In a recent blog post, Microsoft detailed how they are going to bring the Windows Phone 7 platform to 60% more consumers. This is great news for developers on the platform looking to sell their apps to additional markets on the planet.
The aim of this goal is to include other price sensitive markets that would respond better to a lower priced Windows Phone 7 handset. In order for manufacturers to sell hardware at a lower price they will need to sacrifice components.
To remedy this and keep to Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 hardware guidelines, Microsoft has made a change to the minimum requirements that would drop the required memory on the device from 512MB to 256MB and allow for the use of more affordable processors.
I think it is great that Microsoft is trying to make their device available to a larger market, but I think that they will suffer for it because the experience will start to lag compared to the devices using Microsoft's original recommendations.
I thought Microsoft's goal was to create a a user experience that is the same across all devices, not fragment it. Apple has taught us that it works.
The whole reason we are going over the history of Windows Phone 7 and this example is that Microsoft is following the same approach with Windows 8 in that hardware manufacturers must meet a set of requirements for them to use the operating system in the tablet form factor.
I fear that pressure from OEMs looking to compete with Apple and Amazon's prices will force Microsoft to reduce hardware requirements for the benefit of cheaper components.
In the end I feel that moving in that direction will do more harm to the platform than help it. What are you thoughts? Do you think Microsoft should be strict with hardware requirements for Windows 8? Or should they allow OEM's to use the software as they wish a la Android? Share your thoughts below.