Microsoft planning to announce new Windows Phone 7 hardware requirements at MWC

File this under the rumor tag but I’m hearing that Microsoft is about to announce new hardware requirements (Chassis specifications) for Windows Phone 7 next Monday in Barcelona during Mobile World Congress. I unfortunately don’t have any details on the changes to come but you may remember that Paul Thurrot claimed that NoDo will integrate support for Qualcomm’s MSM7X30 SoCs (the company’s current mid-range smartphone offering). If this is the only change then it would be really disappointing given that the only major difference between this SoC and the QSD8250 found in the current Windows Phone 7 handsets is the Adreno 205 GPU. But I don’t think that this alone would warrant a chassis change (both SoCs fit into the Chassis 1 specifications). We can probably expect things like Gyroscope support or even Front Facing camera but as of right now this is all speculation.

With the competition now coming out with devices powered by nVidia’s Tegra 2 SoCs or Qualcomm latest MSM8x55/8X60 (yesterday HP unveiled the Palm Pre3 with a higher clocked 1.4ghz 8255 and the TouchPad with the dual-core MSM8260 variant named APQ8060 which packs the Adreno 220 GPU) Microsoft will probably have no choice but to align itself with the competition because OEMs building Android handsets are the same ones that are building Windows Phone 7 devices and it would be easier/cheaper for them if both platforms had basically the same HW requirements. The other question that has yet to be answered is if Microsoft will decide to open its SoC certification to other chipset makers like Texas Instruments or Samsung but this probably wouldn’t be a good idea if the Redmond guys want to have a consistent non fragmented hardware ecosystem.

Last but not least; as I said last night, if the Nokia Windows Phone 7 rumors turn out to be true will Microsoft design a specific chassis just for them? Is this what is going to be announced? Anyway, we will have to wait until Monday to finally know what is really going on, but one thing is for sure; Microsoft apparently has some new Windows Phone 7 hardware requirements to unveil next week.