The Windows Phone 7 architecture: memory, customization, Live ID

In a leaked document, evidently found by, some more information has emerged on the internal design, some limitations and drivers in Windows Phone 7.

Most the information seems to work in favor of a stable, consistent and consumer friendly mobile OS, but one cannot deny the big role Microsoft is now playing in overseeing their new OS (though it's still much less than Apple's grip on the iPhone and iPad, but is that really saying much?).

Some things worth noting are the following:

  • Windows LiveID will be used to sync data services and enter the Marketplace, much like the current setup, so no real changes there
  • Carrier and OS upgrades will be handled, approved and distributed only by Microsoft via Over-the-Air (OTA) and/or Zune sync (desktop)
  • No changes to the home screen are allowed by OEMs or carriers (not news) but either can customize certain tiles, ring tones and wallpapers
  • Carriers can include their own software but with very strict requirements including being limited to six applications (at a total 60MB storage), no trial-ware (hurray!) and all apps must be approved by Microsoft
  • There is support for external storage cards, though it remains to be seen if they will be initially allowed on devices
  • Microsoft will supply the 2D graphics and DirectX 10-based Direct3D 11 runtimes (good); OEMs will develop and distribute the drivers for both the 2D and 3D graphics (bad?)
  • Support for Bluetooth 2.1 but not 3.0 (yet)
  • 480x320 support, though not fully endorsed? May be good for front-qwerty...

Other details related to the memory architecture, which is more or less interesting for programmers and the tech savy.  In short, it's a 32-bit OS with a dual layer architecture. The kernel and application processes are allowed 2GB of memory each and programs are allowed 1GB of virtual memory (up from a measly 32MB in WM6.x). The file systems are based IMGFS for system files, and TexFAT (opens in new tab) for user files, with the later being " suited for non-removable media, such as NAND and NOR flash memory".

Overall the news is a bit mixed, though we're a bit happy Microsoft is putting the handcuffs on carriers, especially regarding the addition of their own software/services and blocking the addition of trial-ware. Likewise for ROM updates, which will now be centralized. However, we're a bit worried about the 2D/3D driver situation as that has been a problem in the past.

What say you? Read the original article here (Google Translated).

[via SlashGear]

Phil is the father of two beautiful girls and is the Dad behind Modern Dad. Before that he spent seven years at the helm of Android Central. Before that he spent a decade in a newsroom of a two-time Pulitzer Prize-finalist newspaper. Before that — well, we don't talk much about those days. Subscribe to the Modern Dad newsletter!

  • "No changes to the home screen are allowed by OEMs or carriers." Hello HTC made Android device with Sense.
  • Welcome to Microsoft's Velvet Prison. I think MS is locking down WP7 to a greater level than "Apple's grip on the iPhone". Microsoft's WP7 platform is definitely more proprietary than Apple's. Example, Apple uses OpenGL ES, while WP7 uses DirectX that nobody else uses. Apple's Safari browser is based on WebKit and is standards compliant, whereas WP7 has only IE Mobile, which is based on IE7 (not very standards compliant). Both companies will demand pre-approval of all apps. WP7's Bing Button is locked, and can't be changed to any other search engine. Microsoft's "Genuine Windows Phone certificate" is a deliberate attempt to stop people from cooking ROMs. I'm mourning the loss of the more open platform that Windows Mobile once was. I don't want a locked iPhone copy.
  • What do you mean by "Genuine Windows Phone certificate"? Looks like I'll be seeing you on the Android side :)
  • I don't like google's prison either. I'll be going to WebOS if they ever put it on decent hardware... Or living with the HD2 the rest of my life lol
  • assuming that you root, what makes webos more open? and doesnt webOS have crappy selection for a market while androids seems to be doubling every few months?
  • How did only Paul Thurrout notice this. The OS checks to see if the hardware phone is "Genuine". Freaking DRM. Looks like one more hurdle XDA will need to overcome. HD2 upgrade via XDA will be a constant back and forth between hackers and Microsoft.
  • Windows Mobile 7 will fall because Android has phones running their software equipped some cruicial hardware and constantly evolving. Apple has the next gen Iphone 4.0 coming out real soon. Meanwhile Microsoft is just talking about what Windows Phone 7 is going to do with no release of a WP7 phone yet. A word to Microsoft "Don't talk about it! Just be about it!"
  • please - be sure to throw out more baby with the bathwater! let's not forget: more memory space to work in, ota updates, and carriers limited to what they stuff in. funny - my car uses the same gas, has an accelerator, clutch and brake pedal in the same place just like everyone else's, but my car is so different than all the others. so, on the surface, the msft imposed restrictions may seem limiting, and yet i'm pretty sure vendors like htc, samsung and lg will find many ways to differentiate devices, just like ford, mazda and fiat... things will be different. some things will be lost. other things will be gained. it is entirely natural to be attached to the things we know. it's harder to know how attached we might become to the things we don't yet know.
  • The features seems impressive but its not more convincing because this phone uses IE7 as browser and Bing as a default search engine which can't be changed.Hope they will improve then I can think of buying it.
  • You can change the search provider in the browser, but carriers can't change the search button. You can have google as the default in IE for example but hitting the search button will use bing regardless.
  • In Windows Phone 7, the user is also not permitted to change the hard-wired search button from Bing to something else. You also can't change your web browser from IE to anything else. MS has made sure there will be no other browsers on the platform.
  • Really? Show me where Microsoft has said that's WP7 will be IE or nothing?
  • There is no evidence that Microsoft won't let other web browsers on the device. They'll just have to pass testing like every other 3rd party software. Apple just approved Opera Mini, I find it difficult to believe that MS won't allow the same for WP7. Regardless, MS has not stated anywhere that it's IE or nothing.
  • It seems to be IE or nothing. Microsoft won't allow other browser vendors the access they need to native code. Even though it wrote its own IE using native code. Read through the stories about why Mozilla abandoned WP7.
  • Skyfire and Opera Mini don't NEED native code access. The rendering is done on the server side, so no writing of a browser engine. They can make the client side in C# just fine and it'll run just fine. Not so hard to do.
  • 1 gigabyte of virtual memory! That is awesome. I always wondered why we couldn't allocate virtual memory to a flash card similar to the desktop os virtual memory. I guess winmo 6.x did, but it's puny. That's a lot of apps open that will be able to stay open/suspended. Once they unlock multitasking we should be able to have a mess of apps open. Would be even better if we had a slider allowing us to choose how much to allocate and go beyond a gig.
  • So when does the Windows 7 Phone officially come out?
  • This is an interesting post to read about the Windows phone 7 architecture.It is good that it supports external storage cards.Some of this information about memory is new for me.
  • Microsoft Windows Genuine Phone Evidence" is a deliberate attempt to prevent people loss of more open platform, Windows Mobile was once. I do not want a copy unlocked iPhone.
  • It's a 32-bit OS with a dual layer architecture. The kernel and application processes are allowed 2GB of memory each and programs are allowed 1GB of virtual memory . The file systems are based IMGFS for system files, and TexFAT for user files, with the later being "best suited for non-removable media, such as NAND and NOR flash memory".