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Microsoft: Windows Phone is an operating system for low-end hardware at heart

Posted: , by Luis D.

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Microsoft: Windows Phone is an operating system for low-end hardware at heart

Microsoft made an interesting off-stage admission at the Build 2014 - Windows Phone is an operating system for low-end hardware at heart. Developers working on the platform are required to develop on the most limited hardware available, and make sure Windows Phone works perfectly on it, before bringing it to faster phones. Fast chips and big screens are good fun, but they are merely testing tools.


Microsoft explains that this approach makes it easier to bring quality performance to all hardware ranges, instead of the other way around - building the OS without being conservative, and down-scaling it to fit weaker devices later. This “build for low, optimize for high mentality” could explain why the cheap Lumia 520 is such a capable little performer considering its modest specs. 


Meanwhile, its Windows Phone 8.1-running successor, the Lumia 630, is expected to be just as zippy, without having the advantage of significant hardware upgrades – its chip is faster, but it's coupled with the same 512MB RAM, for example. Moreover, this approach will let Microsoft bring a well-optimized Windows Phone 8.1 across all WP8-based Lumia smartphones, which is very fair to the customer and helps avoid fragmentation.


Of course, it's not only sensible development that helps Windows Phone behave equally for everyone. Not unlike Apple, Microsoft restricts its hardware partners to very specific hardware configurations, and optimizes its operating system for them. It's easier to get the best possible performance out of devices if you know what to expect from them.


source: Neowin via WMPowerUser

34 Comments
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posted on 08 Apr 2014, 06:00 14

1. gabrielvoica (Posts: 52; Member since: 05 Mar 2013)


very good and intelligent way of doing things..

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 09:22

16. AppleHateBoy (unregistered)


This is no excuse for putting crappy hardware in low end phones.

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 09:48 8

17. Martin_Cooper (Posts: 375; Member since: 30 Jul 2013)


Its a great excuse since you can buy a super cheap WP8.1 phone that runs smoothly and reliably, Cant say the same for android beside one and only exception of Moto G.

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 09:49 1

18. sgodsell (Posts: 908; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)


Then everyone may as well go with the low end hardware. Save their money and get the cheap WP devices, since you get the exact same experience comparable to the high end devices. WP doesn't even offer multi window support.

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 11:17 1

22. elitewolverine (Posts: 1200; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)


Yes because app devs for droid target the highest specs that even the s4 cannot match.

No devs tackle medium hardware so everyone can enjoy. The idea translates from pc's to phones to to to to everything....

The only thing is that MS has made sure that their software runs great on all devices. An OS that runs great on a 520, will smash awesome style on 1520 hardware or icon hardware....

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 15:06 1

26. downphoenix (Posts: 2269; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


Not exactly. High end hardware will be better and bigger screens, better cameras, better hardware for running graphic intensive apps and games, etc. Microsoft is kind of doing an Apple approach with how Apple does their Mac line, a good/better/best type setup.

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 10:19

20. RobotMan (Posts: 124; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)


No, it is the only way for Microsoft to charge the OS but the phone price will be the same as better hardware on android.

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 06:08 8

2. express77 (unregistered)


but remember, restrictions are not the features for low end hardware at heart.

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 08:23

14. elitewolverine (Posts: 1200; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)


It is not a restriction, basically it states, go ahead and do a awesome job for 1520 hardware, but before you do, build a 520 version. Most companies that are not million dollar tend to go low end anyway.

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 06:09 5

3. dexter_jdr (Posts: 1095; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


this is a great method.

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 06:31 3

4. microsoftnokiawin (Posts: 881; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


yeah but at the end of the day if the phone has ram limitations and if you have one of them you're phone is pretty much useless !

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 06:33 10

5. aayupanday (Posts: 464; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


Lumia 525 has 1GB RAM whereas the 630 has only 512MB...
That's clumsy.

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 06:43 4

6. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 2381; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


This is Brilliant idea, "build for low, optimize for high mentality". This is simply what we call OS optimization. But I hope they don't limit with features.

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 07:02 4

7. Liveitup (Posts: 913; Member since: 07 Jan 2014)


Common sense approach.

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 07:03 4

8. papss (unregistered)


This was common knowledge as far as I'm concerned. M$ is a coding machine unlike some other software giant.

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 07:13

9. shuaibhere (Posts: 1297; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)


What are you coming to say???

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 07:47 5

12. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Is this the same MS that basically had to do another reboot of their OS after the reboot from Win Mo to WP? In less than 3 years?

After seeing what everyone else was doing while Win Mo was still their only platform?

Yea...they are a coding machine. :/

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 01:04 1

30. wolfsaviorzx (unregistered)


Market demands changed. Microsoft thought people wanted pocket PCs, Iphone came along and made a whole new interface. Personally don't like how touch ui and controls as it's taken time away from Desktop development. Coding and Vision are different things, you can make a really good aplication for analying rocks but doesn't mean anyone needs/wants to use it. Apple also is good coding just wish they let other hardware companies use their Operating systems (don't want to pay the Apple Tax for overpriced phones/computers).

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 07:16

31. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


I agree with your entire post.

My thing is...MS waited too long to try to answer the iPhone...and when they finally did....the initial answer got scrapped within 3 years for another answer.

MS was on the right track with the HTC HD2. When WP first came out...it was the answer....but something about the inner working of the OS had to be scrapped and basically started over.

How can you go from the HD2 to WP 7.....to doing another reboot to WP8? Them and BB were late to the smartphone jumpstart...and somehow werent ready. Granted most of their problems might just be history and folks remembering their last attempts. But MS doing another reboot of the reboot looks kinda like they still werent ready.

Kudos to them for realizing and being more ready this time that quick....I shoulda mentioned that in my first post. Some companies might have just tried to ride it out longer. I just dont think they can afford another WP 7 to WP 8 scenario.

Like the article mentioned...they already do kinda like Apple and have strict hardware requirements. I feel they shoulda been more than ready when WP 7 launched.

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 16:06

34. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


And its wild I left out Palm....its almost like they didnt exist....amazing how the smartphone market has changed after the iPhone came out.

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 07:35 3

10. alterecho (Posts: 1059; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)


"Windows Phone is an operating system for low-end hardware at heart."
Considering its lack of features, Its not supposed to be on high end devices.

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 12:16

24. childishkush (Posts: 2; Member since: 08 Apr 2014)


What features is windows phone lacking?

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 15:57

33. rodneyej1 (Posts: 3277; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)


A file manager would be nice, and greater control over volume...
..................................
Other than that WP8.1Cyan is perfection!

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 12:40 3

25. znellu (Posts: 67; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)


Will you ever stop complaining, dude? :|

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 15:54

32. rodneyej1 (Posts: 3277; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)


Lol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!​!!!!!!!!
Phone arena haters always at their best.

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 07:45 1

11. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


That is smart. Google finally went that direction with Kit Kat. Supposedly.

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 07:51 1

13. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


"Not unlike Apple, Microsoft restricts its hardware partners to very specific hardware configurations, and optimizes its operating system for them. It's easier to get the best possible performance out of devices if you know what to expect from them."

Yea...that also helps alot too...

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 08:41 2

15. chocowii (Posts: 327; Member since: 30 Jan 2014)


Lets see how far WP8 can go on my Lumia 720. Camera is great but it only has 512MB of RAM. From 8.0 to Amber to Black, and now Cyan. My money is worth it. Its just a bonus if it can get updates past 8.1. I like that MS mandates its recommended hardware on their OEMs to achieve optimal OS functions. But not on Android. Android OEMs creates chimeras of hardware which creates numerous bugs and unsatisfactory end-user support.
You cant get that midrange phone support from Android, based on my experience on Xperia Sola. It only get one major update from GB to ICS.

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 10:16 3

19. NokiaFTW (Posts: 1730; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


Google boasted about how greatly optimized Android 4.4 is for low end hardware and 512 MB of RAM. However, we're yet to see a device with that much RAM & Android KitKat to be released to the public. Meanwhile, Nokia creates a WP with 512 MB of RAM, which performs on par with quad-core Android beasts and sells like hotcakes. And yet these ignorant fandroids are hating on this article.

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 11:09

21. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Here you go:

http://www.talkandroid.com/200261-samsung-to-offer-low-end-smartphone-running-kitkat/

We all are about to find out soon. Although..I dont really like Samsung phones.

Thing about this phone is its using low end almost everywhere...not just ram but the chipset too.

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 12:15

23. childishkush (Posts: 2; Member since: 08 Apr 2014)


dude i know!!!

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 17:53

27. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


And I forgot...the Nokia X has 512MB Ram...

So there will be a few examples of Android running on 512MB ram soon.

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 19:27

28. kaikuheadhunterz (Posts: 686; Member since: 18 Jul 2013)


So all developers must somehow get a phone with an nHD screen, Snapdragon 200, and 512MB of RAM for testing apps?

posted on 08 Apr 2014, 20:14

29. garyII (Posts: 160; Member since: 26 Feb 2014)


i am in my opinion that the design of Lumia 520 is better than the 630, except the on screen button...

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