Microsoft, which recently announced a smart new Windows 7 Mobile operating system, is set to demand a minimum hardware requirement in an effort to compete with Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android-based phones. Speculation is also mounting that Microsoft may launch its own mobile phone in an effort to compete with Google.Overnight a senior Microsoft executive confirmed that the US company is considering a Microsoft branded phone. He also said of the hardware specifications. “Today OEMs can do whatever they like,” said Andy Lees, senior VP of Microsoft’s mobile communications division said during a conference call with analysts. As a result, software isn’t always optimised for a particular phone, he said.
Hardware requirements for phones incorporating the new Windows Phone 7 Series OS will, for example, include a graphics accelerator, he said.
Despite the “common standards and architecture”, Windows Phone 7 will allow for “extensibility”, enabling phone makers to differentiate their products by, for example, adding a better camera or pico projector, Lees said.
According to TWICE magazine the Windows Phone 7 user interface will improve the user experience by grouping common functions together on the screen into hubs, he said. Hubs will include an entertainment hub that features music and video content “using Zune assets,” while an office hub will group productivity applications such as PowerPoint and Excel. A people hub will include multiple email accounts as well as calendar, contact, and multiple social networking applications, while a photo hub will organise pictures and connectivity to photo-sharing sites.
Within the hubs, applications will be integrated so users don’t have to open different apps to get the content they want, he explained.
The new OS, due in phones late this year, is the “first product” resulting from a “hard reset” in the company’s mobile strategy begun 18 months ago, Lees said. The reset included discussions on whether Microsoft should launch its own hardware, he noted.