Microsoft now requires handset vendors to use Qualcomm’s second generation Snapdragon

Microsoft’s mobile strategy is a bit odd. First they sold licenses of Windows Mobile to handset makers. That business model was badly damaged when Google announced Android and said they’d be giving it away for free. What separated Windows Mobile from Android however was the fact that Microsoft also provided drivers so getting a smartphone up and running in a lab and then on a store shelf would be a fast process. Now with Windows Phone 7 they still retain the license model, but they also enforce a strict set of hardware requirements. All Windows Phone devices currently on the market use Qualcomm’s MSM8x50 Snapdragon. They’re all running at 1 GHz, they all have the same Adreno 200 GPU. This is due to change, with Microsoft bumping up the minimum spec sheet to Qualcomm’s MSM8x55 or MSM7x30, both use the next generation Adreno 205 GPU. Both the MSM8x55 and MSM7x30 also support HSPA+, the only difference between the two is that the former can close up to 1.4 GHz, while the latter can only do between 800 MHz and 1 GHz.

Remember that rumor we reported on ST-Ericsson becoming one of the official recommended solutions for Windows Phone? Looks like that’s not going to happen anytime soon. We’re now left wondering when Microsoft will require support for dual core, seeing as how that’s the hottest thing in the press, but not yet a success in the marketplace. Then there’s NFC. It’s been rumored that support will come by the end of this year. We wouldn’t hold our breathe on that either, since it’s likely that Microsoft is pouring all of their engineering talent on getting the first Nokia Windows Phones out on the market as soon as humanly possible.

What do you think: Is this “closed” strategy of dictating spec sheets, charging licensing fees, and restricting UI customization a good or a bad thing?

Update: There’s also optional support for a gyroscope in the next WP release too.

  • Siley

    Microsoft previously demanded that all hardware manufacturers include a compass in every Windows Phone that was made.

    But that all fell apart. The compasses arrived in handsets, but Microsoft is so slow that it didn’t finish writing the driver software necessary to run the compasses. So the compass was in the phone, but could not be used.

    This is one typical example of how Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 was released prematurely to make it in time for the 2010 Christmas shopping season, with total disregard for the consequences. The Windows Phone 7 OS is like a dog’s breakfast.

    • Anonymous

      You’re a fuckin’ idiot.

  • Windows Phone 7’s smart tile system built in programs that cause it’s smart tiles data to be updated I believe require any Windows phone 7 model to have as fast a CPU as the Phone maker can afford to make the phone with the new dual core CPU’s for windows phone are the way to go to have a good Windows phone 7 experience can an 800 MHZ phone CPU keep up with the Window’s phone 7’s smart tile program updater
    programs. If they ca’nt then then a Windows phone 7 with an 800MHZ phone CPU will be too slow and give
    the Windows Phone 7 user a bad user experience. Microsoft cannot afford to make a Slow Smart Phone at this stage of the game. The only good reason to use an 800MHZ phone CPU is that a phone maker can make cheaper Windows phone 7’s but if these phones run too slow they wont sell well because People want fast smart phones that get things done fast. it may turn out that only high end Windows phone 7’s with fast single gore or dual core CPU’s in the future will sell well

  • the reason for this could be same as Windows Media Centre edition, u know standard tested hardware causes less to no crashes aka iphone is the example, but with different physical designs. There are lot more things that first fin phone might can customize but not a great place to comment. Wait for it.

  • Success of Windows Phone 7 is out of Microsoft’s hands. It is Nokia’s distribution prowess that will make or break Windows Phone 7. I JUST HOPE that they keep prices low.

  • Loren B

    I hope like everything that Microsoft can keep being hard nosed with the manufacturers/carriers for at least two reasons.

    One, I’d like to get more life out of my device, if I so want, than one version of phone OS. One of the many reasons the iPhone has been successful is that there’s a lot of life you can get out of a hardware purchase. In comparison many Windows Mobile phones rarely saw a x dot version upgrade and instead you had to purchase a new phone to get the new version of OS. I don’t want to see that madness return. Even though phones fade quickly from the limelight they don’t fade in usefulness for about three years – provided the software is upgraded with security fixes and minor enhancements.

    Two, Microsoft must continue to be hard nosed about having the user experience be identical, phone to phone, carrier to carrier — if they want the Windows Phone brand to be a long term force. Once they start going down the road of letting the carriers dictate the main UI of the device they lost. It simply tells the customer that what they have/had in the UI isn’t significant. Ulimately it tells vividly that the phone really doesn’t have staying power – that it really is just a moment in time device.

    The fact that you can pick up any iPhone and know exactly how to use it (operate it) is a major win. And that is how it needs to be with Windows Phone – no matter who the carrier or manufacturer are you know that it will be the same experience – that it’s familiar. Doing this makes using any Windows Phone an easy transition.

    I believe these two things along with a few more a vital for Microsoft to have a device that will live long in the marketplace. I hope they succeed – there’s a lot of good tools that Microsoft engineers have made and are making — I’d really like to see them excel in mobile devices too.

    But there are many opportunities for them to screw their mobile strategy up. Bottomline is, Microsoft needs to make sure the customer doesn’t feel had. Make the customers’ life a little better, a little more fun but one less thing to master and they’ll have users for a very long time.

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