In an effort to appeal to budget-conscious consumers, Microsoft and its hardware partners have been working on a new set of hardware requirements to support a more lean version of the Windows Phone Tango software. On higher-end devices, Tango will work as usual, but the operating system can now work on lower-end devices, like the Nokia Lumia 610 and the ZTE Orbit, both of which were announced late last month at Mobile World Congress. Though the devices were announced, Microsoft had only recently made the specs for Tango public.
By announcing the requirements on the hardware side, Microsoft is hoping that app developers will be cognizant of the device’s capabilities when building software to ensure smooth performance on a lower-end device.
Here are some of the requirements:
- Windows Phone Marketplace app restrictions – Some processor-intensive apps have particular memory requirements, and won’t work on phones with 256MB of RAM.
- Podcast/Video Podcast Subscriptions – Managing podcast subscriptions or watching video podcasts on a device with 256MB of RAM will not be possible.
- Bing Local Scout – Bing Local Scout won’t feature on a device with only 256MB of RAM.
- Fast app/Task switching – The feature differs on Windows Phones with 256MB of RAM in that if a single application uses over 90MB, it will be killed on exit and thus not appear in the task switcher, besides this the functionality will remain unchanged.
- SkyDrive automatic photo upload – 256MB of RAM means no auto-upload option, but users will still be able to upload their photos manually.
- HD video playback – Some compressed videos will be unable to play due to a lack of codec support on devices with 256MB of RAM.
- Background agents – To free up RAM for the foreground on such devices, generic background agents (PeriodicTasks/ResourceIntensiveTasks) will be disabled.
Additionally, there are also some new features that will be coming to devices running Windows Phone Tango. According to Microsoft, here are some of the new Tango features:
- 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:
- 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.”)