Windows Phone Tango: what you need to know

Windows Phone Tango: what you need to know
Ok let's go, Tango

After the major update of the Windows Phone operating system last year in the form of Mango, it looks like Microsoft is readying the next instalment of its mobile OS.

Where as Mango brought radical change, Tango is expected to be a minor update, filling the gap until the next major version rumoured to be Apollo later this year.

So can you expect the Tango update to be "of Latin-American origin, danced by couples, and having many varied steps, figures, and poses"? Well, it's not a dance routine, so no – but we've handily put together what could be expected below if you prefer your Latin beats locked into phones.

Update: According to Microsoft's Windows Phone Business Group Lead in Italy Stefania Duico said the Tango update will be officially known as Windows Phone 7.5 Refresh.

Windows Phone Tango release date

As the rumour mill hots up with MWC 2012 gossip it's looking ever more likely that Microsoft will unveil its latest update to the Windows Phone operating system in Barcelona.

With a late February announcement we would expect to see the first Tango touting handset hit the selves in April/May - especially as a Q2 launch was confirmed in a leaked document by Nokia.

Windows Phone Tango minimum specs

There is little detail on what the minimum spec requirements would be for a handset to run Windows Phone Tango, but seeing as it looks set to land in the budget market we can expect it will support single-core processors with less than 1GB RAM - and possibly as low as 256MB.

Expect Tango phones to run lower screen resolutions and entry-level cameras, with some possibly not even featuring cameras at all.

Windows Phone Tango features

A signal of Microsoft's intentions to push Windows Phone Tango out to developing countries is the report that the latest iteration will support 120 different languages.

This is a dramatic step-up from Mango which supports 35 and also way ahead of rivals with iOS providing support for 34 and Android 55 languages.

We've also heard that the Skype app will be appearing on Windows Phone soon and Tango could signal the integration of Skype and the likes of Google + into the messaging functions.

There has been lots of rumours that NFC support will hit Windows Phone with the Apollo update in late 2012, but there is an outside chance we could see it included in Tango – as rivals look set to embrace the tech in their mobile devices this year.

Update: A series of Windows Phone Tango screenshots have leaked onto a Russian website which suggest the update will support new features such as sharing video and audio files via MMS attachments.

It looks like it will also inclused a voice recording app, more data roaming options and the ability to import/export contacts to/from the SIM card.

Update: A Windows Phone Tango ROM has leaked out, revealing that the latest update to the Windows Phone mobile OS may allow eight apps to run in the memory when multi-tasking - an improvement on the five it currently allows.

Windows Phone Tango new models

An operating system is nothing if there is no hardware for it to run on, so let's take a look at the handsets which may be championing Tango straight out the gates.

The Nokia Lumia 610 is highly tipped to be announced along side Windows Phone Tango at MWC 2012 in Barcelona as one of the first phones to run the latest OS.

This budget handset looks set to be PayG only - with a bargain bucket price tag and specs to match. It could even land at sub-£100 which would certainly spark some concern among other budget phone manufactures and may lead to a favourable price drop for consumers.

There are murmurs surrounding the Nokia Champagne which appeared in the 'I'm a WP7!' app back in October last year.

There are no details on the Champagne and it could well be the development name for the Lumia 610 or a network-specific version of the Lumia 800 – never-the-less we will be keeping track of this boozy proposition.

Windows Phone Tango price

According to long-time Microsoft commentator Mary-Jo Foley Tango will be aimed at the budget handset market and according to one source "all about Nokia".

Therefore we expect to see phones packing Tango fall into the cheap-as-chips category – although there may be few devices which make it to the UK as it has been suggested that Tango "may be focused largely on the Asian market".

We're anxiously awaiting to see which version of the OS the Nokia Lumia 610 is running - although a sub-£100 price tag hints at Tango, we're wondering if it will manage to use that OS given it will only have been announced a month or two previously.

More information will undoubtedly leak out in the lead up to the announcement and we'll keep this page updated with all the latest news regarding Windows Phone Tango.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.