Last week, we heard about the issues 256MB RAM Windows Phone models – specifically the Lumia 610 – were having with Skype, causing Nokia to decide the diminished user experience wasn’t worthwhile and blocking access to the app from the phone. There’s a growing realization of just which apps aren’t playing nicely with these low-RAM handsets, alongside fears that compatibility issues may be a more annoying problem than initially described.
This is by no means an exhaustive survey, but in addition to Skype, videoconferencing app Tango won’t run on 256MB phones, and neither will the games Angry Birds nor Pro Evolution Soccer 2012. That should especially be surprising to users of lower-end Android handsets, as even Android phones with 256MB of RAM have little issue successfully running Angry Birds. That makes us wonder just how much effort has gone into optimizing titles for 256MB platforms so far, and if attempting to do so is even financially worthwhile for many developers. Update: Rovio, at least, will be making an effort to get its apps running on these phones.
The problem isn’t so much that some apps won’t run on 256MB phones, but which apps won’t. If we were talking about high-end games, with limited appeal outside gaming circles, no one would bat an eye at a low-RAM phone being unable to keep up, but Skype and Angry Birds, at least, are simultaneously both very popular and don’t give the appearance of sky-high system demands. If we keep seeing apps like these disabled on this type of phone, Microsoft’s decision to allow low-RAM devices could end up not paying off the way the company might have hoped.