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Windows Phone 7 Series Gets Official

by Sean P. Aune | February 15, 2010February 15, 2010 11:08 am PDT

Gone are the days of calling Windows Mobile “WinMo”, now it will be something more akin to “WinPho7” or “WinPho7Series” … who knows, but the full and official name is “Windows Phone 7 Series.”

Officially announced today at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, Spain, Windows Phone 7 Series is a ground up reimagining of the long running Windows Mobile operating system.  Gone is the old familiar Start screen, and instead you will find a vertically scrolling screen of constantly updating tiles that keep you up-to-date on what is happening in each of them.

windows phone 7 seriesRebuilt from the base code forward, Windows Phone 7 Series isn’t going to be just about changing the software, but also making sure that a user could pick up any phone using the OS and feel familiar with it.  Each phone will have designated CPUs, speeds, memory,  screen aspect ratios & resolution and button configurations.  Although it sounds like the main button will be dedicated to launching Bing search, there will also see be buttons for Back and Start.

The magic will be in the software as the OS is going to get a whole lot more social.  The “People” tile will bring together content from live feeds of activity on your various social networks.  You’ll be able to see updates of your friends and their photos, in one spot, but if you want to create a new tile that focuses on just one person, you can do that as well.  You will also be able to update your Facebook and Windows Live accounts in just one step.

Xbox Live, the online portion of the Xbox gaming experience, currently has over 23 million members worldwide, and the integration into Windows Phone 7 Series devices will allow you to finally leave the console behind.  You’ll be able to play games, look up other users, see avatars, check gaming achievements and more.  It has felt for a while now that Microsoft was wanting to turn its gaming community into a social network, but being restricted to the console made that difficult, taking it on the go with you might ease that hurdle now.

While people have speculated for ages about a “Zune phone”, it seems that will never need to exist now as Zune integration will come into the Windows Phone 7 Series to manage your music and videos.  You will be able to integrate your media from your PC, listen to a built-in FM tuner and more with the new phones.  From your PC you will also be able to give out recommendations to friends to explore all sorts of new music.

The Pictures hub will give you access to all of your photos & videos, and allow you to share them to various social networks quickly.

Just so you don’t think the new operating system is all about being social, and playing games, Microsoft’s ubiquitous Office suite of productivity tools.  You can have access to Office, OneNote and SharePoint Workspace as well as Outlook Mobile.

With all of this information coming into your phone, you will also be happy to learn that the tiles are going to be updated on the fly, so none of them are static.  You won’t have to tape on any of them to see if information has changed, it will be reflected right on the Start screen so you’ll be able to check on the fly whats new.

When can you expect to see the first units on the market?  Well, you’re going to have to wait for the 2010 holiday season, but at that time you will find them on mobile operators such as AT&T, Deutsche Telekom AG, Orange, SFR, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telstra, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone.  The manufacturers will include Dell, Garmin-Asus, HTC Corp., HP, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Qualcomm Inc.  And while Microsoft is dictating those three core buttons and the screen, the rest of the rest of the physical look of the phone will be up to each company, so don’t be too surprised if we see some physical QWERTY keyboards out there.

So, what do you think?  Is Microsoft about to make a big splash in the mobile device market?  You can learn more about the new OS at WindowsPhone7Series.com, but make sure to leave us some thoughts in the comments below!


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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