After losing market share in the Smartphone market to Apple and Google and the likes of Research in Motion with its Blackberry, Microsoft is now trying to hit back with the one-time mobile leader overnight, unveiling a brand new mobile operating system called Windows Phone 7.The radical overhaul, which delivers live feeds from social networks and photos, and provides one-step Facebook and Windows Live updates, is designed to help carriers like Telstra earn more data revenue. As tipped, missing is Adobe Flash and multitasking.
Ross Fielding, Executive Director, Mobility Products, said, “With Windows Phone 7 Series, Microsoft has developed phone software for devices that, coupled with our Next G network, provide a richer mobile experience for our customers.
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“Telstra is pleased to be the Australian launch partner for Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 Series, a further testament to the ongoing collaboration and partnership we share with Microsoft,” he said.
Microsoft claims that posting pictures and videos on a social network can also be accomplished in a single step.
In an effort to compete with gaming on the Apple iPhone as well as the new Apple iPad, Microsoft has also delivered a new capability that allows users to get an official Xbox LIVE experience on a phone, including live games, spotlight feeds, and the ability to view the achievements and profiles of friends. Also built in is what Microsoft calls “the best of Zune,” including content from a user’s PC, online music services and even a built-in FM radio.
New Windows 7 phones will also have access to Office, OneNote, SharePoint Workspace and Outlook Mobile. The GUI has been entirely restructured to allow users to get data and information without delving in and out of applications, claims Microsoft.
Internet Explorer is also more advanced and based on the desktop version of the browser, but with multi-touch and advanced sub-pixel rendering. Email has a Zune-style UI but integrates with Exchange and carries iPhone-like features such as easy mass-deletion of messages.
Multi-touch, accelerometers and fast hardware should be common across all devices, Microsoft says.
Microsoft has also changed the business model for partners and will take more control over the experience; it promises a baseline for hardware (including drivers) and won’t let companies directly replace user interface elements. In most cases, only tiles and some services will be extensible. However, the companies will also get phones to market faster as a result, according to the Windows developer.
According to Telstra executives attending the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, where the new operating system was launched, the first phone to feature the new OS is expected to be an HTC phone that will go on sale in the last quarter of 2010.
Other vendors set to launch Smartphones with the new OS include Samsung and LG.
Dell, Toshiba and Acer are also analysing the Australian market with a view to launching Windows 7-based phones via their traditional retail partners channel.