Detangling the Windows Phone Tango talk

Detangling the Windows Phone Tango talk

Summary: There is a new report about features and markets that will be the target of Microsoft's Windows Phone Tango, the successor to Mango. Here's my take.


Even though the Windows Phone Mango operating system is still not in consumers' hands or phones, talk has turned to the next version of the OS, codenamed "Tango."

I blogged earlier this month about what I was hearing from my sources about Tango. In short, my contacts said that Tango would be a minor release (or two) that would target lower-cost phones and be geared, in particular, to address the Asian market. I heard that Nokia would be heavily involved in Tango -- not surprising, given Nokia's focus on broadening the smartphone market to include current feature phone users. Tango would hit some time before Apollo, the Windows Phone 8 release, my contacts said. (Apollo, last I heard, is due in late 2012.)

This week, a report about Tango originating from the "We Love Windows Phone" site in Hong Kong -- which I saw via The Next Web -- echoed this same information. The original site claimed to have attended an MSDN Hong Kong seminar about the next generation in development where this information allegedly was disclosed.

The translated version of the Hong Kong site's Tango information:

1. Tango is not a major update. 2. Tango Mango will be included as one of the updates. 3. Apollo will be the next major update. 4. Tango primarily for and developing countries such as China, India and other markets use, these are ignored in the market to have more exposure to Bing services. 5. Manufacturers of these developing countries will launch a cheap version of Tango preloaded Windows Phone.

The "Tango Mango" bit is definitely confusing. But I think I can help detangle it a bit, based on some additional Tango information I've gleaned from my contacts.

I've heard there are, indeed, two Tango releases on tap. One of these is simply a minor update to Mango. (I'm betting this is the "Tango Mango" reference above.) This minor update, Tango1, is the release aimed at expanding the Windows Phone footprint into new markets that are not going to be addressed right off the bat by Mango.

Windows Phone 7s currently support English (US and UK), French, German, Italian, and Spanish. The Mango release is adding support for 17 more languages: Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian (Bokmål), Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Swedish. So Tango1 will likely add support for additional languages beyond this group.

Tango2, my tipsters say, is the version that will be targeted at low-cost devices and include fixes and new features, as well as services and language support for markets that still won't have been addressed after the Tango1 release.

Is Tango1 a 2011 deliverable? Early 2012? I have no information on dates yet. (Anyone else?)

One more thing: I've seen some Microsoft watchers speculating that Tango will result in a fragmented Windows Phone market because it will offer users a stripped-down feature set. I don't believe this necessarily will be the case. Lower cost devices in this case will still be smartphones -- not feature phones -- I believe. Remember: Microsoft's original Windows Phone plan called for the company winning over feature phone users to smartphones for growth.

I've asked Microsoft for comment on the latest Tango report, but am thinking it's unlikely there will be anything beyond a no comment. In any case, I'll update if and when I hear back....

Meanwhile, what else are you hearing/wishing for with Windows Phone Tango?


1. As anticipated, Microsoft is not willing to talk Tango. A spokesperson sent me the following response to my query: "There is a lot to be excited about and we look forward to sharing more information soon.”

2. The MSDN seminar in Hong Kong cited by the original source of this week's Tango information looks legit. Here's a link to it.

3. I'm wondering if Tango1 is already part of Mango (or will be added seamlessly to Mango as phones roll out this year. When I used Bing Translator on the original post, instead of "Tango Mango," I got "Tango will include Mango, one of the update."  Hmmm.

Topics: Operating Systems, Microsoft, Mobility, Software, Telcos, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • RE: Detangling the Windows Phone Tango talk

    Please no stripped down operating system. This will create a bad experience for users. Adding features is fine stripping down the operating system not so much.
  • RE: Detangling the Windows Phone Tango talk

    Tango2 == Kin revisited? Just wondering
    • RE: Detangling the Windows Phone Tango talk


      Enough with the Kin. This OS is NOTHING like the kin. So if Tango is a minor update, how in the world will it change from it's awesome current state of Mango, to a major change to a Kin?
      • RE: Detangling the Windows Phone Tango talk

        @mikroland2.0 <br><br>I was posing a question due to the way MJF stated it's target in the first part of her sentence: "Tango2, my tipsters say, is the version that will be targeted at low-cost devices..."<br><br>Also I had the opportunity to play with KIN devices and they weren't bad, just tanked in the court of tech public opinion and so failed to make an impact. The devices themselves are still good hardware and the version of the firmware that was under development when the project was cancelled would have been a major improvement with lots of new functionality (but no app store).<br><br>For the record, I have a WP7 device (which I like a whole lot more than any of the other devices on the market) and my spouse has an iPhone. You do the math.
      • As always...

        @mikroland2.0 : Windows Phone 7 fans always talk about the "awesomeness" of their OS, which is misunderstood by the "mere mortals".

        Whenever I read about WP7 I get a feeling that it's the 21th century version of BeOS and OS/2. I can imagine that in 2021, some people will still yearn about the "hidden virtues" of WP7 just like Ford Edsel customers or Nash Metropolitan buyers. People who will blame the "market" for not being ready for their "masterpiece".

        Please grow up, and measure the product for what it is (limited hardware, lack of features, etc), not what it promises (great UI, impressive effects, darn good development environment).

        Just for a tip, here's a quote from Wikipedia comparing Windows to Quarterdeck's DESQview:

        <i>"Microsoft released Microsoft Windows version 3.0 with its own memory management and multitasking features. While DESQview was far faster, smaller, and more stable, it was more expensive and didn't include support for the graphical features of MS Windows."</i>
  • RE: Detangling the Windows Phone Tango talk

    I assume that this will be the introduction of Windows Phone 7 with 320x480 screens that is supposed to come in the future.
  • I can't wait for my contract on my WP7 to expire - this OS is

    really nice, and I can't wait to see what's in store for future realeses, especially on Nokia hardware.
    William Farrell
    • RE: Detangling the Windows Phone Tango talk

      @William Farrell
      Agreed... I'm loving my HTC Trophy running Mango but I bought it MSRP as I am saving my contract for the first Nokia phones :) I hope they come this year or at least early next year :D
      • RE: Detangling the Windows Phone Tango talk

        @audidiablo Just wondering. a touch to old phone ?
    • RE: Detangling the Windows Phone Tango talk

      @William Farrell

      Waiting to dump my Droid (un)incredible for a WP7 hopefully on Verizon or I may just change carriers to get what I want. Ideally a Nokia with LTE would be great but I also like the HTC Arrive or Samsung Focus for the most part.

      Droid -- most overated phones out there.
      • Wha'd you say Willis?


        "un-incredible" is a double negative.

        What does that make your Droid? Credible?
      • RE: Detangling the Windows Phone Tango talk

        when did the In in incredible become a negative? :P
        Michael Alan Goff
    • RE: Detangling the Windows Phone Tango talk

      @William Farrell
  • RE: Detangling the Windows Phone Tango talk

    Perhaps HP showed how to create a footprint for an OS? :-)
  • RE: Detangling the Windows Phone Tango talk

    Looking at the world through USA-tinted glasses is not particularly helpful. The truth is that the 2G mobile phone experience in the USA was soooooo bad that when 3G came along Americans went gaga. In the rest of the world that wasn't the case. GSM provided a good user experience and internet access through 2.5G. Meanwhile in America you still had to pay for incoming phonecalls. America fell very far behind the rest of the world in mobile.

    3G simply isn't selling that well outside the USA and parts of Europe. In China there are 'only' 75 million 3G accounts and about half of these are 3G dongles for laptops. This is not great. Maybe 40 million 3G phone users out of 950 million - and that's after 3 years of marketing. Fail.

    In places like China people are quite happy with the 2.5G experience. Asians are not News Junkies like Westerners and they sneer at 'social networking'. So why would they need a 3G phone? What is their killer app? It certainly isn't the browser or the internet. The killer app is price. And the only way to get the price of a 3G handset low enough so the other 900 million Chinese buy them is to make them cheap enough.

    900 million potential customers in one country alone is a price worth paying for fragmentation.
    Major Plonquer
  • It's a one percent phone OS

    One percent. Not enough to get interested about. Fringe.
  • RE: Detangling the Windows Phone Tango talk

    Way to go, another Window Phone 7 article that imparts no factual information, just a lot of suppositions on what might be legitimate information but can't be confirmed. If Tango is part of Mango then that means it is already in manufacturers hands as that is where Mango is now. From this article I can't tell what Tango is, is it a language or region package or is it a new iteration of WP7 meant to run on entry level equipment. It's obvious it isn't a major update or even relevant to North America, after Mango is released to the public I doubt there will any more releases except for minor bug fixes until Apollo is released next year.
    • RE: Detangling the Windows Phone Tango talk

      @Rndmacts sounds like Tango is the overall package with language support in it, and that package includes Mango. That's what I read from it.
  • RE: Detangling the Windows Phone Tango talk

    The difference between the other O/S's out there and Windows Phone 7 is the ease of use for everyday users. That will resonate.

    Remember, it took Android quite a while to grow in popularity. And it took XBOX 360 a long while to become number 1.

    Everyone thinking that their iOS or Android phone is great, just go to a store and really compare the two experiences. I believe quite a few of you will end up switching eventually.

    Enjoy Windows Phone Mango!
  • RE: Detangling the Windows Phone Tango talk

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