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MWC 2010: Microsoft Windows Phone 7 Series

Maps

Designed to predict human behaviour, Bing Maps will automatically switch to satellite modes when zoomed to impractical map zoom levels and also tie local business searches to thumbnails on the map. The latest company information and independent reviews are also dragged in to help make quick decisions without the need for third party apps. In essence this is essentially click saving, but it is very welcome click saving.

Multimedia

"Every Windows Phone Series 7 phone is a Zune HD" declared Ballmer with great joy and he's right. Full Zune HD features and functionality have made it across so while the iPhone effectively has an iPod touch inside, the same can now be said of WPS7 and the Zune HD. When plugged into a PC, Windows also recognises, syncs and allows dragging and dropping of files to and from the device. And yes, it can be synced to more than one PC while newly added, most played and playback histories all sync between PC and handset.

Games

Here's something to get excited about: Xbox 360 Live functionality is natively built into WPS7 and you can access and update your Avatar and search for friends and their recent activity. Games you play on WPS7 will also affect your gamer score on Live. Similarly achievements you gain on one platform can be used to unlock content on the other.

We await hard details of specific titles, but the specific hardware requirements for WPS7 handsets and four point multi-touch (the iPhone is limited to two) suggest a uniformity for developers to come up with some top notch content.

Pictures

Like the contacts aggregation this will merge newly added Facebook and Windows Live photos and your contacts can also be checked here to see what are the latest photos they have uploaded. These can be viewed directly on WPS7 and comments posted directly on them to Facebook and Windows Live.

Support

As you might expect this is massive with LG, Samsung, Garmin-Asus, Toshiba, Sony Ericsson, HTC, HP and Dell all confirmed to make devices come launch. On the network side Vodafone, Orange and T-Mobile are already signed up for the UK (expect O2 to follow soon after).

Caveats

It isn't all smooth sailing. For a start there will be no Adobe Flash support at launch (yes, that old chestnut) though Microsoft does at least admit it is in talks with Adobe about putting it onto WPS7. Furthermore Microsoft was coy about how much editing and functionality will be built into the Office productivity suite, while there was no evidence of multi-tasking.

Apps developers could get a little concerned too about Microsoft's emphasis on converging functionality. Traditionally apps provide this individually, but the likes of handset wide Facebook integration and local business reviews could make some redundant. On the other hand, developers will benefit from a more fixed hardware experience so it isn't all bad news for them.

Lastly, the time frame for WPS7 is late 2010. Given both iPhone OS and Android will have launched major new versions by then this could provide Microsoft with substantial challenges before it is even ready.

Overall

Windows Phone Series 7 is certainly a far more thorough and daring rejuvenation of its mobile OS than we would have dreamed possible. It isn't without its flaws, but Microsoft is definitely back in the game and Apple and Google suddenly have a hungry new rival on their hands.

Check out page three for Live shots.

 

Helmore

February 16, 2010, 5:30 am

Isn't it Windows Phone 7 Series, instead of the other way around (as used in the article)?

AlexRat

February 16, 2010, 5:32 am

Unfortunately I'll be 7-9 months into an 18/24 month contract when these devices start becoming available (same thing happened to me when v6 came out, Grr!), but they're taking grand leaps this time rather than baby-steps.





So... who's going to make me a WPS7 skin for my v6.5 phone? Form an orderly line please...

rav

February 16, 2010, 5:33 am

Although I think I'll stick with Android I think it looks good. They've done their own thing and not tried to just copy.





Everyone keeps saying that by the time this comes out Android/iPhone will be even more advanced but do you really see either platform changing that radically in the meantime?





Now fingers crossed the best bits get copied/ported to Android!

lifethroughalens

February 16, 2010, 5:41 am

Oh dear...I must be a wrong'un - I think i'll stick with 6.5X over that mickey mouse OS for kids. What a let down! At first glimpse they appear to have removed so much functionality and flexibility that it's lost a lot of it's appeal. I'm sure after a years worth of updates, when my contract expires on the HD2, it'll be worth another look. Ho-Hum. There's just no pleasing some people!

Kieran

February 16, 2010, 9:53 am

Well looks pretty good to me, nice to see them following on from W7's success, Shots 5 and 6 have a rather large amount of smudges on though...





No just to see what the iPhone 4 is all about then

Premfab

February 16, 2010, 10:56 am

Looks tempting. Can't wait to see a real working phone.





One thing is for sure - the OS will be more readily accepted by companies than the iphone.

Moche

February 16, 2010, 12:53 pm

Is it just me or does the abbreviation WPS7 pop out in your head as "Woopsy".





Usage: "Ooo Betty. I've done a woopsy" - Frank Spencer

Cub

February 16, 2010, 1:30 pm

Colour me impressed.





Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to leave my iPhone behind, but Microsoft have done the decent thing and literally scrapped all their old code and started a'fresh. Looks swish. No doubt that like the Zune (snigger...) it won't work on a Mac anyways, so even if I did want one, it wouldn't be possible...





@lifethroughalens - like it or not, this is the kind of functional, integrated, fun and easy to use device that people want these days; the vast majority of people just want their devices to work, and work together at that, it&#8217s nice to see MS understand this now. Android would be your new toy of choice if you want something to tinker on, no?





@Prem - you think so? Integrated xBox live/games, facebook... Is that really what businesses want? MS are surely aiming for personal use here.

Gordon394

February 16, 2010, 2:32 pm

@Helmore - no, it's Windows Phone Series 7 (hence why used in the article ;) @Moche - yep, naming is worst part about it

Cub

February 16, 2010, 2:45 pm

@Gorden - are you sure? All other sites list it as Windows Phone 7 Series... as does the official site www.windowsphone7series.com - although it's servers are unavailable at the moment!

HarryGlass

February 16, 2010, 2:52 pm

I think MS have done the unimaginable and come up with something fresh, exciting, intuitive and useful that will appeal to both business and casual users. I'm amazed with all the "leaks" nobody was even near to guessing what they had. And people were impressed when Palm came out with WebOS; I wonder where this will leave Palm & Blackberry. Can they compete with the desktop triumvirate of MS, Google & Apple? Where is Nokia now? Is there room for niche players like Else?





Most of us change our phones every year or two and we want something fresh. I think this gives MS a chance, one people saying "but Apple (and Android) have so many apps" forget. Plus this is a radically different platform, one that negates apps to an extent. People might invest in their iPhone with apps and such, but when they can get better across the board functionality, and potentially much better games there's less reason to stick with their iPhone when the contract ends.





I think MS have cleverly looked at the market, seen that they cannot be just another me too, thrown away the past, thought outside the box and come up with a clever new OS which competes on every level and has answers for all the reasons you might otherwise choose a different phone. Think Different, sorry whose slogan is that? It's a brave and broad vision and one that whether it succeeds or not makes the mobile phone OS game all the more exciting for consumers. I think this time next year a lot of people will have a hard choice in choosing their next phone. It doesn't matter that it's a year, or more, MS have deep pockets and can wait to climb their way, if not to the top, then at least to sharing a large slice of the pie.

Alex.rar

February 16, 2010, 3:18 pm

yep - definatley Windows Phone 7 Series

Tariq Pugh

February 16, 2010, 3:44 pm

To quote Kanye West... Me likey! It looks like it does everything I'd want out of the box (particularly Facebook integration and multimedia support). Part of me agrees with lifethroughalens's sentiment though, i kinda like the austere, wordy but efficient Windows Today screens of old. Though the screenshots do look significantly more adult than the iPhone's primary coloured icons.





Really like the look of the 'Zune Phone'. It looks more pocket friendly than most current smarts. If it lives up to it's multimedia pretensions i.e. great sound quality through 3.5mm jack, will talk to my AV receiver and bluetooth car stereo, and has LOTS of storage potential (microSD-XC please?) then i could be sold this winter...





...Assuming the HTC Bravo doesn't steal my heart (and money) in the meantime!

Tariq Pugh

February 16, 2010, 3:56 pm

@HK - Wow, do you have a Bumper Book of Metaphors there on your desk? Concur though, MS have cleverly thought through the problem of breaking down the brand loyalty built up by the paid-for apps craze. Well done them.

Chris Beach

February 16, 2010, 5:39 pm

Apps wont be a problem I think...it'll have the latest .net framework and MS will very quickly have a massive developer support infrastructure in place (as already evidenced by the msdn channel9 vid giving more details about wp7s: http://channel9.msdn.com/posts...

Ash

February 16, 2010, 5:50 pm

Looks a bit like the TAT Print UI concept. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

xbrumster

February 16, 2010, 6:13 pm

I find those over-sized letters very annoying. They're so in your face. When I click on Music or whatever, thats the function I want to use and whats the point to use large space on the top just to show you where you are. And those boring fonts look just so dated to me.





not very impressed, looks a lot more complicated than android & iphone & symbian etc.

JohnH

February 16, 2010, 6:49 pm

@cjb: Great link - once you remove the trailing ')'. Really interesting new direction. It might just work. They'll need to embrace incremental updates IMO though.

Helmore

February 16, 2010, 7:03 pm

@xbrumster - That over-sized text at the top also functions as a back button, just hitting it brings you back one level in the menu. Pretty handy if you ask me, especially in the Zune HD where there is not dedicated back button.

lensmann

February 16, 2010, 8:03 pm

I'm with the Register on this one. What I want is a device that uses these nice faster processors *and* gives me the flexibility I had with my TyTN II.





http://www.theregister.co.uk/2...

HarryGlass

February 16, 2010, 8:06 pm

Actually I'm using "Bumper Book of Flowery Language", but they're from the same series.





It's interesting to see such a reactive response to the market from MS, it's different from their usual attempts to bully and buy out. They deserve a lot of credit for taking this approach, it's the kind of thing you expect from a new company trying to break into a market, not an old dog.





Also the more I look at it, THIS is the OS you'd want on something like an iPad. Sure there's questions still to be answered about multi-tasking, 3rd party development, customisation and the web browser - but whatever the answers it's almost certain to be more open than the stance Apple takes. I wonder if MS have any plans to put this onto tablets. If they are worried about Chrome OS, Android, etc then this could be the answer.





@xbrumster: I do also see your point, it seems a little angular & harsh. I think it depends just how custimisable it'll be. Whether or not xda-devs can skin it. Still lots to find out before I'd consider WinPho7 but my contract isn't up for ages.

JohnH

February 16, 2010, 8:09 pm

Decided I quite like the phrase "7 Series".

lensmann

February 16, 2010, 9:47 pm

@JohnH: Perhaps Microsoft is signalling that this is going to be the luxury sedan of smartphones?

ffrankmccaffery

February 16, 2010, 11:26 pm

It certainly looks impressive, especially the typeface used and I'm particularly looking forward to seeing the 'sub pixel positioning' technology displayed in person. If it's one thing that Microsoft do well is their ability at rendering fonts clearly on screen.

Mo

February 17, 2010, 1:10 am

I was loving it while watching the live keynote.

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