Whilst the exciting announcement of Windows Phone 7 Series yesterday raises many questions itself, a lot of existing Windows Phone, specifically Windows Mobile 6.5 users are also left pondering what will happen to the current platform and more importantly the devices we have today. During an interview with Microsoft today, I found out the short answer is that Microsoft is not dropping the ball entirely.
Going forward, Windows Mobile 6.5 (and Windows Mobile 6.5.3) will be rebranded as Windows Phones Classic, and presumably the devices as Windows Phones Classic Series. Although this will not be reflected in retail until the release of WP7S, it does signify that Microsoft is committed to not just sustaining but potentially growing the current platform for some time to come.
To compliment WP7S’ focus on consumers, Windows Phones Classic will shift its focus to emerging markets and enterprise solutions. Notably one of the important reasons for this is to provide legacy support to all the existing investments made by OEMs and third-party developers to this platform.
Although Microsoft is not revealing what if any they have planned for updates to 6.5 platform, they did suggest 6.5.3 was indicative of the type of ongoing support the platform is likely to receive in the future.
Here is the Windows Phone 7 Series promotional video which Microsoft showed during their Mobile World Congress 2010 press conference today for your viewing or re-viewing pleasure. In a video clearly positioned against the Apple iPhone, Microsoft insists the industry has “become a sea of sameness and a focus on apps over the phone experience itself”.
Although as short as it may be, it does sum up what Microsoft positions WP7S to be, and that is, an integrated experience across activities and services blurring the boundary between applications.
P.S. I don’t recall the last time people cheered at a Microsoft event as much as they did during this press conference, but there was genuine excitement in the room as this reveal unfolded. A very well-produced presentation throughout.
Although Microsoft is not talking about third party applications or the marketplace on the Windows Phone 7 Series here this week at Mobile World Congress 2010, a promotional interactive banner at the event is indicating that there will be one unified “Marketplace” for applications, games and music.
With the inclusion of music in this marketplace and all the other Zune integration on WP7S, one can only presume this is the Zune Marketplace in which case I’m going to have to ponder if this device is going to be as region-specific as the Zune. Hopefully for all of us outside of the US, the answer to that is no.
Update: From the press release, there will indeed be a “Marketplace” hub which “allows the user to easily discover and load the phone with certified applications and games.”
Tom Warren and I just got out of a short but sweet private demonstration of Windows Phone 7 Series in a series of dungeon-like rooms here at Mobile World Congress 2010. Suffice to say the Zune HD-like user experience looks even better upfront and personal.
Here’s a bunch of closeup photos of the phone, user interface and a Microsoft representative’s hands.
One feature of the user interface that was not explained at all in the press conference was that the arrow button in the top-right of the “home screen” actually takes you to a more traditional Start-menu like list where you can browse all the applications.
Subsequently I also got some photos from the Calculator and Dialer application which show off a more traditional single-screen application experience that reflects the new look and feel although the lack of menu icons on the Dialer might suggest it’s still in development.
Whilst Microsoft representatives made it quite clear the build shown off today is not quite final and that was reflected in a number of minor connectivity issues we witnessed during our 30-minute demonstration, but having said, the OS itself appeared quite solid and stable as the applications that broke subsequently recovered without any intervention.
Overall I’ve been pleasantly surprised and impressed by what they’ve shown off today and it’s a great sign that not only has Microsoft taken a giant leap forward in the mobile space, but also is offering something that is far different to Windows Mobile today if not everything else on the market.
Today is Windows phone day. Join Tom Warren and I as we bring you the Microsoft Press Conference live from Mobile World Congress 2010 where Microsoft is expected to make several announcements relating to its mobile strategy including but not limited to Windows Mobile 7.
Reader note: As we’re trying something new, comments from viewers are enabled by default and automatically added to the live stream. If you wish to only read entries from Tom and myself, disable reader comments using the chat bubble icon second from the left.
Using CSI-caliber pixel forensics, the details from the FCC filing diagram match feature-for-feature to the renders of the device leaked by Gizmodo last year. Sharp who has submitted this application and is also manufacturing the device was also responsible for producing the Danger Sidekick device which Microsoft acquired.
Besides the device being identified as a “slide dual-band CDMA phone with Bluetooth/WLAN” and having passed FCC authorization so it won’t melt the brains of its users, not much else can be gathered from this sighting, like it’s USB ID. Nevertheless, I’m sure Microsoft will have more to say about this pebble phone in the days to come.
User experience entrepreneur
I'm a person and stuff. Mostly person, sometimes stuff. Proud introvert.
I make/made stuff people love to use: Omny Studio: enterprise podcast hosting, PTVGlass: Melbourne bus, tram & train timetable on Google Glass, Map2Glass: type and send addresses to Google Glass, SoundGecko: text-to-speech web reader, ChevronWP7: Windows Phone community unlocking, MetroTwit: Twitter app for Windows, Speedo Plus: Windows Phone GPS app, Bing Image Archive: browse daily backgrounds and Windows UI Taskforce: crowdsourced bug tracker.