Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 promises to bring together contacts, photos, music and video into one smooth mobile experience. It’s holistic design aims to bring together web content, applications and services into a single view port, making you master of all you survey. Microsoft is introducing the new mobile OS at Mobile World Congress 2010, in Barcelona next month.
A New Home
The home screen, or Start, on Windows Phone 7 Series can be customized with live “tiles” that show the latest updates from the Web. In a radical departure from the earlier versions, the new one stop home screen provides access to contacts, web content, social networking services and local applications. Big, finger-loving notice icons or “tiles” for calls, text messages, email and of course Facebook etc stare you right in the face. Large, iconic text for menus, and content transitions slide a user into and out of different views. If you thought it’s just a pretty skin, think again. This is a brand new OS with fresh underlying code, not a mere rehash of the old guard offering a new user interface experience.
The OS is also heavily focused on social networking, providing integrated contact pages which show status updates from multiple services and allow fast jumps to richer cloud content (such as photo galleries). Rather than relying on applications and skins, Windows Phone 7 comes with social networking support wired right in.
Xbox Live and Zune Integration
The Xbox Live integration offers LIVE games, avatars and profiles and Zune’s features seem to be copy pasted directly in to the new OS. In fact Zune users will not be surprised by the new OS’s interface. Zune HD games run like hell on the Tegra Chip it uses. Will they play well with the Snapdragon chips, Windows Phone will most probably prevail with? Or are we going to see OMAP4 and Tegra 2 devices? Stay tuned for more updates.
With regards to hardware, the 7 Series devices will all sport a specific CPU and speed, screen aspect ratio and resolution, memory and button configuration and will not partner with UI customizers like Sense or TouchWiz. Which means every Windows Phone 7 will sport a single Windows Phone identity regardless of carrier or device brand. Which means they will all look shockingly similar at first sight. Carrier collaborations include AT&T, Deutsche Telekom AG, Orange, SFR, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telstra, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone while hardware partners include Dell, Garmin-Asus, HTC, HP, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Qualcomm.
Is it time to conclude already? I think the game is just beginning. When I sat down to write about the burning hot smartphone OS market, I was thinking iPhone OS vs Android vs Blackberry vs Palm. Little did I know an old timer was going to make a radical new entry into the fray all over again. And it appears like Microsoft has finally got it after all these years. Burning bridges and adopting a radical approach may not be enough to come out tops but it sure as hell has brought them face to face with the top warriors of the smartphone war.