Is Microsoft about to reveal alternate specs for Windows Phone?

Rumors in the grapevine has it that Microsoft is about to reveal a set of alternate specs for Windows Phone devices, maybe as soon as during MIX11 (happening right this week).

Mix info bannerLast year, at Mix10, Microsoft detailed the spec requirements for Windows Phone, and when doing that they disclosed that the screen resolution would be 800*480(WVGA) but that eventually a smaller form factor would be supported and that it would be using the 480*320(HVGA) resolution. So maybe it’s this smaller form factor we will now see being supported.

Most likely there are more hardware specs that will change than just screen size, like CPU speed (800MHz perhaps), memory, camera (no flash) etc. Question is, will this benefit the Windows Phone ecosystem?

Considering that the next coveted update, dubbed Mango, is slated to bring us multi tasking – lowering CPU and memory spec requirements might not be that productive.

Other rumors about possible MIX11 announcements

There are a lot of other nice rumors of things to be disclosed during MIX11 for Windows Phone, some of them being:

  • Full Silverlight 4 support (currently Silverlight 3 is being used)
  • Full socket/network access, enabling quite a few applications that aren’t possible as of now
  • Access to the camera API for  augmented reality apps
  • Access to SQL CE with LINQ (the database itself is supposed to already be on the phone and used in the Office applications, but the API for third party developers never made it for the first release according to rumors)
  • Interoperability with both XNA and Silverlight usable within a single app (right now it’s either or) – this might be hinting at something Xbox related
  • A rework of the sensor API’s
  • In the upcoming Mango update the multi tasking will impose a few certain rules to protect user experience (read battery time) like for ex no GPS apps running in the background

The ramifications

Picture of the MIX11 Windows Phone 7 appNow I have to say, reelasing a lower perf chasis spec for Windows Phone is an excellent way to get prices on handsets down and thus enable sales to a larger market.

But doing this as multitasking will soon be a part of the picture feels a tad bit iffy. One of the really nice things about Windows Phone is the feel of the current UI, it’s fluid, responsive and all the small animations makes it feel so nice. But if this would happen to start to stutter even the slightest, I’m afraid that genuine Windows Phone feeling would be gone.

But I’m guessing Microsoft is already a step ahead of me here, planning so that there’s always enough resources left for UI thread execution as to enable that smooth feel.

As for giving developers access to SQL CE and sockets, well it almost feels like one of our dreams coming true!

There are a lot of things that can’t be done in a fruitful way now, but with SQL CE and socket support Windows Phone has a chance of being a player in the market for business apps and becoming the true business smartphone alternative.

Microsoft lowering Windows Phone specs

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