Microsoft has just made Tango official today with the launch of an update to the current Windows Phone 7.1.1 SDK to add support to this new platform. Don’t expect anything ground breaking though as Tango is simply here to enable support for lower-end device packing only 256MB of ram like the recently announced Nokia Lumia 610. Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore was also keen to point out that most of the 65000 apps available on the marketplace are compatible with such handsets but that approximately 5% are still not functional. The Redmond software giant is now trying to contact those application developers to get them to update/cod the software so it can run on the new mass market device. The Marketplace has now also open in 23 more countries including; Bahrain, Bulgaria, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Iceland, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, Ukraine, Venezuela and Vietnam.
In addition to the engineering work we’ve done in the OS to optimize for lower cost devices and the release of a new SDK with emulator, we have identified a small number (around 5%) of current applications that will not run properly on the new lower cost devices. We’re contacting the developers of these apps directly to advise them of steps they can take to make their app compatible with lower cost phones. In most cases the guidance is simply to use less memory.
Ultimately, whether your app should be available to these phones or not is your call. We’ve enabled you to update the app manifest file in order to state whether your app does or does not work on lower memory devices. We’ll honor whatever value you choose. If you say no, your app will not be installable on these phones. Those we’ve automatically opted out already have this value set appropriately. If you disagree with us or alter your app to perform adequately on these devices, you can change the value in your application’s manifest file and resubmit your app. Details on this process will be available on App Hub.
The goal here is to have the less amount of fragmentation as possible so Microsoft is currently doing everything possible to get the platform to scale down to cheaper hardware while maintaining compatibility with the ecosystem. This is obviously in stark contrast with what is happening on the Android side of the market where some really super high speced devices are being unveiled for Ice Cream Sandwich. Fear not though, if you are a hardware nut you can expect such Dual-Core Krait or more (Quad-Core) monsters with HD displays to come alongside Windows Phone 8 Apollo later this year.
The Tango update will start rolling out in April 2012 and will be made availalbe to all existing Windows Phone handsets currently running Mango.
Checkout the full announcement blog posts here and here and download the sdk update here.