Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer took to the stage this afternoon to talk us through 2011 updates for Windows Phone 7, Nokia phones and not much else.
Ballmer’s keynote at CES last month was memorable for nothing more than a complete lack of noteworthy announcements, and while today’s speech was slightly more interesting, it was hardly groundbreaking. Ballmer told us that the long-awaited for copy and paste update to WP7 would be coming in “early March” but it was the other updates that would be coming “at some stage” in 2011 which were more interesting.
WP7 users can expect Twitter integration (similar to the Facebook integration users are already enjoying), multitasking for third party apps, support for Office documents in the cloud (via SkyDrive) and possibly most interestingly a “dramatically enhanced Web browser experience” with IE9 to come to a WP7 handset near you in 2011. Graphics and hardware acceleration will make the browsing experience completely different we are told and a couple of demonstrations on stage comparing WP7 with IE9 to a non-WP7 devices displayed how well the browser looked – though as always these should be taken with a pinch of salt. Microsoft is saying we should expect “very similar results for IE9 on Windows Phone and the Windows desktop.”
Multitasking for third party applications will be a welcome addition to WP7 and on stage this afternoon we saw it in operation. By pressing and holding the Back button you will be presented with zoomed out cards of the various apps that are running at the time. The reason Microsoft hadn’t previously supported third party multitasking was for battery concerns but this has now been sorted out somehow - we presume.
The final demo this afternoon showed off how a WP7 phone could be used in conjunction with the Xbox Kinect. Using the Rally Ball game, a Windows Phone user was seen tossing balls to an on-screen character, which is controlled by someone else on an Xbox using a Kinect. It was an interesting look at what could be ahead for integration between Xbox Live on Windows Phone 7 and the Kinect. You can check it out on the video below.
Other than that there was not much else on offer at the keynote. We got to see Nokia’s Stephen Elop and Ballmer hugging each other again, and Elop repeated what he had said on Friday at the Strategic Briefing in London last Friday and the only new Nokia WP7 news we got was that 2012 will see a large number of handsets coming to the market.
Source: Stories Microsoft