It’s been the world’s worst kept secret – that Windows Phone 7 Series was coming, and today finally marked its official debut. In a live-streamed telecast from Mobile World Congress, Steve Ballmer and several others showcased the latest incarnation of the platform formerly known as Pocket PC and Windows Mobile. For those of us who have been along from the beginning of this ride, the Phone 7 Series announcement is a combination of vindication and disappointment. Vindication in that it looks like a truly exciting and innovative OS — finally! Disappointment because it is seriously overdue, and it won’t be available for some time yet. But the eye-candy presented was something else …
There has been a complete overhaul of the operating system; the mobile team has essentially started from scratch. Windows Phone 7 will integrate with Zune and Xbox, it will have a more consistent hardware and user experience, and if Twitter is a reliable indicator, the excitement generated during the keynote presentation was huge.
Some of the other highlights from the keynote included: the way everything will be based around “Live Tiles”; that all devices will have capacitive, big beautiful screens; multi-touch support across the entire device; it will include a much improved browser; there will be a people hub which allows you to stay connected with the people you care about; they have perfected music and video integration; these devices will have a direct connection to the cloud – there will be no need for a PC to use & sync the phone; the ability to use Zune pass on the phone … and the list goes on.
Here’s a quick video of the new interface, courtesy of SlashGear:
The good news is that HTC is already committed to creating a “portfolio of Windows Phone 7 Series Phones”.
The bad news is that you can forget about seeing any devices running Windows 7 Phone until the 2010 holiday season. By then, Android and Apple are guaranteed to have introduced new features that chip away at any excitement generated today. I suspect that news of the updated and much more exciting OS will kill the possibility of significant Windows Phone 6.5 sales by savvy consumers before the end of the year — without the promise of a clear upgrade path to Windows Phone 7, anyway.
I also suspect that the lack of compatibility between existing Windows Mobile applications and the new operating system will serve to further alienate developers from the already stagnating platform. Hopefully the excitement generated by the new user interface will prove me wrong.
You can watch a peruse the newly unveiled Windows Phone 7 site here., an you can
This is the official announcement; we’ll post representative screen shots as soon as they are available:
Microsoft Unveils Windows Phone 7 Series
New phones designed for life in motion to debut at holiday 2010.
BARCELONA, Spain — Feb. 15, 2010 — Today at Mobile World Congress 2010, Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled the next generation of Windows® Phones, Windows Phone 7 Series. With this new platform, Microsoft offers a fresh approach to phone software, distinguished by smart design and truly integrated experiences that bring to the surface the content people care about from the Web and applications. For the first time ever, Microsoft will bring together Xbox LIVE games and the Zune music and video experience on a mobile phone, exclusively on Windows Phone 7 Series. Partners have already started building phones; customers will be able to purchase the first phones in stores by holiday 2010.
“Today, I’m proud to introduce Windows Phone 7 Series, the next generation of Windows Phones,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer at Microsoft. “In a crowded market filled with phones that look the same and do the same things, I challenged the team to deliver a different kind of mobile experience. We believe Windows Phone 7 Series is a phone that truly reflects the speed of people’s lives and their need to connect to other people.”
Designed for Life in MotionWith Windows Phone 7 Series, Microsoft takes a fundamentally different approach to phone software. Smart design begins with a new, holistic design system that informs every aspect of the phone, from its visually appealing layout and motion to its function and hardware integration. On the Start screen, dynamically updated “live tiles” show users real-time content directly, breaking the mold of static icons that serve as an intermediate step on the way to an application. Create a tile of a friend, and the user gains a readable, up-to-date view of a friend’s latest pictures and posts, just by glancing at Start.
Every Windows Phone 7 Series phone will come with a dedicated hardware button for Bing, providing one-click access to search from anywhere on the phone, while a special implementation of Bing search provides intent-specific results, delivering the most relevant Web or local results, depending on the type of query.
Windows Phone 7 Series creates an unrivaled set of integrated experiences on a phone through Windows Phone hubs. Hubs bring together related content from the Web, applications and services into a single view to simplify common tasks. Windows Phone 7 Series includes six hubs built on specific themes reflecting activities that matter most to people:
- People. This hub delivers an engaging social experience by bringing together relevant content based on the person, including his or her live feeds from social networks and photos. It also provides a central place from which to post updates to Facebook and Windows Live in one step.
- Pictures. This hub makes it easy to share pictures and video to a social network in one step. Windows Phone 7 Series also brings together a user’s photos by integrating with the Web and PC, making the phone the ideal place to view a person’s entire picture and video collection.
- Games. This hub delivers the first and only official Xbox LIVE experience on a phone, including Xbox LIVE games, Spotlight feed and the ability to see a gamer’s avatar, Achievements and gamer profile. With more than 23 million active members around the world, Xbox LIVE unlocks a world of friends, games and entertainment on Xbox 360, and now also on Windows Phone 7 Series.
- Music + Video. This hub creates an incredible media experience that brings the best of Zune, including content from a user’s PC, online music services and even a built-in FM radio into one simple place that is all about music and video. Users can turn their media experience into a social one with Zune Social on a PC and share their media recommendations with like-minded music lovers. The playback experience is rich and easy to navigate, and immerses the listener in the content.
- Marketplace. This hub allows the user to easily discover and load the phone with certified applications and games.
- Office. This hub brings the familiar experience of the world’s leading productivity software to the Windows Phone. With access to Office, OneNote and SharePoint Workspace all in one place, users can easily read, edit and share documents. With the additional power of Outlook Mobile, users stay productive and up to date while on the go.AvailabilityPartners from around the world have committed to include Windows Phone 7 Series in their portfolio plans. They include mobile operators AT&T, Deutsche Telekom AG, Orange, SFR, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telstra, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone, and manufacturers Dell, Garmin-Asus, HTC Corp., HP, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Qualcomm Inc. The first phones will be available by holiday 2010. Customers who would like to receive additional information about Windows Phone 7 Series and be notified when it is available can register at .To watch the full replay of Steve Ballmer’s press conference at Mobile World Congress, and to experience Windows Phone 7 Series through an online product demo, readers can visit .Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.