Finally Here: Windows Phone 7 Series
It’s finally here, Windows Mobile 7, or as it more colloquially wants to be known: Windows Phone 7 Series. It doesn’t really roll off the tongue and it’s not exactly the seventh series of any kind of Windows Phone, but that’s what they’re sticking with. So what’s the scoop on the new dialer from Redmond? Well, it all started at the Mobile World Congress 2010 in Barcelona…
The way it works is pretty straight forward, and to Microsoft’s credit, it’s actually pretty snazzy. Similar to the iPhone icons, users are presented with a list of squares that represent apps, widgets and features of the phone. They’re dubbed ’tiles’ and they scroll vertically only, but they can display live information and since they’re much larger than iPhone icons, potentially be more useful.
7 Series comes with a load of social networking features, including Windows Live, Facebook and even XBOX Live. If you’re a heavy XBOX user, you can actually login to your account and see your own avatar and check out what your friends are up to. This will also be the Windows Phone’s portal to play games, too. And of course, there’s web browsing. There’s no official word on what’s great about the new mobile version of Internet Explorer, but it’s been quoted as ‘much more advanced‘.
Of course, there’s the question of what’s running behind the scenes. Not much is currently known on what it’s built on. But if Microsoft is smart and takes a cue from the first Blackberry Storm, they won’t be just glossing a sluggish OS with a new coat of sexy GUI paint and multi-touch (but multi-touch is here).
For you productivity gurus, you’ll be happy to know that there’s full integration with Microsoft’s Office suite, along with “One Note” note taking programing built-in.
Microsoft also pulled some strings a-la Apple’s A3 chip. PCWorld.com is reporting that
The revamped UI will be part of a new hardware platform that Microsoft has developed in an unprecedented partnership with hardware and software vendors, according to Microsoft’s Andy Lees… Microsoft worked very closely with Qualcomm to optimize the phone’s silicon, presumably the advanced ARM-based Snapdragon processor, and the core OS software and drivers.
Reactions to the new OS have been mixed, but generally favorable. (If you want to see some shots of the presentation as it went down live, Engadget had the scoop.) Personally, I think it’s about time Microsoft had a complete refresh of how they approached the phone challenge. And it’s been widely reported that this is the exact approach they took — instead of shrinking the PC platform down, they realized they needed to make a phone and not a tiny PC.
It’s clear from the visual goodies that Microsoft is making a bold statement: we’re sexy, we’re minimalist, we’re not Apple and we’re still cool. And hey, for what it’s worth, it’s working for me. Even as an Android user, I think this UI is way better than what Google is offering.
All major US carriers are slated to carry Windows Phone 7 Series phones.
Let the competition begin.