The Register reports Microsoft is about 12 months away from finishing its single-core phone operating system. This is important as Nokia, Sony Ericsson and others are about to launch single core, single chip phones.
It's a pressing issue for manufacturers, as a single core smartphone platform allows the OEM to cut the cost of materials considerably, or cram more features on for the same BoM cost, or both. But a single core smartphone only works with a Real-Time Operating System (RTOS) that's capable of running the CDMA or GSM signalling stacks, and that's something Microsoft doesn't have. Microsoft's phones need a baseband processor running the GSM stack, and a separate application processor core running Windows Mobile OS.
So riding to the rescue is that old favorite of vaporware announcements, the "reference platform".
Pieter Knook, senior Veep of Microsoft Mobile and Embedded, said Microsoft was teaming up with Texas Instruments to create a 'reference design' for single chip, single core phones. Three OEMs, including HTC and Sagem would bring these devices to market.