by Anton Shilov
10/10/2011 | 08:17 PM
Even though the first breed of smartphones based on Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" operating system will feature morally outdated system-on-chip devices and will lack support of high-speed wireless Internet, eventually they will catch up with flagship models based on other platforms, Microsoft Corp. claims.
The explanation why the brand new smartphones with the brand new OS will lack modern system-on-chips with two general purpose ARM cores, improved graphics performance and faster data transfers is rather simple: there are no WP-programs that can take advantage of two cores, but those cores will be power consumers; 4G/LTE communication chips consume a lot of energy and also do not provide benefits everywhere. Moreover, Microsoft believes that even with single-core SoCs Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" handsets will provide better experience than Google Android-based dual-core smartphones due to better software optimization and the fact that Andoid uses virtual Java machines to run programs..
"The [first Windows Phone 7.5 smartphones] are all single-core, but I suspect that they will be faster in usage than any dual-core phone that you put against it, and that’s the point,” said Andy Lees, president of Microsoft’s Windows Phone division, in an interview with AllThingsD.
The high-ranking executive insisted that Microsoft was not opposed to dual-core SoC chips for mobile phones, but wanted to wait until the software was more ready to take advantage of multiple cores. It looks like at present neither Windows Phone nor the programs designed for it can take advantage of two ARM general purpose cores, which is why it makes no sense to install them into devices.
"The first LTE phones were big and big (users) of the battery, and I think it’s possible to do it in a way that is far more efficient, and that’s what we will be doing,” said Mr. Lees without elaborating when 4G/LTE technology hits the Windows Phone platform.
On the other hand, once powerful SoCs land into smartphones, software developers will start to take advantage of them immediately (since they will not be afraid of losing Windows Phone 7 customers as their number is very limited) and older phones become obsolete, which will naturally hit the reputation of the platform. On the other hand, since all Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango"-based devices will lag behind Apple iPhone 4S as well as expensive Google Android-powered smartphones in terms of general-purpose and graphics performance in the coming quarters, the quality and feature-set of of third-party programs for iOS and Android will be better than on the WP.
Despite of very uncomfortable position on the market, Microsoft remains optimistic and hopes to eventually leapfrog its rivals.
“So, I think that what our strategy is to put things in place that allow us to leapfrog, and I think that’s how we’ve gone from worse browser to the best browser, and I think the same is true with hardware,” said Mr. Lees.
For Microsoft, the success of Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" is critical. Based on recent findings from Gartner market research firm, the share of Microsoft Windows Phone- and Windows Mobile-based smartphones decreased to 1.6% in Q2 2011, down from 4.9% a year before. In fact, WP and WM handsets are currently behind Samsung's proprietary Bada (1.9%), RIM's Blackberry (11.7%) and Apple's iOS (18.2%) despite of the fact that they are available from numerous vendors.