Rumor: Microsoft testing dual-core Snapdragon S4s with LTE for WP Apollo

With Windows Phone “Tango” just recently getting some proper spotlight in devices such as the Nokia Lumia 610, it looks like Microsoft is immediately looking to the future of the platform. One thing that the next version of Windows Phone will almost certainly bring is support for dual-core processors, and if the latest rumors are correct, Microsoft’s engineers are currently testing just that.

The Verge, which claims it has a source “familiar with the company’s plans”, says Microsoft engineers are testing the Qualcomm MSM8960 chipset for use in future Windows Phones. The MSM8960 is a dual-core system-on-a-chip from the current (and very new) Snapdragon S4 range, which has two Qualcomm Krait processing cores that can run up to 1.7 GHz, an Adreno 225 GPU and support for all radios up to LTE.

The source also reports that US carrier Sprint is interested in these dual-core Windows Phone devices with LTE, stating that Sprint has shared its LTE information with Nokia. There is a possibility that Sprint won’t introduce any new Windows Phones until these devices become ready, which will almost certainly be running Windows Phone 8 or “Apollo”. Apollo isn’t expected to be launched until much later this year.

If this report is indeed correct, Microsoft will see Windows Phone enter the multi-core smartphone market with devices that should compete, on a specifications-only basis, with the latest Android devices. Such Android devices with the Snapdragon S4, such as the HTC One X, are not expected to launch until April, and if Microsoft plans to launch Windows Phone 8 towards the end of the year they could end up being a respectable six-months out.

Don’t forget that Qualcomm is not the only Windows Phone chipset partner: ST-Ericsson is readying their powerful NovaThor dual-core chipsets for future Nokia devices as well.

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