Recap of what we know about Windows Phone “Tango”

By LiveSide | In Featured, Mobile | Posted February 11, 2012 22 comments

Windows Phone TangoWe’ve all heard about what is coming for Windows Phone 8, codenamed “Apollo”, and how it will be designed to target higher-end devices with multi-core processors, new screen resolutions (4 in total), NFC, and more. But what about “Tango”, the relatively minor release that is said to come before “Apollo”? We’ll provide a recap of what we already know, as well as some new insights we’ve just heard, about the update in this post.

Features

In summary, according to Mary Jo Foley, “Tango” is “all about Nokia” and “focused on hitting the lower-price point for Windows Phones that Microsoft and Nokia execs have been promising.” According to MJF, two Tango updates are reportedly coming:

  • Tango1 aims to “further broaden the markets addressed by Windows Phone by adding additional language support”. We’ve previously heard reports that “Tango” will bring support for 120+ languages, and this is consistent with what “Tango1” is all about. With Nokia continuing plans for world domination (now already in 31 markets worldwide), “Tango” continue this momentum and take Windows Phone to the untapped markets such as China.
  • Tango2 will be “targeted at low-cost devices and include fixes and new features, as well as services and language support for markets that still won’t have been addressed after the Tango1 release.”

In relation to Tango2, many are wondering exactly how will Microsoft bring Windows Phone to low-cost devices? Paul Thurrott gives us an insight on how this might be achieved, and how it impacts the Windows Phone ecosystem:

[Tango] is aimed at broadening the Windows Phone user base. It will do so by undercutting the requirements of the current Windows Phone platform to support lower-end devices that can be sold more cheaply in emerging markets. Microsoft is thought to be working closely with its special partner, Nokia, on this Windows Phone version.

The biggest change to Tango, which will likely be called Windows Phone 7.5.1 when released, is that it will lower the platform’s memory requirements. It will do so by ushering in a new generation of low-end Windows Phone handsets that utilize just 256MB of RAM, down by half from the 512MB of RAM that’s more common today.

But it’s not just that these handsets will include less RAM, according to my sources. The underlying OS is also being optimized for the lower RAM allotment, with apps certified for this release being required to use less RAM and other resources, and certain resource-intensive background tasks being disabled.

Developers will be able to target Tango or Windows Phone 7.5 going forward, or both, and users of the new low-end systems will basically be able to access a subset of the existing Windows Phone Marketplace apps selection.

It is currently not known what percentage of apps in the current 60,000 apps-strong marketplace will be compatible with these lower-end devices, but Paul Thurrott heard that some high-end games such as "Plants vs. Zombies" will not work, while others like “Angry Birds” will be compatible.

Of course, we’d also expect some new features and services from “Tango”, such as the rumored universal “Spotlight”-like searching capability or folders-support. However, don’t expect too much for the “Tango” update, given that it is meant to be a minor update like “NoDo” and is really aimed at getting Windows Phone into additional markets. You’ll probably have to wait until Windows Phone 8 for those big changes to come.

Timing

Windows Phone RoadmapAs far as timing is concerned, below is a rough timeline of when “Tango” is expected to be announced and released:

  • Late February 2012 – it is widely expected that Microsoft will announce Windows Phone “Tango” and give a few details about what’s coming in the update during Mobile World Congress
  • April 2012 is when Microsoft is expected to make the new version of Windows Phone developer SDK available. According to Paul Thurrott, developers will be able to test apps on both 256MB “Tango” devices and mainstream 512MB+ devices in emulation. It is said that developers will be given the option to opt out of making their apps compatible with “Tango” if they like, although it might not be desirable if “Tango” proves to be a hit in the markets
  • Q2 2012 is what we last heard in relation to the timing of release for “Tango”, according to a leaked roadmap for Windows Phone (shown above)

With two weeks to go until Mobile World Congress, we can’t wait to hear more about what Microsoft has up its sleeves in the mobile space.

Posted February 11th, 2012 at 9:44 pm
Category: Featured, Mobile
Tags: Tango, Windows Phone
  • Andy

    What a waste of time… Microsoft should bring some innovation on every release instead of “adding support to other languages”. That should be a minor feature of a minor update. And Tango will even break marketplace unity and that’s what Microsoft shouldn’t do right now. It’s a mess… i hope webOS will survive so i don’t have to take that crappy Android phone.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mendel-Jedwab/1648947199 Mendel Jedwab

      this is a minor update

      • Andy

        Yes but that story of languages is the major part of this update…

        • Alex Wilks

          …because the update is aimed at bringing the phone to more markets. Maybe in your insular view of the world other countries don’t exist, but expanding your consumer base is a far quicker and nescessary way of developing a grip on market-share than just adding new features.

          Apollo will bring more functionality in the same way that Mango did…this is an interim update to expose more people to Windows Phone at different price-levels.

          • counterblow

            i find his insular view of the world less offensive than Microsoft/Nokias presumptuous view of the world that people in 3rd world countries want watered down featurephone+ devices.  The 2010 launch specs for Windows Phone should be cheap enough to hit the price points Nokia wants.  If not, continue peddling crap Symbian series 40 phones until they are.  Microsoft is creating a world where Tango users eventually grow up to be Mango users and it is incredibly insulting to those countries which get them.  These crap phones will get trampled on by ICS devices sold in the same markets.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QG7G7LMPNERHR7BX6RYG5WZTCA Anthony

             What’s offensive about it?  People in many other countries simply cannot afford full on feature phones.  Not everyone has the luxury of the massively subsidized  phone market that you do.

  • Andy

    What a waste of time… Microsoft should bring some innovation on every release instead of “adding support to other languages”. That should be a minor feature of a minor update. And Tango will even break marketplace unity and that’s what Microsoft shouldn’t do right now. It’s a mess… i hope webOS will survive so i don’t have to take that crappy Android phone.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mendel-Jedwab/1648947199 Mendel Jedwab

      this is a minor update

      • Andy

        Yes but that story of languages is the major part of this update…

        • http://twitter.com/alexwilks88 Alex Wilks

          …because the update is aimed at bringing the phone to more markets. Maybe in your insular view of the world other countries don’t exist, but expanding your consumer base is a far quicker and nescessary way of developing a grip on market-share than just adding new features.

          Apollo will bring more functionality in the same way that Mango did…this is an interim update to expose more people to Windows Phone at different price-levels.

          • http://twitter.com/counterblow the person

            i find his insular view of the world less offensive than Microsoft/Nokias presumptuous view of the world that people in 3rd world countries want watered down featurephone+ devices.  The 2010 launch specs for Windows Phone should be cheap enough to hit the price points Nokia wants.  If not, continue peddling crap Symbian series 40 phones until they are.  Microsoft is creating a world where Tango users eventually grow up to be Mango users and it is incredibly insulting to those countries which get them.  These crap phones will get trampled on by ICS devices sold in the same markets.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QG7G7LMPNERHR7BX6RYG5WZTCA Anthony

             What’s offensive about it?  People in many other countries simply cannot afford full on feature phones.  Not everyone has the luxury of the massively subsidized  phone market that you do.

  • brianm76

    More updates many of us will never see especially if you are on US ATT.  Still on Mango Final with no updates since.  Still have keyboard disappearing issue and still have not received security fix.  Screw you ATT.

  • brianm76

    More updates many of us will never see especially if you are on US ATT.  Still on Mango Final with no updates since.  Still have keyboard disappearing issue and still have not received security fix.  Screw you ATT.

  • Quintusslope

    regarding the insular view: you must admit that even the poorest country citizens deserve a car but can’t afford a Rolls. Ergo someone shoud make Trabants
    On the other hand this is a competitive business and if they deem it good for their busines they can do how they like: you can always choose an android.

    • counterblow

      and people will…..i suspect even crapware makers like ZTE won’t touch this spec.  And Nokia will fail peddling it.

  • Quintusslope

    regarding the insular view: you must admit that even the poorest country citizens deserve a car but can’t afford a Rolls. Ergo someone shoud make Trabants
    On the other hand this is a competitive business and if they deem it good for their busines they can do how they like: you can always choose an android.

    • http://twitter.com/counterblow the person

      and people will…..i suspect even crapware makers like ZTE won’t touch this spec.  And Nokia will fail peddling it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1042946514 Rob Toro

    I agree with the general sentiment here. The focus should be on platform maturity achieved through superior development tools/programs and broad device support, but not at the cost of forking an OS that already has close to zero market penetration.

    The whole purpose of owning a smartphone is for the application experience (these days anyway) – it seems that Microsoft is making it harder for app developers to release on WP7 instead of easier.
    And, from a business perspective if a collective of potential users/subscribers can’t afford a smartphone that can be produced with last gen hardware (arguably) then what makes them think they are going to be spending truckloads of cash on apps/music/etc…?

    It’s the ecosystem that drives platform adoption, not the other way around although there is an inherent chicken or the egg problem here that can be overcome with great tools and fair revenue model for developers (see Apple). I’m not seeing the path forward with the current strategy.

    I love my WP7 device and OS but Android will win in these low-revenue markets due to low manufacturing costs and pre-established app ecosystem (as broken as the android app store is it still is formidable).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1042946514 Rob Toro

    I agree with the general sentiment here. The focus should be on platform maturity achieved through superior development tools/programs and broad device support, but not at the cost of forking an OS that already has close to zero market penetration.

    The whole purpose of owning a smartphone is for the application experience (these days anyway) – it seems that Microsoft is making it harder for app developers to release on WP7 instead of easier.
    And, from a business perspective if a collective of potential users/subscribers can’t afford a smartphone that can be produced with last gen hardware (arguably) then what makes them think they are going to be spending truckloads of cash on apps/music/etc…?

    It’s the ecosystem that drives platform adoption, not the other way around although there is an inherent chicken or the egg problem here that can be overcome with great tools and fair revenue model for developers (see Apple). I’m not seeing the path forward with the current strategy.

    I love my WP7 device and OS but Android will win in these low-revenue markets due to low manufacturing costs and pre-established app ecosystem (as broken as the android app store is it still is formidable).