When Windows Phone 7 was unveiled last week, Microsoft said that all devices running it would have to meet certain hardware requirements. Exactly what all of these will be has not yet been spelled out, but many of them have come to light.
In the days of Windows Mobile, Microsoft tried to foster innovation by supporting as many different hardware options as possible, including a wide range of screen resolutions. During the unveiling of the upcoming Windows Phone 7 last week, Steve Ballmer made it clear that his company is going to keep a tight reign on the specifications of the phones running it.
All models will have to include a multi-touch display, Wi-Fi, a 5 megapixel camera, a GPS receiver, and an FM radio. Microsoft is also specifying the number and arrangements of buttons below the screen, one of which has to be dedicated to the Bing search engine.
Some Variation is Coming
Last week, Steve Ballmer mentioned that all Windows Phone 7-based devices will have to have a WVGA (800 by 480 pixel) display, but new information indicates that this will be true when the first models debut, but at some point a bit of variation will be allowed.
During an interview this week, a pair of Microsoft’s Developer Evangelists said their company is following a “chassis” strategy, in which Microsoft specifies a collection of possible hardware configurations.
Chassis 1 is the only option that will be available at launch. All smartphones using it will have a tablet shape with a WVGA display and 1 GHz processor.
Chassis 3 was mentioned but not described.
These Microsoft employees did not say when Chassis 2 and 3 models will be on the market, but the first Chassis 1 devices will be on store shelves in the fourth quarter of this year.
More about Windows Phone 7
Despite its name, Microsoft’s next smartphone operating system has little in common with its predecessors. It will have a completely different user interface and apparently won’t run applications written for the earlier versions.
Its focus has moved to consumers, and its UI emphasizes social networking, pictures, games, etc. It has also been redesigned to be controlled with a fingertip.
Just about the only significant similarity between old and new is that both include Microsoft Office Mobile and support for synchronizing with Microsoft Exchange.