Microsoft: HD video playback, fast app switching disabled on low-cost Windows Phones

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) provided further details on its new, low-cost version of Windows Phone. The company said the platform won't support fast app switching or HD video playback--stipulations the company said were necessary for a smooth user experience.

Nokia 610

Microsoft's software, announced last week at the Mobile World Congress trade show, is aimed at expanding the addressable market of Windows Phone, especially in emerging markets. The software, which has been dubbed "Tango," will be available in April and can support devices with 256 MB of RAM, allowing the likes of Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and other OEMs to build cheaper products. So far Nokia's Lumia 610 and ZTE's Orbit run the software.

"The guidance for optimizing for lower cost Windows Phones is largely the same as for optimizing for today's generation of devices," Microsoft's Mike Battista wrote in a company blog post. "Apps that follow performance best practices today will run well across all devices without much effort. Apps that perform adequately today may perform noticeably slower on lower-cost devices."

Microsoft offered a few tips about the platform:

--Apps should not exceed 90 MB of memory usage on 256 MB devices.
--HD video playback will not be enabled, since devices with 256 MB of RAM will not be able to play video compressed with specific codecs.
--Fast application switching, introduced in Windows Phone "Mango," will not be enabled.

    Despite some of the limitations, Microsoft has added improved MMS functionality, better SIM contact management and other features that will be making their way to the 256 MB devices.

    Meanwhile, according to the blog Engadget, the Lumia 610 passed through device certification at the FCC, and indications are that AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) might be in line to launch the device. 

    For more:
    - see this Microsoft blog post
    - see this Microsoft site
    - see this Liveside post 
    - see this The Verge article
    - see this Engadget post

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    Nokia unveils Lumia 610, expands potential Windows Phone market
    Rumor Mill: Nokia to unveil cheaper Windows Phone at MWC
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