Windows Phone 7 Mango devices are only just starting to trickle in while existing WP7 devices still wait their turn for the official update. The software giant has already wrapped up all their announcements and updates for this year and now it’s time to focus our attention on the year ahead as we have a big update to look forward to, Windows Phone Apollo.

The next big thing?

The next big thing?

Before Apollo can make an official landing, we still have the rumored ‘Tango’ update, designed specifically for budget WP7 devices. However, Michael Halbherr, Executive VP for Location and Commerce, confirmed with Engadget that Apollo will be “a very different game” compared to Mango, which hints at a possible Windows Phone 8 (WP8) release. He also said it would launch somewhere in mid-2012, which was later proved to be an inaccurate timeline thanks to certain sources close to Microsoft. Other than the codename, there’s practically no shred of information of what is to be expected from this ‘big’ update but looking at past announcements from Microsoft, one can only speculate. We do know that Microsoft plans on creating a singular ecosystem for PCs, phones and tablets and given the fact that Windows 8 supports Metro UI, it’s a good chance it would be WP8. We could also expect NFC integration as Halbherr further stated that Nokia is pushing Microsoft to add support and “positioning framework” to Apollo to make the OS work better with their Navteq mapping platform for location-based services.

While Apollo is inevitable, it would probably not make it by mid-2012, instead we could be looking at a fall or winter 2012 launch. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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