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At Mobile World Congress 2010, Microsoft Corp. unveiled the next generation of Windows Phones, Windows Phone 7 Series. Microsoft claims that with the new platform it 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. Microsoft will bring together Xbox Live games and the Zune music and video experience on a mobile phone.

“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,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer at Microsoft.

Windows Phone 7 Series creates a 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 Xbox Live games, Spotlight feed and the ability to see a gamer’s avatar, achievements and gamer profile.
  • Music + Video. This hub creates a 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 Microsoft Office 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.

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.

Even though the list of Windows Phone 7 features looks impressive, it appears that Microsoft concentrated on giving easy access to non-phone capabilities of the operating system. It remains to be seen whether the software will actually help Microsoft to boost its share on the mobile phone market.

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. The first phones will be available by holiday 2010.

Tags: Microsoft, Windows

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