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

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

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34 Comments

1. gabrielvoica

Posts: 67; Member since: Mar 05, 2013

very good and intelligent way of doing things..

16. AppleHateBoy unregistered

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

17. Martin_Cooper

Posts: 1774; Member since: Jul 30, 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.

18. sgodsell

Posts: 6895; Member since: Mar 16, 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.

22. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 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....

26. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 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.

20. RobotMan

Posts: 145; Member since: Apr 13, 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.

2. express77 unregistered

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

14. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 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.

3. dexter_jdr

Posts: 1163; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

this is a great method.

4. microsoftnokiawin

Posts: 1268; Member since: Mar 30, 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 !

5. aayupanday

Posts: 582; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

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

6. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 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.

7. Liveitup

Posts: 1798; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

Common sense approach.

8. papss unregistered

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

9. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

What are you coming to say???

12. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 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. :/

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).

31. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 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.

34. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 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.

10. alterecho

Posts: 1106; Member since: Feb 23, 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.

24. childishkush

Posts: 2; Member since: Apr 08, 2014

What features is windows phone lacking?

33. rodneyej1

Posts: 3576; Member since: Jul 06, 2013

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

25. znellu

Posts: 82; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

Will you ever stop complaining, dude? :|

32. rodneyej1

Posts: 3576; Member since: Jul 06, 2013

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

11. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

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

13. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 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...

15. chocowii

Posts: 478; Member since: Jan 30, 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.

19. NokiaFTW

Posts: 2072; Member since: Oct 24, 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.

21. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 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.

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