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Microsoft Reveals Windows Phone Tango Limitations for Devices With Just 256MB of RAM

ZTE Orbit

Following the unveiling of its Windows Phone “Tango” operating system at Mobile World Congress back in February, which is the first of its Windows Phone platforms to support low-memory devices, Microsoft has revealed the limitations that will be placed on devices with just 256MB of RAM.

Some of the limitations are to be expected. For example, low-memory devices won’t be able to handle every application built for Windows Phone, or the fast app switching feature that made its debut in Windows Phone Mango. And this is really no surprise.

Some of the restrictions are slightly puzzling, however, such as the inability to handle podcast subscriptions, or Bing Local Scout.

The full list of limitations, courtesy of The Verge, includes:

  • Windows Phone Marketplace app restrictions – Some processor-intensive apps have specific memory requirements, and will not work on devices with 256MB of RAM.
  • Podcast subscriptions and video podcasts – Devices with 256MB of RAM will not be able to manage podcast subscriptions of watch video podcasts.
  • Bing Local Scout – Microsoft is disabling Bing Local Scout on 256MB of RAM devices.
  • Fast app switching – The fast application switching, introduced with Mango, will be disabled on 256 MB of RAM devices.
  • SkyDrive automatic photo upload – Automatic upload of SkyDrive pictures will not be possible on 256MB of RAM devices, but users can still upload these manually.
  • HD video playback – 256MB of RAM devices won’t be able to play video compressed with certain codecs.
  • Background agents – Microsoft has removed background agents functionality for devices with 256MB of memory.

In addition to these limitations, Microsoft also offered some recommendations to Windows Phone developers who are interested in catering to low-memory devices. The company wants them to consider the removal of background user agents and fast app switching, possibly by reducing the functionality of their apps on these devices. Furthermore, it wants developers to accommodate the lack of RAM by optimizing start times for their apps, and reducing memory usage.

Although Microsoft will be stripping these features away from low-memory devices, it will be adding some new ones that will be supported with just 256MB of RAM, including MMS improvements, and better SIM contact management.

Will these restrictions be enough to deter you from low-memory Windows Phone devices?

[via The Verge]


Killian Bell

Killian Bell is a 20-something technology journalist based in a tiny town in England. He has an obsession with that little company in Cupertino...

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