July 06, 2011, 11:30 AM — Based on some thin evidence, and enriched with rife speculation, blogs and new sites are saying that Samsung is experimenting with a version of its new, successful Galaxy S II smartphone that runs Windows Phone 7 instead of Android as its firmware.
The main difficulty is that the Galaxy S II (currently available only outside the United States) doesn't match the existing Windows Phone hardware specification. First, that spec mandates use of the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and a new version of the Galaxy S II is expected to run Samsung's own CPU: a 1.4 GHz dual-core Exynos chip. Second, it also requires a trio of dedicated buttons on the bottom of the front face: start, search, and back. The current GS II model has a single front-facing button below its 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display.
But there's been recent speculation that Microsoft may be readying a revised spec that would let manufacturers turn these into onscreen, software buttons for upcoming phones that run the Mango version of Windows Phone 7. Mango is due to be generally released this fall and is widely expected to appear in a new generation of Windows Phone handsets at the same time.
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That speculation was sparked when Nokia CEO Stephen Elop was caught on video during an internal company meeting, briefly showing off what he called Nokia's first Windows Phone handset, code-named Sea Ray: a sleek black rectangle that appears to have no front-facing hardware buttons. Gadgetorama.com picked up on tweets by Eldar Murtazin, editor of the Russian tech site Mobile-Review.com, who claims the Mango "design guideline" will not require front hardware buttons. Gadgetorama suggests two possible theories: "Microsoft will release an updated Windows Phone specification (with support for software buttons) or this device [the one Elop demonstrated] will remain a prototype (for now) with the first official Nokia device to sport the three required buttons."