The version, dubbed "Tango," may be a slimmer version of Windows Phone 7 that includes a number of basic features and services, like Bing search, but does not include all the bells and whistles of the full version, according to a report on a Hong Kong-based blog that tracks the mobile industry.
The blog, WeLoveWP.hk, said that an unnamed Microsoft official confirmed Tango earlier this week during an MSDN seminar in Hong Kong.
Microsoft has not confirmed the report, but such an approach would be consistent with the company's developing markets strategy in other product areas. For instance, Microsoft offers its Windows 7 Home Basic desktop operating system for low-cost PCs in emerging markets that are particularly price sensitive and where piracy is a problem.
A low-cost version of Windows Phone 7 would also help Microsoft take full advantage of partner Nokia's status as the largest supplier of mobile phone handsets outside the United States. Nokia has said it plans to port its entire U.S. product portfolio to Windows Phone 7, but has given mixed signals regarding the fate of its Symbian and MeeGo operating systems in other geographies, including emerging markets.
For the short term, at least, Nokia continues to roll out new Symbian phones. The company on Wednesday introduced the Nokia 700, 701, and 600. The phone maker dubbed those devices its "smallest," "brightest," and "loudest" phones to date, respectively.
All are based on Belle, the latest version of Symbian. Among other things, Belle increases the number of homescreens on Symbian phones from three to six, leaving more room to display apps and services.
In terms of timing, Microsoft would most likely roll out Tango sometime between the debut of Mango, a Windows Phone update that adds more than 500 new features to the platform and is expected to ship later this year, and Apollo, the next major update beyond Mango.
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