At Asia D today, Andy Lees gave a few details on the future of Windows Phone, including support for both NFC in 2012 and LTE at some point in the future. Just as importantly, Lees made some references to other changes in the Windows Phone hardware front. Windows Phone hardware has become quite stale since it was originally released to consumers, in part because of Microsoft's strategy of tightly controlling OEMs choices when it comes to key components like the processor, radio, and screen resolution. As Lees put it, "One of the things [Microsoft] wanted to stop was fragmentation. We locked a lot of things down."
Lees suggested that could change a bit in 2012, "We have been building an architecture that allows software vendors and hardware vendors to add their value [...] Some things we will do in 2012 will let us extend that." Specifically, Lees made reference to the "right pieces [...] to enable manufacturers to enable their own hardware support with device drivers." We're not entirely sure just how much latitude that will give OEMs, but hopefully it's a sign that we will finally see more hardware differentiation on Windows Phone — without the fragmentation that besets Android.
During his interview, Lees also dropped a few more pieces of information. He showed the Samsung Focus S (for the first time) as well as the HTC Radar, noted that Windows Phone would land in China in 2012, and demoed a Kinectimals app on Windows Phone. Finally, and most pertinent to our interests, Lees confirmed that Nokia would show off at least one Windows Phone device next week with "differentiating hardware and software."
Along with Lees' appearance, Microsoft has released images of the Samsung Focus S and Focus Flash. Find a gallery below.