Microsoft’s future plans for Windows Phone have turned up in a leaked roadmap obtained by the site wmpoweruser.com, revealing a new focus on cheaper mass market devices.
The roadmap describes a new Windows Phone release code named Tango which is set to appear some time in the second half of 2012 with another version called Apollo due towards the end of next year.
The document makes reference to the Tango version of Windows Phone targeting smartphones with "the best prices" as the company seeks to compete with the high volume entry level smartphone market currently dominated by Android.
The Apollo update is aimed at high-end "super phones", presumably the usual sort of multi-CPU large screen devices such as the iPhone and high-end Android devices. Microsoft cite business users as a core target for the software.
Interesting the company also described Apollo as being able to "increase overall volume", which surely must be a key Microsoft goal for next year given Windows Phone languishing in percentage of market share of barely a single digit.
In order to increase popularity, it’s generally thought Microsoft will need to support a wider variety of screen sizes (particularly for those cheaper phones) while the higher end needs support for next-generation 4G mobile phone standards such as LTE.
So it’s perhaps unsurprising that these features will be introduced into Tango. That said, the roadmap calls out the previous Windows Phone release ‘Mango’ as appearing in the 4th quarter of 2011 when it actually arrived in September which could point to the roadmap being somewhat on the crusty side of freshness.
Noises have also been emanating from Finland about plans for low-cost Windows Phones to appear earlier in 2011, rather than later. We can well imagine Espoo banging the drum for a WinPho version suitable for Nokia’s bread and butter lower end phone market.