Understanding Hardware Capabilities of WP7 Devices


With the new Windows Phone
platform announced by Microsoft last year, Microsoft completely revamped its
mobile operating system offering. Direct access is no longer allowed to
internals of the mobile operating system. Many new specifications, mandated by
Microsoft, even on the hardware front ensure that Windows Phone users have a
fantastic experience on their mobile devices.

Hardware Specifications

Let us take a look at each of the hardware elements mandated by these


Windows Phone devices have a large display factor supporting the WVGA resolution of 800 x 480.
These specifications mean that users will have a fantastic user experience with
the Windows Phone devices, which are able to deliver content in a cinematic
aspect ratio.

Capacitive Touch

Like most modern smartphones, the new Windows Phone devices sport capacitive
4 point multi-touch screens. This allows for better touch experience. The
earlier Windows Mobile devices had resistive touch, which was not a very user
friendly experience.

Hardware Acceleration

Windows Phone devices support a minimum of DirectX 9 hardware acceleration.
This allows the device to support high definition audio/video. DirectX is a
Microsoft technology for multimedia tasks.


The Windows Phone devices come with a set of sensors:

  • A-GPS – This allows improved startup performance of
    GPS-enabled phones and allows for tracking the location of a call phone to
    emergency call dispatchers.
  • Accelerometer – This allows measuring device movements.
  • Compass – It determines the direction in which the device
    is moving.
  • Light sensor – This is used for flashing when taking
    photos of lightly illuminated areas.
  • Proximity sensor – It helps to detect presence of nearby
    objects without any physical contact.

Only A-GPS, camera and the accelerometer can be accessed by developer APIs.

Digital Camera

The Windows Phone devices come with a 5 MP or better camera for taking high
resolution pictures. They also come with a flash.

Hardware Buttons

All Windows Phone devices come with a few hardware control buttons.

  • Start
  • Search
  • Back

The devices can come with more buttons but that is not mandated by the

Data Connectivity Options

Each Windows Phone comes with in-built support to connect to cellular
networks at 3G speeds and to WI-FI networks.


The Windows Phone devices come with 256 MB or more RAM. Typically these
devices come with 512MB RAM. Also, all devices come with 8GB of internal flash
storage. At this time, the specifications do not specify details about external
removable storage for the devices.


In this article, we saw the minimum hardware specifications defined by
Microsoft for the Windows Phone devices. This should help developers author
Windows Phone applications, which can take maximum benefits of these hardware

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