Microsoft has indicated the possibility of it developing a low-cost, Windows Phone 7 Series based device designed for emerging markets. The low cost smartphone would be targeted at users from developing countries and would come with the advantage of a lower price, when compared to a “full-fledged” Windows Phone based phone. In fact, if all goes well, you might as well see the handset in flesh by early 2011.
Windows Phone 7 Series, which is Microsoft’s revamped smartphone operating system, and Silverlight, the company’s rich Internet application platform, might seem geared primarily too glitzy, for-fun applications. But Microsoft observers see an enterprise business application case for these two budding technologies. (Silverlight is being paired with the XNA gaming app dev platform to serve as the application development platform for Windows Phone 7 Series.)
Windows Phone 7 Series devices will be released at an as-yet-unannounced point near the end of 2010. During March’s CTIA Wireless 2010 conference in Las Vegas, Microsoft demonstrated prototype phones running the operating system, which features a slick consumer interface reminiscent of the Zune HD. As opposed to devices such as the iPhone and Google Android, which emphasize pages of mobile applications, Windows Phone 7 Series aggregates Web content and mobile applications into category-specific “Hubs” such as “Games” and “People.”
Windows Phone 7 Series will leverage Silverlight and XMA to build rich content and 3D games. Features for mobile developers include a Microsoft Location Service, for acquiring location information via a single point of reference; Microsoft Notification Service, for pushing information to the device; Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone; and a Windows Phone 7 Series Emulator for testing.
While most “fully featured” Windows Phone 7 Series devices would be an expensive proposition with each handsets expected to cost between $500- $600, these low cost phones are expected to be much cheaper. Microsoft has, however, not divulged any price details as of now. As for the specs the stripped down devices should come with a 5 megapixel camera, a large multi-touch screen, Wi-fi , Bluetooth and a minimum of 128 MB RAM.
“The new version may also have a smaller screen and will thus be priced lower to suit developing markets like India. We are in talks with OEMs to gain their feedback on a new chassis,” Mittal said.