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Microsoft Unveils Windows Phone 7 Series

 
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ChrisDeHerrera
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:28 am    Post subject: Microsoft Unveils Windows Phone 7 Series Reply with quote

Microsoft Unveils Windows Phone 7 Series


New phones designed for life in motion to debut at holiday 2010.

Today at Mobile World Congress 2010, Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled the next generation of Windows® Phones, Windows Phone 7 Series. With this new platform, Microsoft offers a fresh approach to phone software, distinguished by smart design and truly integrated experiences that bring to the surface the content people care about from the Web and applications. For the first time ever, Microsoft will bring together Xbox LIVE games and the Zune music and video experience on a mobile phone, exclusively on Windows Phone 7 Series. Partners have already started building phones; customers will be able to purchase the first phones in stores by holiday 2010.

“Today, I’m proud to introduce Windows Phone 7 Series, the next generation of Windows Phones,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer at Microsoft. “In a crowded market filled with phones that look the same and do the same things, I challenged the team to deliver a different kind of mobile experience. Windows Phone 7 Series marks a turning point toward phones that truly reflect the speed of people’s lives and their need to connect to other people and all kinds of seamless experiences.”

Designed for Life in Motion

With Windows Phone 7 Series, Microsoft takes a fundamentally different approach to phone software. Smart design begins with a new, holistic design system that informs every aspect of the phone, from its visually appealing layout and motion to its function and hardware integration. On the Start screen, dynamically updated “live tiles” show users real-time content directly, breaking the mold of static icons that serve as an intermediate step on the way to an application. Create a tile of a friend, and the user gains a readable, up-to-date view of a friend’s latest pictures and posts, just by glancing at Start.

Every Windows Phone 7 Series phone will come with a dedicated hardware button for Bing, providing one-click access to search from anywhere on the phone, while a special implementation of Bing search provides intent-specific results, delivering the most relevant Web or local results, depending on the type of query.

Windows Phone 7 Series creates an unrivaled set of integrated experiences on a phone through Windows Phone hubs. Hubs bring together related content from the Web, applications and services into a single view to simplify common tasks. Windows Phone 7 Series includes six hubs built on specific themes reflecting activities that matter most to people:

People. This hub delivers an engaging social experience by bringing together relevant content based on the person, including his or her live feeds from social networks and photos. It also provides a central place from which to post updates to Facebook and Windows Live in one step.

Pictures. This hub makes it easy to share pictures and video to a social network in one step. Windows Phone 7 Series also brings together a user’s photos by integrating with the Web and PC, making the phone the ideal place to view a person’s entire picture and video collection.

Games. This hub delivers the first and only official Xbox LIVE experience on a phone, including Xbox LIVE games, Spotlight feed and the ability to see a gamer’s avatar, Achievements and gamer profile. With more than 23 million active members around the world, Xbox LIVE unlocks a world of friends, games and entertainment on Xbox 360, and now also on Windows Phone 7 Series.

Music + Video. This hub creates an incredible media experience that brings the best of Zune, including content from a user’s PC, online music services and even a built-in FM radio into one simple place that is all about music and video. Users can turn their media experience into a social one with Zune Social on a PC and share their media recommendations with like-minded music lovers. The playback experience is rich and easy to navigate, and immerses the listener in the content.

Marketplace. This hub allows the user to easily discover and load the phone with certified applications and games.

Office. This hub brings the familiar experience of the world’s leading productivity software to the Windows Phone. With access to Office, OneNote and SharePoint Workspace all in one place, users can easily read, edit and share documents. With the additional power of Outlook Mobile, users stay productive and up to date while on the go.

Availability

Partners from around the world have committed to include Windows Phone 7 Series in their portfolio plans. They include mobile operators AT&T, Deutsche Telekom AG, Orange, SFR, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telstra, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone, and manufacturers Dell, Garmin-Asus, HTC Corp., HP, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Qualcomm Inc. The first phones will be available by holiday 2010. Customers who would like to receive additional information about Windows Phone 7 Series and be notified when it is available can register at http://www.windowsphone7series.com.

To watch the full replay of Steve Ballmer’s press conference at Mobile World Congress, and to experience Windows Phone 7 Series through an online product demo, readers can visit http://www.microsoft.com/news/windowsphone.  (Source: Press Release)


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Gerard
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unbelievable. We have been abandoned, utterly. The last decade of my Windows Mobile experience, all those tens of thousands of hours spent (wasted, now?) learning and actually using hundreds of applications is at an end. The new Windows Phone has virtually no relationship to what had previously been a continuity of experience. Sure, there were overlays (Titanium, Manila, the HTC Cube, Toshiba's three-stripe menus... ) giving the appearance of a whole new user interface, but underneath we still had access to the file system, to the registry, to uncountable thousands of shareware and freeware applications by third party developers. That last was the single most important aspect of Windows Mobile, the tool set which set WM apart from anything else. Users could (and still can, so long as relevant devices still work) easily search for (Google almost always found me a relevant solution to any problem as it came up, usually within two or three pages of search results) programs which could usually be installed directly over-the-air onto the device. Early on (2000 to 2002 perhaps) we were somewhat more limited, as many applications required the awful Activesync conduit for installations, but of course developers caught on to users' desire to be more independent from their PCs (hence their use of a mobile, pocketable computer), and soon (many started by fall of 2000) offering CAB files for on-device installation, or even standalone executables in some cases.

For years, I have been able to author web pages on my devices then to upload them to my server, no PC necessary in building a website and sharing it with the world. Picture editing with Pocket Artist has been very satisfying in the range of tools available; vastly more powerful than Microsoft Paint, it's been somewhere about midway between that and Photoshop. I've been able to use third party email applications, and early on enjoyed the email functionality delivered by Casio's Mobile E-mailer, leaps and bounds ahead of Microsoft's Inbox application at the time. Then along came nPOP from a freeware developer in Japan. Flawed at first, but another jump in flexibility of use. With UK-based further development (it's open source) then a US-based developer carrying it further, nPOPuk has become the single most capable, flexible email application available. Browsers are now available by the handful, with users able to pick and choose per their preferences. Document authoring and editing is just the same, with several powerful office suite options available, Softmaker Office coming out on top of them all... including Microsoft's mobile office applications.

I'll stop, though it's tempting to go on and on about functionality in these little computers. Today I watched Microsoft's video from here:
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/windowsphone/videogallery.aspx

I tried, really hard, to understand and even to accept any little detail which might have relevance in my life and business. I'm not seeing it, at all. This isn't relevant to my experience. It's foreign, alien. There is no connection to the past. And the future, well, they might as well have offered me the AOL browser and called it an OS. If I wanted a Zune, I'd buy a Zune. I do not want a Zune. CORE media player does a very fine job of playing my audio and video, thanks anyway. CORE is really solid with Youtube videos. And if I want to upload images from my phone to Facebook, hey, I have Resco Photo Manager and it would probably do a fine job of that... if I ever uploaded pictures anywhere. I don't share family images in such places, as I would prefer to retain control of my personal photographs and videos, thanks, and Facebook or other similar services do not offer any assurances of privacy or control.

Steve Ballmer, in answering a journalist's question regarding consistency in the UI, said, to paraphrase, that Microsoft hopes that people will look back in 3 to 5 years and appreciate how much has been added to a "higher foundation" rather than asking third party developers to continue to re-plumb the old UI. Wow. So abandoning a decade (and more, considering WM is built on many elements of WinCE devices, the Palm-size PCs of the late 1990's) of UI-dependent development is a conscious decision.

Disconnecting from all that experience, tearing the tree out by the roots and planting new seeds... all to be delivered through one store, giving Microsoft sole control, finally, of every single application we are allowed to use... I'm left flabbergasted. Seriously, MS is saying that all my money and time spent in acquiring these tools, it's all irrelevant. Never mind me as an individual. What about the thousands upon thousands of developers and teams out there, working for years to deliver quality products to end user? What about Resco's suite of incredibly well made products, using that 'old' UI core to build new ways of interfacing with our files and our world which bear little resemblance to the core UI, but preserve all the functionality we're used to seeing? What about Softmaker Office? Is this company now supposed to pay a royalty to Microsoft for the right to sell it's Office-competitive suite through the Microsoft app store? I see some serious litigation coming on the horizon in Europe, if not everywhere else. Monopolistic behavior such as this, wresting control of application distribution away from individual developers and taking a cut, even if it's just a token in terms of distribution control and not a fee, is simply unacceptable to many of us. I foresee at a minimum the wholesale movement to crack this new hardware, to jail-break it for more flexibility of use, to get access to non-filtered third party apps.

And seriously, NO MULTI-TASKING? WHAT?! So I will no longer be allowed to keep half a dozen applications running, each doing their thing in the background while I work in the foreground? I am not allowed to have nPOPuk polling for mail while I browse in Netfront and listen to an audiobook in CORE? I cannot jockey between Pocket Artist and Resco Photo when working with a few images, allowing quick reference between image qualities, while also running Resco Explorer to allow jumping between various image folders for faster switching between different photo sets than any image viewing app allows? I cannot keep several text editors open at the same time, to allow cross-editing of blocks of text, or referencing one document while authoring another? What is Microsoft thinking? If I want a phone that is 'not a PC' I will buy a Nokia, thanks anyway.

For my part, I'd go further. There is no way I would use such a phone, even if Steve Ballmer came to my house and handed one to me, charged up and ready to go. The Zune hipster repeated time after time during his presentation that "a phone is not a PC." Brilliant. Up until now, a Windows Mobile phone has been a PC. Well... it was sort of a PC in terms of a diverse array of functions, a powerful little computer we could use to perform innumerable tasks (including loads of Twitter, Facebook, whatever sorts of messaging/social network access programs, many of which interfaced very smoothly with in-built databases and programs). Now it's not a computer. Now it's a social calculator. Now it's MSN Messenger on steroids. Now it's a multi-media, social networking dynamo, something any Xbox fan can love, a shiny toy for kids. Not a computer. Not for me. Period. Bye-bye Microsoft. Oh sure, I'll continue using Windows Mobile. I very much like my HTC Kaiser running WM6.5.3 (thanks to a brilliant ROM cook at xda-developers who has trimmed it down to run like silk, to do everything I need to do and install any application I need to install), and will really, really enjoy using a Toshiba TG02 if and when I am able to acquire one. But these are Windows Mobile devices. Not Windows Phone 7 devices. When Microsoft decided to abandon serious use of Windows in mobile devices, they cut off millions of dedicated users. When my last Windows Mobile device stops working, or perhaps before should it seem more practical to make the move sooner, I'll be jumping ship. I'll dump my years of experience and go to an Android device. Not Apple, which is the obvious source of Microsoft's inspiration here, as the iPhone is simply too controlled, too limited, thanks to the massive ego of Steve Jobs. Enter the massive ego of Steve Ballmer. I'm starting to dislike Steves on principle. Symbian is about to become open source, if it hasn't already, so perhaps there is another option... depending on hardware support and tool availability.

I could go on for many more paragraphs about the absurdities revealed in this presentation, about the blatant misrepresentations the 'old' WM UI being limiting due to multitasking (single-tasking and bookmarking is going to be more flexible, seriously?), about how the smartphone market is stagnating in a sea of sameness... but there's no point. The decision has been made to dumb-down Windows phones. "Raised the platform" Steve? Nah. You just lowered the bar, and it wasn't even your own idea, it was Apple's. By turning this platform into a toaster, you just lost your core market. Good luck with building a new one. I'm sure you'll sell some phones. Just not to the same people, which seems not to concern you in the least.
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CE Geek
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you've got it pretty well covered, Gerard. Microsoft has gone from a versatile OS that made mobile devices broadly multi-functional to, well, Palm OS. Rolling Eyes

I don't want to hear Microsoft folks say that they couldn't compete with all these single-function devices (iPod, Zune, etc). The fact is that they never did a good job of marketing these devices. Most of what the iPhone can do was possible on the Palm-size PC, but I don't remember ever seeing Microsoft (nor its OEM partners) even bother to advertise these devices in the media. The average mobile device user nowadays probably thinks Apple coined the slang term "app," when we legacy Windows CE device users were using that term long before Apple Computer even came up with the iPhone concept.
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