Microsoft shares more details on Windows Phone Starter Edition

Microsoft shares more details on Windows Phone Starter Edition

Summary: Neowin first reported over a week ago that Microsoft was planning a Starter version of its mobile operating system. But that news was overshadowed by all the Windows Phone 7 Series hoopla from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Here are a few more details about the product.


Neowin first reported over a week ago that Microsoft was planning a Starter version of its mobile operating system. But that news was overshadowed by all the Windows Phone 7 Series hoopla from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Windows Phone Starter is similar in concept to the original Windows Starter Edition products. Windows XP and Windows Vista Starter were products exclusively tailored for emerging markets. With Windows 7, Microsoft broadened the availability of the Starter Edition to include all countries, with Home Basic becoming the new emerging-market-only SKU. So far, it seems as though Phone Starter is going to be an emerging-market play only and not a low-end platform for users in developed countries.

As Neowin noted, Windows Phone Starter will be available in two versions (one with Office Mobile and one without).

It took a while, but here are some more details about the product, supplied via a Microsoft mobile spokesperson:

Q: Is Mobile Starter available to phone makers via Bsqure only? Or also direct from Microsoft? A: The Windows Phone 6 Starter Edition SKU is available to all direct partners. It is also available via MediaTek and BSquare.

Q: Which version of Office Mobile is part of one of the two Starter SKUs? A: The current version of Office Mobile will ship in Windows Phone 6 Starter Edition. Office Mobile 2010 is currently available in beta form for Windows Phone 6.5. When Office Mobile 2010 ships, it will be made available to OEMs and distributors.

Q: Is this a stripped-down version of Windows Mobile 6.5? What’s not there that’s in the full fledged version? A: The Windows Phone 6 Starter Edition SKU is offered in multi-language versions with and without Microsoft Office Mobile and supports 2G (GSM), 2.5G (CDMA2000 xRTT, EDGE, GPRS), CDMA (Rev A, EV-DO Revision A), and TD-SCDMA radios.

Q: Pricing? A: We do not share pricing information for OEMs

Q: Will there be a Starter SKU for all Windows Mobile OSes going forward? A: We have no announcements to make at this time.

Q: Have any phone makers signed up yet as customers? A: Yes. OEMs will be launching products built on Windows Phone 6 Starter Edition this year.

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

    Great, because we all need Microsoft to splinter yet another product into multiple versions. NOT!
    Sooner or later they will be crushed by their own bureaucratic complexity.
  • Do you have to upgrade to the premium edition to make a call? (nt)

    • LOL! You can only make 3 calls an hour :-) nt

  • Here we go again...

    with all these stupid "editions"! For crying out loud, just sell one version! Geez!
    • You idiots need to calm down...

      You all need to take a chill pill. Obviously there are makers of the phones that WANT this. They wish to sell less expensive versions of smart phones to folks that don't need the ultimate power of a full smart phone.

      More is better. Stop worrying about something that you won't probably buy anyway.
      • Editions are helpful

        I think it is helpful to have different editions. Why would Microsoft Want to confuse home users with Active Directory Domain Join and Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption when they can keep these in a separate edition for business? Diff versions of WinMo allow people to spend less on a phone that will do less, but still meet their needs.
  • MS is MS' worst enemy (other than Google and Apple) [NT]

  • ugh... How many phones will this sell? NONE!

    If manufacturers fall for this, then our corporate
    business economy is in sadder shape than if our
    government was running it. Oh.... yeah, they already are
    with GM (Government Motors), Banks and AT$T Lobbyest
    living in our congress member's back pockets! lol ;)

    But you'd think M$ could do a better job at substidising
    their poor quality Mobile OS than that!
  • Microsoft really start to piss me off with its Starter Edition

    I live in an emerging country and here i don't know even a single person which is interested by Windows Starter Edition. Though people and business would be much more interested at buying legal versions of Windows Home Premium and Business/Pro if the license pricing was reasonnable.
    Assuming Windows Phone 7 is aimed at high end devices, they should optimize Windows Phone Classic (a.k.a Windows Mobile 6.X) for both low end and mid end smartphones and give it for free to efficiently compete against Android. Because if they keep trying to be greedy or inconsistent, Android will kick their a** so hard that they will never recover in the mobile market. And for the record i strongly dislike Google.
  • Wahhh!! Boohoo people

    Microsoft is a business. The choices that the company makes, while maybe not popular on internet complaint boards, are made for business purposes. If you don't like it, don't buy it. It's that simple. If you don't like the way something works, learn more about it and figure out a way to fix it or alternatives. Everyone acts like they're being forced at gunpoint to buy Microsoft products.
  • RE: Microsoft shares more details on Windows Phone Starter Edition

    Hmm...this is a very wordy name for a Phone OS... why doesn't Microsoft just call 6.5 Windows Phone 6 Series... They can use 6 series phones for emerging markets, just like they plan on doing now with starter..
    It would actually be taking a page from Apple's play book. In the same way they have the iPhone 2G, 3G, and 3GS... Microsoft can have Windows Phone 7 Series, and Windows Phone 6 Series.
    Anyway, just my thoughts..
  • Crippleware

    I don't think this is the right time to start crippling
    your product through "editions".
  • Why would developing nations want this crippleware?

    To me it looks to be a smack in the face to developing nations, such as India and China. Why would people in those countries want to put up with such crippleware? Windows Phone Starter Edition is a cut-down version of an already obsolete operating system.

    The OEMs in China and India can get the modern Android OS for free, which uses less processor resources because (unlike Windows Phone) Android is optimized for today's modern processors. Windows Phone on the other hand, hasn't had its kernel (core) updated for 6 years.