Windows Phone fragmentation, for all intents and purposes, doesn’t exist. If you bought the first Windows Phones to roll off an assembly line back in 2010, then chances are you’re running the latest version of the OS. This will change by the time we reach the fourth quarter of this year. Let’s start with Tango, the next version of Windows Phone. There are actually two versions, Tango I and Tango II. One of them, we think the first one, was developed for companies who want to build lower cost devices, hence why the Nokia Lumia 610 was announced last week. Whereas every Windows Phone on the market has a processor that’s clocked to at least 1 GHz and also has 512 MB of RAM, devices running Tango I have an 800 MHz processor and 256 MB of RAM. It’s too early to say if OS performance is negatively impacted, but we were certainly impressed with what we saw at the show. Microsoft says 95% of applications in the Windows Phone Marketplace will run just fine on Tango I devices, and the ones that don’t obviously need to be modified to use less memory. As for Tango II, it’s a software update for Windows Phones currently on the market, so we’re talking bug fixes, several new features, etc.
Things get a bit messy when we start looking at the next big update to Windows Phone, codenamed Apollo. Eventually it’ll be called Windows Phone 8, but for the sake of this article let’s call it Apollo. Now Apollo is supposed to be based off of the same kernel that powers the desktop version of Windows 8. Rumors suggest it’ll support high resolution screens, dual core processors, NFC, the works. The question on everyone’s mind is: “Will I be able to upgrade my current Windows Phone to Apollo?”
According to Mary-Jo Foley from All About Microsoft, she’s increasingly hearing that the answer is no. At Mobile World Congress last week, Terry Myerson, the Corporate Vice President of Windows Phone, said in an interview that application compatibility is the goal of Apollo. That pretty much confirms that Apollo is going to be an entirely new beast.
We’ve been saying it all along, that you should avoid Windows Phone until Apollo, not just because Mango feels so incomplete, but because Nokia themselves have said that they’re not going to be able to their best work until Apollo. So if you’re thinking about a Lumia 900 or Lumia 800, then stop.