, in order to get more customers on board with the iOS platform. Unlike Microsoft, however, there’s no indication that the Cupertino company is developing an exclusive version of iOS specifically for lower-end smartphones. This suggests that Microsoft might be able to bring its software to even cheaper and lower-end devices, which is good news for both consumers and the company itself, which is desperately attempting to grow its market share.
Microsoft isn’t leaving mainstream smartphones out in the cold either. For them, the Redmond company is preparing a whole new release: Apollo. With Apollo, Microsoft hasn’t revealed any information on what the system will contain other than the fact that it will be a major update to Windows Phone 7.
Windows Phone 7, which was launched late last year, is Microsoft’s latest attempt to replace its aging Windows Mobile 6.5 platform with a fresher approach. Windows Phone 7 is the first mobile system developed Microsoft that is able to work seamlessly with mutitouch displays, with its whole user interface, known as ‘Metro’, developed from the ground-up to be interacted with completely using the human finger only.
Microsoft hasn’t showed off any concrete features of Tango or Apollo, and it likely won’t for quite some time. Yet, whether you’re looking for a low-end Windows Phone or are looking for the next generation of smartphones, Microsoft seems to have an answer for you.