An apparent leak of Microsoft's roadmap for its Windows Phone platform shows that the next major update for the operating system, codenamed Apollo, won't arrive until the fourth quarter of 2012, in what could be a blow for Nokia.
The leak was uncovered by WMPoweruser.com and explains that the update is designed to help make the platform more competitive by turning smartphones running the platform into "superphones", although no details on what this will entail are included.
However, such a late release for the next major overhaul to the platform is surprising as Apple is expected to release the iPhone 5 during 2012 while numerous Android phones are set to receive the Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0, which will provide yet more competition for Microsoft.
It also means Nokia, which has bet the farm on the Windows Phone platform, will have nothing new to promise potential customers on either its Lumia 800 device or on new phones it is expected to unveil in the next 12 months.
The leak also reveals the firm will release an update in the second quarter dubbed Tango that appears to be aimed solely at low-end phones, such as the Lumia 710 and is likely to be a minor update covering basic functionalities.
V3 contacted Microsoft about the leak but the firm said it had no comment to make on the rumours.
Ovum analyst Nick Dillion told V3 that while a year's gap between major updates was not surprising it would mean Microsoft was still playing catch up to its core rivals for another year.
"There's nothing exceptional in the delay but it shows that the platform is still behind the iPhone and Android for functionality like support for dual-core processors," he said.
"However, there's not an overriding demand for dual-core support from all but early adopters so it's not the worst issue for Microsoft and it will be hoping it can improve the marketing for the Mango update to drive more sales in 2012."
He added, though, that Nokia will at least be able to get around this lack of updates to the platform by producing its own applications as it did for the Lumia 800 with its Nokia Drive application
"With the Lumia 800 Nokia managed to get a few applications on the device and we'll see more integration of its own services to the platform in the future."
Microsoft will be hoping its Windows Phone 7 platform, which was updated to version 7.5 in October with the Mango upgrade, can gain traction in 2012 after slow growth in 2011, with Nokia finally starting to sell its first devices.
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