Microsoft stirs up Windows Phone Mango for partners

Microsoft unveiled new Mango handsets and promised more progress for Windows Phone 7 at WPC this week, as it shrugged off lacklustre enthusiasm among device buyers
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor

Microsoft shrugged off the lacklustre uptake of Windows Phone 7 as it touted its mobile plans to partners in Los Angeles this week.

Windows Phone prototype handsets

Microsoft gave a glimpse of new Windows Phone handsets as it touted its mobile plans at its partner conference. Photo credit: Microsoft

Chief executive Steve Ballmer set the tone for the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in his keynote on Monday, when he discussed the growth of Microsoft's mobile platform and related handset sales over the past year. While he conceded that the company is yet to gain significant market share with Windows Phone 7, he was upbeat about its prospects.

"We have gone from very small to very small, but it has been a heck of a year," Ballmer said. "You're going to see a lot of progress competitively as we move forward."

On Tuesday, Microsoft tried to show momentum for the platform by unveiling four more smartphones based on Windows Phone 7.5 Mango. The handsets, never seen in public before, were shown off by Microsoft's OEM head Steve Guggenheimer.

Three of the models were from ZTE, Acer and Fujitsu, which in May confirmed it plans to make handsets running Mango. Also on display was a Samsung device that looked very similar to the Galaxy S II, but with a Windows icon where the 'Home' button is usually placed. Release details were not given for any of the handsets.

However, Andy Lees, president of the Windows Phone division, nixed any suggestion that Windows Phone 7 will make its way onto tablet devices. Instead, Microsoft is focusing its efforts on Windows 8 for tablets.

"Windows has always spanned different PC form factors, and with Windows 8 we're going to take this to a whole new level, including tablets," Lees said on Tuesday.

"A lot of people have asked me, are we going to produce a phone that is a tablet? Well, that is a conflict with this strategy," Lees added. "We view a tablet as a sort of PC. We want people to be able to do the sorts of things that they expect to do on a PC on a tablet."

During the conference, Microsoft also revealed that Windows 8 will have the same or lower hardware requirements than Windows 7. This should make it easier for hardware makers to use the upcoming operating system on devices with lower specifications than a PC.

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