While Microsoft isn't holding its own press conference at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the company has made a major announcements anyway. While it has neither unveiled a date for its Tango update nor its expected Apollo upgrade, Microsoft unveiled plans to bring its Windows Phone smartphones to new countries by expanding hardware and language support. A new line of low-cost phones, which use cheaper "system-on-a-chip" processers and reduced memory, will bring a high-end smartphone experience to more affordable devices - while still running nearly all the applications available in the Windows Phone Marketplace.
Microsoft's support for a new series of lower-cost hardware opens the door to new markets worldwide such as China. The company recently enabled Windows Phone Marketplace in Argentina, Indonesia, Malaysia, Peru and the Philippines, and in the coming week will bring it to 23 additional countries: Bahrain, Bulgaria, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Iceland, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, Ukraine, Venezuela and Vietnam.
The Windows Phone engineering team worked hard to deliver a great experience on these low-cost phones. Nearly all of the current apps in the Marketplace will work on these new phones, Microsoft said. Those apps that do need more power will be flagged in the Marketplace so a user with one of the lower-cost phones with less memory won't unknowingly download an app that won't run well.
By bringing existing Windows Phones into new markets, and supporting a wider range of price points, Microsoft is increasing the addressable Windows Phone audience by 60 percent.
Cheers ~ Arne