October 11, 2010

Microsoft unveils Windows Phone 7: a new dimension to smartphones

Microsoft has finally launched the smartphone the world was waiting for – the Windows Phone 7. The smashing smartphone first showcased earlier [check our previous post] in the year aims at integrating all things that people really want to do but putting them right in front of them – so they can either get done with them or get completely into them. Currently 9 devices will run on Windows 7 – three each from HTC, Samsung and LG

The phone uses an elegant operating system that is very different from the current trend toward app-focused phones. Instead it provides active and configurable interface elements called tiles that update on the fly with real information, allowing users to place the tiles that interest them most where they want on their Start screen. Facebook photos, music and contacts are pulled into the phone and distributed appropriately across Hubs. It also brings together many of Microsoft’s popular offerings from other platforms, including Xbox, Zune, Office and Bing.

The phone’s interface features Hubs for categories such as People, Music and video, Photos, Games and Office. These Hubs are never more than a few screens away, no matter how deep the user navigates within the phone. The People Hub, for example, pulls in Facebook status updates from friends as well as providing the more obvious contact information and phone numbers. Users can take actions like responding to updates or sending a text message right from the People Hub rather than having to find and launch a particular app. The Hubs also update live, pulling in pictures and information so that in many cases a glance and a couple of clicks will be all that users need to bring themselves up to date with phone messages, e-mail and what is happening with friends and colleagues.

Let’s take a look at all of these features:

  • Start Screen (Blue) – The Start screen on Windows Phone 7 puts what’s most important to phone users front-and-center, making it obvious and accessibleWindows Phone 7
  • People Hub: Friends & Contact Info, Connect on the Go – The People Hub is meant to be “Command Central” for how people communicate today, pulling in Facebook status updates and providing contact information and phone numbers. Users can take actions like responding to updates or sending a text message right from the Hub.People hub windowsn phone
  • Games Hub: Xbox LIVE Integration- More than just a games folder, the Games Hub is a centralized place for accessing games, finding new ones and connecting with friends. It extends the Xbox LIVE social gaming experience and delivers a mobile gaming experience users can only get on Windows Phone 7.Xbox windows phone 7
  • Productivity on the Go: Office Hub – The Microsoft Office Hub provides mobile versions of familiar Microsoft Office applications including Microsoft Word Mobile, Excel Mobile, and PowerPoint Mobile to view and edit documents. Users can also access information via Microsoft SharePoint Workspace Mobile 2010Office windows phone 7
  • Pictures Hub: Take & Share Pictures – Windows Phone 7 includes a dedicated camera button that works even when a phone is locked to help capture that important shot. Windows Phone also makes it easy to enjoy pictures, share them with others and view and comment on others’ pictures from this Hub.Pictures windows phone 7
  • Music + Videos Hub – The Music + Videos Hub puts all media in one place, including songs, videos and podcasts. Users can listen to FM radio or stream and download music from the Web. Zune Marketplace is also part of the experience, enabling users to explore new media while on the go and share with friends.Music Video Windows phone 7
  • Local Search: Integrated Bing Search – Windows Phone 7 delivers an integrated Bing Search experience, built-in GPS and Bing Maps. Local search provides quick access to phone numbers, ratings and reviews, and directions. In select locations, choose from driving or walking routes, view street-level images and real-time traffic updates.Search windows phone 7

The news is that the phone will make its debut in some European markets on Oct. 21 and in time for the holidays in the U.S. Microsoft has asked all its to shift to this phone as soon as it is launched…well, don’t I wish I was a Microsoft employee.. 🙂