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Microsoft: 4G LTE Windows Phones coming and the iPhone 4S gives us an opening

In a fairly candid interview with the Seattle Times, Andy Lees, President of Microsoft's Windows Phone Division, answers some questions about Windows Phone, Mango, OEMs, advertising and more.

There are some typical responses, like on the iPhone 4S (see review at TiPb) since it's only one form factor, it doesn't offer consumers a choice. Meanwhile, Android is "chaotic" with some phones being excellent and others being sub-par, resulting in a mishmash of offerings on that platform.

Regarding advertising, it seems in the U.S. it is mostly up to the carriers with some OEM involvement whereas in the rest of the world, OEMs have more freedom to define their phone and experience. In fact, the strategy doesn't sound too different than what Microsoft has previously done in the past--which may not bode too well:

Lees: "In the United States, the operators own the vast majority of the retail through which phones are purchased. That's not true in many other parts of the world. I would say the OEM is disproportionately important in most parts of the world. And in the U.S., it's probably a balance between the OEM and the operator."Q: So are there commercials that Microsoft is producing that they will all use?Lees: "What we want to do is allow each hardware manufacturer to celebrate what's unique about their phone."

In other words, don't expect any Microsoft commercials or at least a broad campaign.

The other interesting bit on 4G LTE, which Microsoft seems keen on offering sooner than later, presumably with Tango:

Lees: "All the phones in the U.S. are 4G. What's interesting with this release, instead of all the phones coming out on the same day, there will be a season that will carry on into the next year that will include LTE phones as well."

Finally, Lees certainly has realistic ideas about Windows Phone. While we think 2012 could be a big year for the platform, he's taking a more long view approach, keeping expectations in check:

Q: Is this going to be your breakout year, do you think?Lees: "A few things: The Xbox will be updated in November. The UI (user interface) is very similar (to Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows 8) with the tiles and panoramas. Windows 8 is going to help. In terms of just the phone, having the choice of hardware and the quality of the experience are going to be accelerants. Over the next 12, 18, 24 months, I can see a lot of stars lining up."

Read more at the Seattle Times here.

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • I will be furious if there is no 4G WP7 devices on Verizon by Christmas!
  • Well, he says "carries into next year" so get ready to by furious, lol. LTE support won't come until Tango so early Spring?
  • LTE support is supposedly already in Mango. I've verified that several times, I just don't remember where...
  • I just want a new phone on Verizon period. More than one would be preferable. I really want a 4" or bigger screen.
  • Ok, it's offical, I verified the original article and it basically says that there will not be ANY 4G WP7 devices on ANY carrier until next year!!! WTHeck is wrong with you MICROSOFT?!??! I've been waiting forever and you're just going to make us wait more???
  • the radar 4g coming in november to tmobile
  • Titan also listed as 4G..
  • They all are 4G so far. Happy now or more complaints.
  • All the phones coming this fall to GSM carriers will do HSPA+, which delivers 4G speeds on those carriers that support them.For LTE, you'll have to wait till 2012.
  • Microsoft is not a phone manufacturer and neither do they provide cellular phone service. Yell at your carrier and get a bunch of others to do so, as well.
  • Come check back next year if you don't like what they have to offer. Since the carriers stated their data caps, wifi is the best option. I'll be fine with 3G phones.
  • Why would I lock myself into a 3G phone for two years when the 4G phones are "just around the corner"?
  • Well ok, you'll have to wait. It's October, it'll be 2012 before you know it. Go on ebay, get you a usable WP7 for cheap ($100 - $250), jump all over the 4G phones when they come out.
  • There's always something else "right around the corner". Personally I'd rather wait until they can get 4G phones battery life to not suck so hard. I'll use WiFi when I need to do heavy lifting on the phone.
  • The 4 million people that just bought an iPhone this week didn't seem to have any issue with buying a new 3G phone.LTE is a gimmick right now. It kills batteries in no time and availability is very limited throughout most of the country. I'm not saying they shouldn't promote LTE windows phones for the marketing boost, but in terms of choosing my next phone I really don't give a **** about LTE or WiMax. HSPA+ is a different matter, I think that is essential right now.
  • There will always be something better "just around the corner". Why get 3G now when you can get 4G in the next 6 months. Why get 4G when you can also get dual core in another 6 months. Why get that when you can get a phone which battery lasts 3 times as much in the next 6 months. But why get that when you know you'll have to wait for your carrier to release the update when you can get the new phone with WP10 two months ahead of time.With technology you'll never be pleased. Why buy an Xbox 360 (assuming you don't have one) if Microsoft already confirmed they're working on the next.Just get something you like and be happy. If you don't want to "lock" yourself in for 2 years, do as 1jaxstate1 says and buy a used phone, you can get it tons cheaper if you buy one with a scratch on the back cover, also buy an Otter Box, and you'll forget it's even there :)...or I could sell you my HD7 so I can buy the Titan, it's carrier unlocked!...
  • how much for the hd7 :P
  • As long as Microsoft refuses to market Windows Phone, it will always be a distant follower to iPhone and Android.
  • I sort of have to agree. Why would US carriers spend advertising dollars promoting WP, when they have a sure thing with iPhone and Android. And the same goes for OEMs (with the exceptiuon of Nokia) and Android. Sorry, but if Microsoft wants to see progressive growth in the mobile market, they are going to have to be the catalyst. At least until WP has a firm grip on 3rd place, and starts to work on 2nd.
  • when's 4G coming to the UK?
  • The auction for the Spectrum is going to happen in 2012 and then the operators will have to build their LTE networks. You *might* start seeing 4G by late 2013/2014.This of course, is if all the operators can stop fighting over who should be allowed what spectrum. Its all rather silly.
  • Newsflash-Focus S and Focus Flash on WP site, not on ATT site, yet.
  • I think the marketing thing is because of MS's new relationship w/ Nokia. By leaving the marketing to the OEM's, that open's the door for Nokia to blow it out of the water. They will be exclusively marketing & making WP7 devices. That is the best case scenario for Windows Phones.Regarding all the OEM mal-behavior enablers in this thread, give it a rest. Designed obsolescence, is **** for consumers as it is. Add to that, the fact that these phones are not even competitive, feature-wise, to the current competitors and it is even worse for consumers.For those that want to argue the position of "Oh, WP7 doesn't NEED dual-core, like Android does." That has to do w/ the fact that WP7 current can only do 1/4 of what an Android platform can do. So, captain obvious, it only makes sense that when you are doing LESS, you NEED less.Here's another example, not the only ones mind you, still no automated turn-by-turn navigation w/ voice??? C'mon dudes, you are seriously going to tell me that no one wants that feature??How about limited form factors, the apologists will tell you that the necessary result of that is fragmented performance experience??? Dudes, if the WP platform can't handle having a frakking physical kbd, because it will hose up the performance, why is this a phone that folks should get as opposed to the competitors???I am grabbing my popcorn now...