When it comes to its Windows Phone partners, Microsoft often seems to be acting like it's a slightly paranoid uncle lending a teenager his classic car for a night out with his mates: don't touch this, don't touch that, and I want it back at 11pm without a scratch – that kind of thing.
And it seems word of just what that little speech actually contained has reached the wider world, as Engadget has just published a full point-by-point list of Windows Phone 8 chassis requirements for us all to see.
It comes as part of the site's wider review of the OS itself, a mammoth analysis which concludes: “it's still far from perfect, but Microsoft has finally caught up in many ways to its competitors”, but then says any loss of its new-found momentum (such as it is) and Windows Phone probably won't recover.
But it's those system requirements we're here for, so here they are:
- Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor
- Minimum 512MB RAM for WVGA phones; minimum 1GB RAM for 720p/WXGA
- Minimum 4GB flash memory
- GPS and A-GNSS; GLONASS is supported if OEMs decide to include it
- Support for micro-USB 2.0
- 3.5mm stereo headphone jack with three-button detection support
- Rear-facing AF camera with LED or Xenon flash, optional front-facing camera (both need to be VGA or better) and dedicated camera button
- Accelerometer, proximity and ambient light sensors, as well as vibration motor (magnetometer and gyroscope are optional)
- 802.11b/g and Bluetooth (802.11n is optional)
- DirectX graphics hardware support with hardware acceleration for Direct3D using programmable GPU
- Multi-touch capacitive touch screen with minimum of four simultaneous points
The interesting points? The fact that it's not a question that dual-core processors are supported, but that they're required. Also the bit about the RAM, for which HTC's Windows Phone 8X and 8S are exact examples of both option.
But as with all OSes that support different levels of something as crucial as RAM, some apps and features won't deliver the full experience at the lower spec option – a problem that won't go away if the lower-end option remains as unpopular as it's so far proving (the 8S is the only 512MB WP8 phone announced so far).
On a more general level, looking at that list in November 2012, it hardly makes Windows Phone an elitist platform (especially when you remember there's also Windows Phone 7.8, or there will be at some point anyway).
In other words, if you're just looking at this there's no reason Windows Phone devices shouldn't be swinging hard at the low end of the smartphone pricing spectrum from launch, rather than only six months later when next to no-one is buying them any more.