According to reports over at WinRumors, Microsoft may be planning to announce a more flexible hardware specification allowance for manufacturers of Windows Phone 7 at MIX11.
"According to sources familiar with the company’s plans, the new hardware specifications will allow device manufacturers such as Nokia to create cheaper Windows Phone devices. The announcement may be made as early as the company’s MIX11 conference this week. The new flexibility will offer device makers the option to use cheaper components to bring the overall cost of a Windows Phone down. Microsoft is understood to be open to flexible specifications in order to gain smartphone market share and eat into Google’s Android efforts."
We also received this info from @WindosPhone8 (still rumour guys!): "New flexible spec #Wp7 chasis requires no wi fi, bluetooth, 3g, camera, fm, compass, gyro. Must have wvga 3.5"+, gps, accelerometer, 2g+"
While this would tie in nicely with Nokia bringing devices to the platform and would certainly appeal to many with a really tight budget, I don't see this happening simply because there are already fairly cheap options already on the platform - namely the HTC 7 Trophy which is available at Amazon (UK) for £299.99 (just under $500US), not to mention previous deals on the Samsung Focus. As well as that, lower-end hardware would introduce concerns from users that the devices may not be able to run the software (and applications) smoothly to ensure a user experience found on top-end models.
With the current line of WP7 devices packing a single-core processor, I'm not entirely sure how low we could go before performance begins to become an issue, especially with multitasking coming around the corner later this year in Mango. Microsoft themselves stated numerous times they're in the smartphone race for the long run, why would they begin to go back on the WP7 foundations that features strict platform hardware requirements? WP7 would also run the risk of mild fragmentation, something that made many of us leave Android.
Let's see if anything is announced at MIX this week, what do you think about the rumor? Do you think it's nonsense and Microsoft will stick to the fantastic strict specification requirements, or do you believe they're starting to get impatient about marketshare?