Though Microsoft had been keen to recruit strategic content provider partners when it had debuted its Windows Phone 7 devices nearly a year ago, a missing feature from all the first-generation hardware across all manufacturers is TV output, and in particular HDMI output. Given that Windows Phone 7 can support video recording with minimum camera requirements per Microsoft’s chassis build specifications, and that the device has the potential to tap into Netflix and YouTube for additional content, it means that owners of first-generation device didn’t have an easy way to share their photos, videos, and content to a nearby HDTV. However, that’s about to change as Acer, which is making the M310 Windows Phone 7, will be debuting its new Mango-powered hardware with a micro HDMI output, similar to the port found on many Android devices, like the Motorola Droid 3, the Droid Charge, and the Atrix 4G. Another upcoming Windows Phone device to sport this feature is the HTC Eternity, which will come with the hardware port as well as software support for DLNA wireless sharing with connected TVs.
According to Windows Phone NZ, the Acer M310 is nearing its final production build, and the blog noted that the prototype device shown at TechEd in New Zealand had sported the hardware port.
So what is there to like about the Acer M310 – well it looks like a good basic handset overall with a black shiny look and bevelled edges. This handset has something we haven’t seen on Windows Phone handsets before – video output to HDMI. It also includes DLNA support to play over WiFi to a network connected TV, Xbox, or other DLNA supported device.
Other features on the Acer M310 look similar to many existing Windows Phone 7 handsets – such as 8GB storage capacity. It looks similar to Acer W4 which was shown off at CompuTex about 10 weeks ago.
As Microsoft maintains stringent hardware specifications for Windows Phone 7, requiring near uniformity of hardware to create a consistent user experience across all manufacturers, the inclusion of an HDMI port on both the Acer M310 and the HTC Eternity suggests that Mango will now support HDMI output, and it will be up to manufacturers to implement the hardware on their devices.