The next generation of the Windows Phone operating system has been released to manufacturing and that means manufacturers are now hard at work at fitting the new OS on new hardware devices that we can expect to see released later this year. We’ve already seen a few tastes from Samsung, Acer, ZTE, and Toshiba-Fujitsu at WPC as well as a few other leaks. I’m guessing most of the new devices will have faster single-core processors as well as some dedicated graphics processing units. HTC’s devices are expected to have 1.5Ghz Qualcomm MSM 8655 CPUs and screen sizes ranging from 3.8 to 4.7 inches. The GPU will be most useful when it comes to rendering HTML5 animations and graphics in IE9 since Windows Phone’s version of IE is fully capable of taking advantage of that processing power. Sure, the current Windows Phone 7 devices run Mango’s IE9 pretty famously, but imagine how good it will be with some heavy duty hardware behind it. You can also bet those GPUs will help with 3D graphics in Xbox LIVE games.
Acer will be a new Windows Phone manufacturer, but their first device isn’t terribly impressive. It will only have a 1Ghz processor, 8Gb storage, 5Mp camera, and DLNA support.
Fujitsu-Toshiba’s first Windows Phone (the IS12T) will come in a few different color options, feature a high resolution 13.2 megapixel camera, and waterproofing. UPDATE: Better photo added.
Samsung’s next Windows Phone will feature their excellent Galaxy S super AMOLED screen in an extra thin and light body. We did see a front facing camera on this device, but it’s unclear as to whether the next wave of devices will all include support for front facing cameras or in what capacity. There does seem to be support for front facing cameras in the developer toolkit, but we haven’t seen any native video calling demos. Ideally, there will be video calling support built into Windows Live Messenger at least with Facebook video and Skype video support to come later.
ZTE will also be releasing a Windows Phone, but we haven’t seen anything particularly special about it other than a very cool chrome-colored docking station.
We’ve also heard rumors of the HTC Prime, Ignite, Bresson, Eternity and Mazaa Windows Phones coming from HTC. The HTC Mazaa seems to be an update to the HTC Trophy and the Ignite seems to be a low-end device with minimum requirements. The Eternity from HTC will be something to look forward too. That device should boast a huge 4.7″ SLCD screen along with a 1.5Ghz Snapdragon processor, 16Gb storage, 8 megapixel camera, and 1.3 megapixel front camera. Then there’s the HTC Bresson which will probably look a lot like the Desire S and will include a 16 megapixel camera.
The HTC Prime seems to be a more compact version of the HTC Arrive or 7 Pro that were released in the original wave of Windows Phone 7 devices.
LG made a number of decent original Windows Phone 7 devices, and we have one rumored LG Fantasy that we expect to see running Mango, though not much else is known about this device.
Then there’s Nokia. We’re expecting to see Nokia’s first Windows Phone this year and it’s currently code-named Sea-Ray. From the leaked demos we’ve seen it will have a very similar body to the N9 that Nokia is also planning to release later this year. This will probably be the highest quality built form factor that we’ve seen so far. Unfortunately it won’t have Nokia’s N8 12 megapixel camera with Xenon flash and mechanical shutter, but it will have a pretty good 8 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and an LED flash.
We haven’t heard anything about NFC or 3D imaging capabilities, so I don’t expect to see any news on that type of thing anytime soon. However, Windows Phone’s animated and layered interface would certainly lend itself nicely to a 3D screen.
I’m thinking the big things that we’ll see for the next wave of Windows Phones are going to be the things consumers tend to use their phones for the most; taking pictures and playing games. I think we’ll see faster camera launching software, some better photography features such as the “touch to capture” feature where you just touch the screen to focus and take a picture, and certainly some more high-powered gaming with the dedicated GPUs.
So according to the rumors, that’s five devices from HTC, one each from Acer, Samsung, ZTE, Fujitsu-Toshiba, LG and Nokia for a total of 11 possible new Windows Phone Mango devices to look for this fall. Personally I think we might see a few more than that.