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Windows Phone 7.5 update will support 256MB RAM and slower processors in April

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Microsoft will release a Windows Phone 7.5 update in April to reduce the hardware specifications for handsets, allowing manufacturers to produce low-cost devices.

Samsung Focus Flash review header
Samsung Focus Flash review header

Microsoft is planning to support a new minimum hardware specification for its Windows Phone platform from April. Codenamed Tango, the software giant has engineered its latest Windows Phone 7.5 update to target new price points and emerging markets like China. The update is the first significant change to the Windows Phone codebase as a result of the unique partnership between Microsoft and Nokia. Nokia is promising to bring a number of low-cost Lumia products to China thanks to lower specifications.

One of the first devices to demonstrate the Windows Phone 7.5 update in action is Nokia's Lumia 610 device. Announced today at Mobile World Congress 2012, the 610 includes an 800MHz processor and 256MB of RAM, two key ways to reduce the minimum hardware requirements of Windows Phone. Microsoft is also support Qualcomm 7x27a chipsets with its latest update. Although the engineering of Windows Phone to 256MB of RAM is a good sign of the flexibility for new devices, the lack of hardware resources brings some restrictions along the way. Bing Local Scout is not available due to a limit on the amount of background data exchange. Likewise, automatic picture uploads to SkyDrive are also disabled, although these can be uploaded manually.

Microsoft is making the update available to all handset manufacturers from April, and we expect to see some additional low-end Windows Phone device announcements in the coming months.