Microsoft has just wrapped up its Windows Phone 7 Series press conference at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, so it's now time for a roundup of what we know, and what we don't.
OK, here's what we know:
- Windows Phone 7 Series will be a touchscreen device that's basically a Zune HD with a handset attached.
- There won't be a single form factor, and OEMs will be able to bring in their own variations.
- The UI is very Zune-like ...
- Three physical buttons - Start, Search and back.
- The OS user experience will be centered around five Hubs - People, Pictures, Office, Music and Video, and games.
- Lots of emphasis on home/work delineation, which i think it good.
- Handful of partners - Qualcomm, Asus, LG, Toshiba, HP, Dell, Garmin, HTC, Sony Ericsson.
- AT&T will be the first to offer Windows Phone 7 in the US.
- There will be no Adobe Flash support at release … no objection to Flash though.
- There has been a lot of emphasis on integration with online services, and not just Microsoft services.
- In the demos the hardware looked super-fast.
- Availability will be by the holidays 2010 ... so handsets are a good 8 to 10 months away.
What we don't know:
- Hardware spec - not a whisper.
- Details on software, such as what support the browser offers for web technologies.
- Does it multitask????
- Nothing on battery life.
- No idea if current handsets will be upgradable, although I suspect not.
- Very little platform details.
- Memory expansion????
- I think that it's fair to say that Microsoft is back in the game with Windows Phone 7.
- It's good to see something that isn't an iPhone clone, although it is without a doubt a product that's bee inspired by the iPhone.
- The interface is interesting, looking a lot like the Zune UI. This could be one of those "love it\hate it" points.
- Availability is a long way away. Microsoft is playing catch-up with Apple, and adding an 8 to 10 month lead up time to release gives Apple plenty of opportunity to respond with iPhone OS 4.0.
- That long lead time for release also give Windows Mobile 6.x plenty more time to pollute the pond. This is a bad thing.
- I like the fact that Microsoft emphasized non-Microsoft online services in the demo, such as Facebook. Microsoft is slowly learning that people want to choose what they use, not have choice (and change) foisted upon them.
- Today's press event was really a teaser. Sure, it was a smooth, well-organized event, but it was still a teaser.
And to my biggest questions ...
- Can Microsoft keep the platform going long enough without breaking compatibility to be able to pull all this off?
- Will you be able to upgrade the OS a first-gen Windows Phone 7 handset sold in 2010 to the latest So in 2012/2013?
- How locked-down will the OS be?
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