Mary Jo Foley posted on ZDNet today reporting that Microsoft is currently planning a major Windows Phone 7 update codenamed “Mango”, which may be shipped as Windows Phone 7.5 (it was also reported that Windows Phone 8 is codenamed “Apollo” and will ship sometime in late 2012). This update is rumoured to be even larger than the two early 2011 updates which are slated to be announced during CES and MWC 2011, and will bring HTML5 and Silverlight support to Windows Phone 7. In addition, Microsoft will also bring Far East Asian language support to Windows Phone 7, amongst other features and functionality yet to be announced.
Do note that in order to bring Windows Phone 7 into the Far East Asian market, Microsoft will need to do much more than simply supporting the input of Far East Asian characters on the phone. One thing Microsoft must get right is the Zune marketplace. As the Zune experience is an integral part of Windows Phone 7, Zune marketplace must support the Far East Asian markets – and this not only means supporting Asian artists and entertainment, but also licensing with record companies. Perhaps the most difficult thing for Microsoft is the existing barriers of entry – there are already fierce competition, particularly in the Chinese market, where companies like Google and Baidu are already offering free music download and streaming services to mainland Chinese users. It would require Microsoft to rethink their business model in order to introduce Zune, currently a paid-subscription service, into this market. If Microsoft is to bring Windows Phone 7 into the Far East Asian countries, considerations like localization for its cloud services, including Zune, Bing and Windows Live, must be thought out right first, and time is short if they want to get it out there by second half of 2011.
In other news, WMPowerUser.com is reporting that in addition to the announcement of CDMA Windows Phone 7 handsets during CES 2011 (Verizon will carry the HTC 7 Trophy while Sprint is rumored to carry the HTC 7 Pro), Microsoft will also announce a new wave of Windows Phone 7 handsets to the market, including the Asus E600. For the “Mango” update which will feature Far East Asian language support, it was reported that Microsoft is also in talks with Chinese handset manufacturers Lenovo, Huawei Technologies and ZTE to bring Windows Phone 7 to their line of products.
With all these rumours surfacing about upcoming updates for Windows Phone 7, we have compiled a table summarising the rumoured upcoming updates to Windows Phone 7. Note that none of these have been officially confirmed by Microsoft.
(Consumer Electronics Show, January 6-9, 2011)
(Mobile World Congress, February 14-17, 2011)
Things are definitely getting interesting for Windows Phone 7 in 2011!