Talking at Asia D, Andy Lees spoke of the possibility that 2012 will see the introduction of NFC and the and a way that hardware manufactures can "add value" and extend and vary hardware on Windows Phone 7.
This comes on the back of a feeling by many WP7 customers that, despite a liking for the operating system, the hardware that runs it is rather flat - with very little variety. However, Microsoft's reasons for locking things down were well documented at the time WP7 came about, and Lees confirmed this at Asia D, "We wanted to stop problems with fragmentation, so we locked things down."
Clearly there is a nod to some of the problems that have been faced with fragmentation within the Android operating system, but Lees is now recognising that there's certainly a balance to be struck - and tighter controls will no doubt lead to stifled hardware options.
According to Lees, the way Microsoft are going to get round this is through development of a specific architecture created to allow others to add value.
"We have been building an architecture that allows software vendors and hardware vendors to add their value... Some things we will do in 2012 will let us extend that." By implementing this in the correct way it seems that the move will enable phone manufacturers to develop meatier hardware for Windows Phone 7 though device drivers.
As well as this move for greater hardware choice, Lees also said we can also expect NFC to be adopted within the next year. Though it seems that any run in with Google in terms of service implementation is to be avoided in favour of a platform-only approach.
Does this give you hope for the future of Windows Phone 7? Have the current hardware options for the OS put you off? Let us know in the comments.