Indicating yet again that 2012 is going to be a big year for Windows Phone, details have emerged about Microsoft’s plans for its upcoming Tango and Apollo updates.

Tango, an update which will focus on delivering “products with the best price,” will hit sometime in the second quarter, while Apollo, a major update meant for superphones, will land in the fourth quarter, according to a leaked roadmap uncovered by WMPoweruser.

The roadmap is up to date as of October, so it’s possible that Microsoft’s plans may have shifted since then. Still, it gives us a decent sense of what the company is aiming to accomplish in 2012. The company has just finished rolling out its Mango update to all existing Windows Phones.

The Tango update will serve to get Windows Phone into the low-cost phone arena, something that Microsoft desperately needs to do to better compete with Android and the iPhone. Right now, consumers looking for a bargain smartphone are usually faced with an Android device, or previous-generation iPhone — Windows Phone could be a particularly tempting option for users who don’t want the complications of Android, or to be tied into Apple’s ecosystem. It’s unclear what Tango will bring to existing Windows Phone devices, since it sounds like the update will focus more on stripping out features.

Nokia is leading the way with low-cost Windows Phone devices with the launch of its Lumia 710, which is headed to the U.S. via T-Mobile for just $50 with contract.

Hardcore users will look forward to the Apollo update, which will hopefully bring dual-core chipsets, LTE, and high-resolution screens to the platform. Still, it sounds like once again Microsoft will be a year late with its cutting edge hardware, since both the iPhone 4S and Android smartphones feature those specs today. Microsoft also expects that Apollo will help it to increase its volume of devices sold — though that will only happen if it offers compelling devices and steps up its marketing efforts.

via VB