A snipped from a Microsoft readomap has leaked out, giving us a release timeframe for the next Windows Phone updates, Tango and Apollo. The description for Tango confirms that it will center on enabling entry-level handsets, and should be landing in the second quarter of 2012. Apollo will follow up in Q4 of next year, aiming for competitive high-end handsets. The info is from October, so release targets may have been pushed back, but this should give you a pretty clear idea of what 2012 is looking like for Windows Phone.
It’s a little weird to see Microsoft only starting to consider the platform competitive at the end of next year, though RIM is in the same boat. At least Microsoft has been honest about how much time it takes to get a platform like this up and running; when Windows Phone was first coming out, they said it would take five years to reach maturity, and even now, a year in, they’re ready to admit that they have negligible market share. This is largely because their current priority is to set a stable foundation for the future rather than trying to go head-to-head with Android or iPhone. Sure, it makes for some fairly basic updates, but they’re important nonetheless.
CES is just around the corner, and with any luck, we’ll see a proper unveiling of the Tango update.