Microsoft exec says budget Windows Phone 8 devices a possibility

Senior product manager for Windows Phone, Greg Sullivan

Since the announcement of Windows Phone 8 and some its new functionality, it's been unclear whether or not we would see some budget devices (256MB of RAM) sporting the new OS, or if the 7.8 update would be the only option (currently, Microsoft's answer to this problem are Tango phones like the Lumia 610). The question was posed by KnowYourMobile to senior product manager for Windows Phone, Greg Sullivan, who hinted that economical Apollo devices are a distinct possibility:

"I would argue those are not mutually exclusive strategies and that is in fact is our approach. We will continue to support the current platform with the 256MB footprint in devices like the Lumia 610. And one of the points about the new architecture is that it will scale both up and down," and then added, 'In fact, having support for removable SD storage will enable OEMs to build devices with less storage initially that is user expandable, so the bill of materials is potentially even lower for the handsets."

Sullivan also went on to explain Microsoft's reasoning on limiting earlier Windows Phone devices to the 7.8 update, despite major disappointment amongst consumers.

"We’ve really tried to do the right thing for all audiences and that means making Windows Phone 8 the best possible release we can. Therefore we targeted the latest generation of hardware by building what are effectively primarily hardware-dependent capabilities that we achieve with this new [shared] core. 'It made more sense to focus on making Windows Phone 8 as good as we possibly could, fully exploiting this new generation of hardware."

Sure, nobody wants Apollo to be limited because of outdated hardware standards, but with Microsoft knowing ahead of time that Windows Phone 7 was going to be superceded before its release, they have a bit of a public relations fight on their hands. But that's technology for you. As you as you have the latest and greatest, it's already being replaced. Hopefully, we will see some wallet-friendly Windows Phone 8 handsets so even the most price-conscious techies can keep up with the times.

Source: KnowYourMobile; Image credit: Mashables

  • I'd love to see a galaxy S3 port, like a focus 3 or something. Having a Titan II I'd also love to see something like the One X, titan 3 or something of that nature.
  • My dream phone for this fall is HTC One X with WP8 (as long as it has more than 16 Gb of storage!).
  • We're going to get both of those. HTC and Samsung will be bringing their multi-core phones to WP8 at launch. More importantly I hope that these phones will actually reach multiple carriers in the US. All of the carriers need to start getting a steady stream of WP8 hardware releases. It can't all be focused on AT&T again. As far as having more than 16GB, I doubt you will see that built into the phone itself now that there is memory card support. At most you will see HTC include a big memory card (16GB+) that bumps the total storage above 32GB on their high end phone (HTC Zenith maybe).
  • A PR nightmare that the press is creating over a highly rational decision.
  • Agreed.  For any large scale software development, it is common to have parallel development of 2 versions.   Otherwise, new version would come out too late for market.
  • I still don't understand how this is a PR nightmare. It's almost a year after Android 4.x has been released and only 10% of Android phones have received the update. The vast majority of Android handsets released in the last year are stuck on 2.x. How come that is not a PR nightmare? If MSFT hadn't released WP7 and instead waited until they had successfully ported the Windows NT kernel to ARM then WP8 would be starting with 0 apps and no developers. Instead they will launch WP8 with 100,000-150,000 apps and tens of millions of existing users for developers to sell their apps to.
  • You've just made the smartest statement I've heard relating to this fiasco the media is creating over 7.5 - win phone 8. I firmly believe the media and CNET are banding together to form a smear campaign. Many of the users here are saying they're going back to iphone/Android because of this, yet each time a new iphone/android comes out, they pay $149 upgrade free....whats different now? My 900 has 100k plus apps and still growing and does everything I need it to but if good enough hardware is released, I'll pay the early upgrade fee. No, I'm not rich, but I'll manage
  • Re: Microsoft knew about Windows 8 while planning Windows 7. Planned obsolescence has and will be the norm in any industry. Read it here folks and in the meantime read the industry news often, I saw this coming.
  • +1
  • Pretty common in the auto industry.
  • What are the minimum required specs for an Apollo handset? How "affordable" can a phone be made and still meet those specs?
  • Makes you wonder if our WP7 phones could have been budget WP8 phones. Not sure how much people would like the sound of that though :P
  • The only problem is that the Qualcomm chipsets Microsoft plans on using in Windows Phone 8 devices only came out this year and are already in short supply (see Galaxy S III delays). From a cost perspective, the difference between the Snapdragon S2 currently in phones and S4 in WP8 devices isn't that much, but supply wouldn't be there for months. There basically wouldn't be a Lumia 900, HTC Titan II, or Samsung Focus 2 if Microsoft had to wait for those chipsets to be in good supply.
  • But do our current phones meet the minimum required specs for Apollo? I would guess no. That's the point of my question, is NFC required? FFC? Minimum RAM? Minimum CPU? Rear camera resolution?
  • I would say they do. It's only the type CPU that's the potential issue (?), and the danger of having to reflash the whole device. XDA will find a way :P
  • If they bring out a WP8 device with lower specs than a Lumia900, i quit MS forever.
  • Not again
  • Lulz
  • MS, you need every bit of market share you can get. Ignoring prepaid so long shows how truly clueless you all are with your marketing. Now, the iPhone has arrived on prepaid, so you've been beat again. How hard would it be to get ZTE and Hauwei to make low-cost WP's? Stop ignorning prepaid and acting like the war will be won only from the top down.
  • They aren't ignoring prepaid. Plus I'm sure one can use any phone they wish on a GSM prepaid provider so in that regard WP is on prepaid.
  • The phones are all prepaid, it's your carriers that are not... Here in Jamaica the carriers give both options (monthly plan or prepaid).
  • In Australia I don't know of any phones that you can't buy outright for prepaid. Most models are available on numerous carriers and unlocked through independent stores. Prepaid is spoilt for choice!
  • Oh and iPhone has been on prepaid for 5 years here
  • Here we go again
  • I hope this is the actual location where they make the announcement. The Dress Barn seems like the perfect spot to talk about budget devices.
  • I wonder if they try to really make it right.
  • Here come the excuses....:)
  • I'm actually impressed they had such a long term plan. That makes me feel better about the future.
    On the flip side, I honestly DO feel for those that bought Mango devices, but you still have a better phone than me. I'm on Verizon so I basically got a gen 1 device when everyone else was getting Mango ones.  Still, I love my phone for the most part, though.  I'll have to buy a WP8+ device for full price anyway as Verizon won't let me keep my unlimited data if I get a contract subsidy on my next phone ...
  • Don't feel sorry for me, as I knew full well this was a possibility. I'm not gonna cry like the rest of the sissy's here. As much as much as it pains me to say this, apple followers are right about windows/wp7 users, "there a bunch of cry babies". I know many iPhone users who've had the 4 just over 4-6 mos and when the 4s came out, they did what was necessary to get it. They didn't complain ot abandon ship. I wouldn't want to go into battle with most of you. So those of you who will be leaving, may shame go with you! Adioso!
  • We can understand hardware-dependencies, but what ever happened to "fix it in software/firmware"?  Yes. it would be slower, but how would that compare with a WP8 "budget device".
    I'm really tired of this.  I have two printers that no longer work with Win 7 or Win 8. (Thanks, HP!) I have two webOS devices that will now go stagnet (Thanks, HP!).  So I move to the up-and-coming WP7 and now find out I again wasted my money.  (Thanks, Microsoft!).
    Personal budgets can't stand this.  Guess I should learn my lesson and move to iOS.
  • You won't be happy there either
  • Yeah, that's my thoughts. That's why I've been avoiding them for years.
  • I'm sick of people like you coming in here crying wolf. Just acknowledge you chose to upgrade your device knowing this was a possibility; wpcentral and other outlets stated this long before you or I purchased the L900. I will be keeping mine unless the newer hardware is astetically more pleasing to me. Tha-9 does exactly what I need it to do and more!!!
  • "Crying wolf"?  Uh?  I don't see how that fits this senario... back to the books and try again.
    As far as being sick, that's up to you.  Just go back to the corner where we can't see you. And oh, btw, I don't have an L900.  I'm kind of a Titan guy, myself.
    ps And I'm not afraid to use my real name!
  • If your personal budget can't stand buying a $50 printer then you won't want to switch to iOS... They charge $50 just for a cable :P
  • You got that right!  That's one of my main gripes with them.  They have a monopoly on all things Apple.  Though it looks like Microsoft is headed that way with their App Store.
    Btw, I wish my printer gripe was a $50 printer, but its a multifunction laser printer.  Cost more than I'm willing to spend right now.  The other is a lesser expensive label printer.  I have found a solution.  I have a crappy Netbook that I don't use because of its terrible performance.  However, its on my LAN and its an XP system.  So I now dump files in Dropbox (or SkyDrive) and use the Netbook to print them.
  • I've always thought that they should have attacked the pre-paid phone market with budget-friendly Windows Phones. That market is pretty much all up for Android's grabs, and it just helps the brand's power even more--something Microsoft could have greatly benefited from (imagine Virgin Mobile pushing a really nice and unexpensive Windows Phone and all the young kids who would immediately become future customers).
  • Reading this comments makes me realize MS is actually right, it's better to completely reboot WP, we need not only new devices but also new users, these ones whine way too much.
  • +1
  • As I mentioned above, all current and future windows phone have the functionality for prepaid it's just that your carriers are not. Secondary it seems that one of the main reasons why current phones can't be upgraded to wp8 is due to a TPM chip that will be built into it that provides additional features current Gen cant support...
  • Budget device? I think they are probably talking about HTC Radar spec or Lumia 610 kind of thing. But why bother make a budget device when you've scrapped all the existing wp7 devices away? Doesn't makes sense. If Microsoft wants wp8 to have better hardware, then so be it. Dont make one same spec as wp7 devices, thats just.....cruel.
  • I would argue that people using windows phone and Microsoft themselves always bragged how all their devices were always updated to the latest software. Google never said that.
  • What is this budget device? I assume they mean a phone with lower specs than the current crop of WP7 phones, somewhere along the lines of the Lumia 610. So again, why can't WP8 come to WP7 handsets? They just said so themselves that it can scale in both directions, I can't imagine them saying our phones right now are budget phones since they made the Tango update to be budget phone friendly.
  • Without specs released it is all speculation now. All will be clear soon.