Microsoft’s forthcoming Windows Phone Tango update will be all about getting the operating system into the hands of as many new users as possible. This means expanding the platform’s language support and introducing compatibility for new hardware standards that will allow manufacturers to create the kind of budget-conscious Windows Phone handsets that developing nations need. Today a series of leaked screenshots purport to show us some of the release’s features, including the sacrifices that had to be made to support lower-tier systems.
Developers may have been wondering how their apps written to expect 512MB of system RAM would react on new Tango handsets configured with only 256MB. According to these screenshots, Microsoft will prevent such devices from downloading RAM-hungry apps from the Marketplace. App compatibility is just the start of the conceits made in order to allow for 256MB phones. Such handsets will also run into problems with Live Tiles, as 3rd party ones won’t be able to automatically update. The system will also see decreased support for streaming video, and lose the ability to automatically send images to SkyDrive.
None of that is particularly good news, but we’ve been aware that some trade-offs would have to be made in the interest of bringing the OS to more hardware options. On the plus side, the leaked shots also reveal a few improvements, like support for multiple attachments over MMS, automatic app updates, new roaming settings, and enhanced SIM management.