Windows Phone “Tango” 256MB RAM device limitations and new features officially confirmed

By damaster | Posted March 7, 2012 24 comments

Windows Phone TangoMicrosoft revealed the next update to Windows Phone 7.5, codenamed “Tango”, during Mobile World Congress this year. However, the company had been particularly silent about this update, mainly due to the fact that the update is targeted at bringing the OS to lower device requirements (such as supporting Qualcomm 7x27a processors and 256 MB of RAM) rather than bringing new features.

Certain restrictions were placed on devices with 256 MB of RAM, and while the company mentioned 5% of current apps in the marketplace won’t work on these devices, they haven’t been talking much about the other restrictions. However, Microsoft had been silently updating their Windows Phone How-to website, and these restrictions are now officially confirmed in these documentations. We’ve pulled them all out for you here so you don’t have to go digging:

  • Windows Phone Marketplace app restrictions – Some processor-intensive apps have memory requirements, and won’t work on phones with 256 MB of RAM. You can check how much memory you have on your phone by tapping Settings > About.
  • Podcast Subscriptions and Video Podcasts – You won’t be able to manage podcast subscriptions on your phone or watch video podcasts if your phone has 256 MB of RAM.
  • Local Scout – You won’t be able to use Local Scout if your phone has only 256 MB of RAM.
  • Fast app switching – This feature will not work if your phone has 256 MB of RAM.
  • SkyDrive automatic photo upload – You won’t be able to upload pictures automatically to SkyDrive if your phone has only 256 MB of RAM.
  • HD video playback – You won’t be able to play video compressed with some of the listed codecs if your phone has 256 MB of RAM.
  • Background agents – To free up RAM for the foreground on 256MB devices, generic background agents (PeriodicTasks/ResourceIntensiveTasks) are disabled.

However, unless you intend on buying the Nokia Lumia 610 or ZTE Orbit, these limitations probably won’t affect you. Fortunately, the updated Windows Phone How-to website (via The Verge) also detailed several new features that are coming. We’ve also listed them here, together with the link to the actual page that describes it:

Better media messaging. Now you can attach multiple pictures and videos—along with voice notes and ringtones—to text messages. You can include a video, picture, voice note, or ringtone in an instant message, too.

Location awareness icon. When an app is accessing your phone’s current location information, an icon will appear next to the battery status indicator:

system-callout-order-icons

Export and manage contacts to SIM card. All Windows Phones allows you to import contacts from a SIM card, but only some phones allows you to export contacts to a SIM card, or create and edit individual contacts on the SIM card. For more information, please contact your mobile operator. (Strangely, this feature is only documented on the Chinese version of the website. The English version states that “you can’t save contacts from a Windows Phone to a SIM card.”)

Have you noticed anything else new from the Windows Phone How-to website? If you have, let us know in the comments below!

Posted March 7th, 2012 at 6:42 am
Category: Featured, Mobile
Tags: Tango, Windows Phone
  • http://josedmorales.net Josè Daniel

    Indeed a minor update I see now.

  • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe

    Indeed a minor update I see now.

  • http://www.techomaniac.com Techomaniac

    This is ridiculous! I have an LG Quantum which has 256MB of RAM but a 1GHz processor. Does that mean that if I upgrade to Tango then I wont be able to fast switch between apps?

    • Emi Cyberschreiber

      sorry but you are tralking crap…

      how is possible that you have a 256mb, when the ONLY 256mb I have read and heard and seen shown in a video its Lumia 610… because 256mb ram WAS NOT supported before tango.

      256mb is only for lower-end devices in emerging markets , so your quantum isn’t in that category.

      • http://www.techomaniac.com Techomaniac

        Looks like I was wrong about the Quantum having 256 MB RAM. But I do distinctly remember Windows Phone 7 having a minimum RAM requirement of 256 MB and not 512. Read here:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Phone#System_requirements 

        The Wikipedia entry clearly mentions that the minimum RAM requirement is 256 MB. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/erichon99 Eric Hon

      I’m pretty sure Mango devices have a minimum requirement of 512MB RAM.  256 haven’t come out yet

      • http://www.techomaniac.com Techomaniac

        Looks like I was wrong about the Quantum having 256 MB RAM. But I do distinctly remember Windows Phone 7 having a minimum RAM requirement of 256 MB and not 512. Read here:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Phone#System_requirements 
        The Wikipedia entry clearly mentions that the minimum RAM requirement is 256 MB.

        • Damaster – LiveSide.net

          You’re correct – the minimum hardware requirements for Windows Phone had always been 256 MB, however all devices produced since launch in 2010 had always carried 512 MB RAM.

          The Nokia Lumia 610 and the ZTE Orbit are the FIRST two devices that will ship with 256 MB or RAM. So if you’re currently a Windows Phone owner, you won’t need to worry about any of the limitations above.

          P.S. I wouldn’t call Wikipedia a reliable source, but you can find details about Windows Phone’s minimum requirements here:
          http://www.istartedsomething.com/20100316/wp7s-hardware-specification-samsung-device/ (Original requirements at MIX10)
          http://www.winrumors.com/microsoft-unveils-new-hardware-specs-for-future-windows-phones/ (Updated requirements at MIX11)

          • http://www.techomaniac.com Techomaniac

            Wikipedia is not reliable but a website article is? :D

          • http://www.techomaniac.com Techomaniac

            However, I can’t shake the feeling that I had read somewhere that LG Quantum has 256 MB of RAM. This was one of the factors why I wanted to buy Samsung Focus instead since it had 512 MB of RAM.

          • http://www.techomaniac.com Techomaniac

            Leave it. I installed an App called System View and it showed me that I have RAM equivalent to 482MB, so its 512 MB then.

    • http://twitter.com/jhanford Jason Hanford-Smith

      http://www.phonearena.com/phones/LG-Quantum_id4854 Read the “Hardware” section: System memory: 512 MB RAM / 512 MB ROM

  • http://www.tekwalla.com/ Tekwalla

    This is ridiculous! I have an LG Quantum which has 256MB of RAM but a 1GHz processor. Does that mean that if I upgrade to Tango then I wont be able to fast switch between apps?

    • Emi the Strange

      sorry but you are tralking crap…

      how is possible that you have a 256mb, when the ONLY 256mb I have read and heard and seen shown in a video its Lumia 610… because 256mb ram WAS NOT supported before tango.

      256mb is only for lower-end devices in emerging markets , so your quantum isn’t in that category.

      • http://www.tekwalla.com/ Tekwalla

        Looks like I was wrong about the Quantum having 256 MB RAM. But I do distinctly remember Windows Phone 7 having a minimum RAM requirement of 256 MB and not 512. Read here:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Phone#System_requirements 

        The Wikipedia entry clearly mentions that the minimum RAM requirement is 256 MB. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/erichon99 Eric Hon

      I’m pretty sure Mango devices have a minimum requirement of 512MB RAM.  256 haven’t come out yet

      • http://www.tekwalla.com/ Tekwalla

        Looks like I was wrong about the Quantum having 256 MB RAM. But I do distinctly remember Windows Phone 7 having a minimum RAM requirement of 256 MB and not 512. Read here:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Phone#System_requirements 
        The Wikipedia entry clearly mentions that the minimum RAM requirement is 256 MB.

        • damaster

          You’re correct – the minimum hardware requirements for Windows Phone had always been 256 MB, however all devices produced since launch in 2010 had always carried 512 MB RAM.

          The Nokia Lumia 610 and the ZTE Orbit are the FIRST two devices that will ship with 256 MB or RAM. So if you’re currently a Windows Phone owner, you won’t need to worry about any of the limitations above.

          P.S. I wouldn’t call Wikipedia a reliable source, but you can find details about Windows Phone’s minimum requirements here:
          http://www.istartedsomething.com/20100316/wp7s-hardware-specification-samsung-device/ (Original requirements at MIX10)
          http://www.winrumors.com/microsoft-unveils-new-hardware-specs-for-future-windows-phones/ (Updated requirements at MIX11)

          • http://www.tekwalla.com/ Tekwalla

            Wikipedia is not reliable but a website article is? :D

          • http://www.tekwalla.com/ Tekwalla

            However, I can’t shake the feeling that I had read somewhere that LG Quantum has 256 MB of RAM. This was one of the factors why I wanted to buy Samsung Focus instead since it had 512 MB of RAM.

          • http://www.tekwalla.com/ Tekwalla

            Leave it. I installed an App called System View and it showed me that I have RAM equivalent to 482MB, so its 512 MB then.

    • http://twitter.com/jhanford Jason Hanford-Smith

      http://www.phonearena.com/phones/LG-Quantum_id4854 Read the “Hardware” section: System memory: 512 MB RAM / 512 MB ROM

  • Rob

    The Dell Venue Pro was suspected to have 256 MB memory but later that turned out to be a mistake in the reported memory by the device that was fixed in NoDo update.

  • Rob

    The Dell Venue Pro was suspected to have 256 MB memory but later that turned out to be a mistake in the reported memory by the device that was fixed in NoDo update.