Microsoft recently announced that it’s easing its hardware restrictions for Windows Phone devices, allowing phone makers to load Windows Phone 7 software on devices with slower processors and less memory.

That could get Windows Phone software into more people’s hands… but some apps designed for more powerful phones may not run properly on the new cheaper handsets such as the upcoming Nokia Lumia 610 and ZTE Orbit.

Nokia Lumia 610

These new phones may have as little as 256MB of RAM and use Qualcomm 7×27 processors.

This week Microsoft released some guidelines for app developers to make sure that their software works well on these devices.

In a nutshell, you don’t want your app to use more than 90MB of memory on a device that has just 256MB. Microsoft also recommends adding a splash screen which will display when an app is loading, as it offsets some of the work to the core operating system and doesn’t require the app to draw anything on the screen until it’s already up and running.

While Microsoft is letting app developers know what they can do to optimize software to run on phones with less memory, there’s always a chance that some developers may not make any changes at all — which means that some apps that run well on current phones won’t run properly (or possibly at all) on the Lumia 610 and similar devices.

The folks at LiveSide also spotted some changes at the Windows Phone How-to website which shows some of the other features that will be missing from the new, cheaper phones, including:

  • Support for video podcasts
  • Ability to manage podcast subscriptions
  • Local Scout
  • Fast App Switching
  • Automatic photo uploads to SkyDrive
  • HD video playback
  • Background agents

In other words, if you really want a Windows Phone device you should probably spend a few bucks on a more capable device. On the other hand, if you’re just looking for a cheap smartphone, there are some older Android handsets that are practically free when you sign up for a new contract.

via The Verge

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...