Samsung is planning to release a pair of Windows Phone "Mango" devices this fall, despite rumors that it will end support for the Windows Phone platform by the end of 2012.
Those high-end devices include the 4G-capable Samsung Focus S, which will feature a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED (active-matrix organic LED) Plus display and 1.4GHz processor in addition to an ultra-thin 8.55-millimeter body, and the Samsung Focus Flash, with a slightly smaller 3.7-inch screen and 1.4GHz processor. Both the Focus S and Focus Flash will offer front- and rear-facing cameras. AT&T has announced it will carry both.
Microsoft intends its upcoming Mango update, which offers more than 500 tweaks and additions to the Windows Phone platform, to help counteract the company's eroding market share in the mobile arena. As part of the Mango push, Microsoft has enlisted a variety of manufacturers to build smartphones loaded with Windows Phone Mango, including Acer, Fujitsu, ZTE and Nokia.
Yet according to a Tweet from Samfirmware, which offers Samsung device reviews and ROM software, Samsung will end support for Windows Phone by the end of 2012,
"Samsung will support Windows phone til end 2012," read the Sept. 10 Tweet. A day later, a follow-up message read: "It's true about Samsung and Windows Phone. Windows Phone market is smaller than Samsung's own OS Bada."
That information remains unconfirmed by Samsung, and Microsoft has a longstanding corporate habit of not commenting on rumor or speculation. Nonetheless, if proven true, it would represent a significant setback for Windows Phone, which needs close manufacturing partner support to survive in the face of stiff competition from the likes of Android and the iPhone.
Samsung is busy developing its own mobile ecosystem based on Android. In addition to the Samsung Galaxy Tab tablets, the manufacturer is pushing its new Samsung Galaxy S II smartphones as a high-end iPhone killer. That could make the company less inclined to support a platform like Windows Phone, despite the introduction of these Mango devices, as it would compete directly against those other products.
There's one additional curveball: Current rumors suggest Samsung is building a quad-core tablet loaded with an early build of Windows 8, which will be given to attendees of this week's BUILD conference in Anaheim, Calif. If that proves true, it could indicate a collaborative effort between Microsoft and Samsung over Windows 8, which will appear on tablets in addition to PCs. It seems unlikely that such an effort would proceed without Microsoft at least trying to squeeze some longer-term concessions from Samsung over the Windows Phone platform, whose survival is integral to Redmond's smartphone strategy.
On one hand, we have rumors of Samsung planning to terminate its Windows Phone franchise. On the other, we have evidence that Samsung will offer two new high-end Windows Phone devices-which makes those rumors of a preplanned demise seem a bit rushed.