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Windows Phone 7 launches

Windows Phone 7 launches

Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 will be first available on devices including Samsung's Omnia smartphone.

Microsoft has officially launched Windows Phone 7, the latest in its previously-titled Windows Mobile line of portable device operating systems, and it's taking a swing at Google's Android along the way.

Launched at an official press event this afternoon, with live high-definition footage being beamed to London from New York and vice-versa, Windows Phone 7 marks a reboot for the company's mobile offerings, offering a much more consistent experience across devices.

After a brief showing by outspoken chief executive Steve Ballmer, who took the opportunity to take a swing at the increasingly fragmented Android platform by reassuring press that Windows Phone 7 would offer a consistent software experience across all devices, and a not-terribly UK-centric speech from AT&T chief Ralph De La Vega, Windows Phone 7 developer Joe Belfiore launched a walk-through of the changes that have been made since Windows Mobile 6.5.

The biggest alteration to the platform is the concept of 'hubs:' tiles that offer access to various handset capabilities, allowing you to categorise your usage according to need. Showing off the hub feature, Belfiore demonstrated some hubs from his own handset, mostly concentrating on the social networking integration and gaming features of Windows Phone 7 - about which more in a moment.

Attendees at the event were also treated to a look at the messaging hub, which offers a unified inbox that will be a welcome addition to the platform for Exchange users. Also demonstrated was the in-built Microsoft Office compatibility, with Belfiore claiming that the support for common Office file types built in to Windows Phone 7 is significantly more powerful than that of third-party solutions on other platforms.

The big theme with Windows Phone 7 is the cloud: as well as tapping in to Microsoft's cloud computing platform to power the voice search functionality in much the same way as Android does with Google's cloud, the Internet connectivity of the handset is used to provide a richer experience by pulling in things like contact details, photos, and status updates from services including Twitter and Facebook.

The other major feature that Microsoft was keen to show off at the event was the handset's gaming credentials. As has been known for a while, Windows Phone 7 promises tight integration with the company's Xbox Live platform: users already registered on the Xbox Live service from their Xbox 360 will see their familiar avatar on their handset, while achievements - yes, there's achievements - and other activity will be logged onto the GamerTag as with other Xbox Live games.

Electronic Arts came forward as a launch partner, announcing that a Windows Phone 7 version of The Sims will be one of the first games available on the platform, and Belfiore stating that developers can use the familiar XNA tools from the Xbox Live Arcade to develop their WIndows Phone 7 titles - possibly heralding a slew of quick ports of existing XBLA titles.

As far as hardware goes, that was left up to the networks themselves to publicise: Samsung's Omnia, a 4in Super-AMOLED device with 1GHZ CPU, 8GB of storage, and a 5 megapixel camera has been confirmed by Orange and Three, while Orange - in its role as chief partner of Windows Phone 7 in the UK - went one better than its rivals and snagged a UK exclusive on the HTC 7 Mozart 3.7in handset with 8 megapixel camera. Four other handsets will also be launching across multiple networks.

For those of you salivating over when you might get to play with such devices, general availability is scheduled for the 21st of October.

Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

23 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
l3v1ck 12th October 2010, 10:27 Quote
It's quite impressive that they managed to tear Mr Fry away from his iPhone.
Snips 12th October 2010, 10:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by l3v1ck
It's quite impressive that they managed to tear Mr Fry away from his iPhone.

You're Kidding? Shock, awe and amazement. Mr Fry is all things Apple and even sings the praises of Google. Remember his rant on twitter last year when he was trying to get a Vaio to connect wirelessly and cursed Microsoft. Maybe this is him apologising.

Still think he's ace though and I for one will be upgrading my handset to a WM7 device.
mars-bar-man 12th October 2010, 13:07 Quote
Are we going to be able to upgrade the OS to WinMo 7? I want it for my HD2!!
<A88> 12th October 2010, 13:10 Quote
No, but if you get over to the XDA Developers forums I'm pretty sure they've ported it to the HD2.

Microsoft has very stringent hardware specs for WP7 so there'll be no upgrades from older devices. Nevertheless it looks incredibly clean and speedy and I'm glad they've finally managed to bridge their different brands into one device. When it comes to upgrading my Pre next year I'm going to have a headache on my hands.
mars-bar-man 12th October 2010, 13:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by <A88>
No, but if you get over to the XDA Developers forums I'm pretty sure they've ported it to the HD2.

Microsoft has very stringent hardware specs for WP7 so there'll be no upgrades from older devices. Nevertheless it looks incredibly clean and speedy and I'm glad they've finally managed to bridge their different brands into one device. When it comes to upgrading my Pre next year I'm going to have a headache on my hands.

Looks like I may be doing that then, shame really. I believe the HD2 specs are enough to run WinMo7, but oh well. Over to XDA I go then.
<A88> 12th October 2010, 13:23 Quote
Yeah you're right, the specs are fine, it's more just the softkey requirements- there's no dedicated search button for example, but you could easily use one of the others.
Matticus 12th October 2010, 13:40 Quote
Orange better not molest it with any stupid branding. I will never forgive them for deflowering my Desire. *shakes fist*.

I need to get my hands on one of these phones though, might have enough money soon to just buy one outright, need to get developing for it!
Xonar 12th October 2010, 13:46 Quote
Been looking forward to this release for ages, definitely going to be replacing my iPhone with a HD7 soon as they hit the shelves :D
Krikkit 12th October 2010, 14:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matticus
Orange better not molest it with any stupid branding. I will never forgive them for deflowering my Desire. *shakes fist*.

They will, it's their way to completely ruin every phone they get their hands on with branding and crap. All you can hope for is that it's less rather than more.
Sanzy 12th October 2010, 14:41 Quote
The windows 7 does look interesting i just hope that they sort out some of the features which are missing.
<A88> 12th October 2010, 15:14 Quote
Copy & Paste is coming early 2011, hopefuly mutlitasking will follow soon enough.
B1GBUD 12th October 2010, 18:46 Quote
A well timed release? or should it really have taken almost a year (to the day) since Win 7 was released. Might pop down to Orange Retail to have a butchers
ocha 12th October 2010, 19:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krikkit
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matticus
Orange better not molest it with any stupid branding. I will never forgive them for deflowering my Desire. *shakes fist*.

They will, it's their way to completely ruin every phone they get their hands on with branding and crap. All you can hope for is that it's less rather than more.

With WP7 it's very hard to kill the UI with operator branding. At most they can change the tile colour / backgrounding colours, both of which you can change and load on their own applications, which you SHOULD be able to delete
Nexxo 12th October 2010, 19:10 Quote
It makes the iPhone look almost old. An excellent piece of work by Microsoft's design team.
jrs77 12th October 2010, 19:21 Quote
So what about the people, who screamed at Apple for not allowing any modifications to their iOS, or not allowing any other software on their device that's not officially approved and bought through iTunes?

Microsoft does exactly the same with WinMo7 now *lmfao*

Oh you gotta love the world, when it's black and white, without any shades of grey... do you?
GoodBytes 12th October 2010, 21:17 Quote
As mentions Copy & Paste is coming in early 2011 (from Microsoft).
And Flash will follow soon after Windows Phone 7 is release (from Microsoft).
I guess, Adobe is still working on it, or started to work on it (maybe it was a topic in that secret meeting they did).

True Multi-tasking will come if there is a real demand after the phone is release, it would be interesting to see what Microsoft has implemented now... if anything. Rumor was saying that they wont' be multitasking but if you have an application that plays music/internet radio, your can do other stuff on the phone while it plays. I don't know if that was implemented or not (just rumors).

One thing that will be missing, is HTML5 support from IE. I have no read any news on when it will be implemented.. maybe at it's first SP (if they do Service Packs like they do in Windows)?

It is cool that they included the ability to track your lost phone (and I think even remotely delete everything), like the iPhone. And that you only need to log-in once to all your social network at one place, and that is all you need.

The Zune software integration was a nice idea... At least it brings everything onto 1 software, like what Apple does very well (everything integrated well to iTunes). Zune software is a very nice multimedia software (massacre iTunes in all aspects) , and I think it needs to be given a look by everyone. What I like about it, is that you don't need serious power to run it, as you can cut down on the visuals in the program options. And when you play a music, it really puts the artist into value. Like you see the album art playing as a very nice slide show, and you can get more info on the artists, and even get songs/artists that was inspired or related.
rollo 12th October 2010, 22:34 Quote
Zune ain't even out in uk so can't say I've checked out software

We will see on this

Apple and Microsoft both a locked platform only android not not a big surprise

iTunes vs zune
Apple vs ms

Let fanboy wars commends
ocha 12th October 2010, 22:43 Quote
Zune software is out in the UK now, zune marketplace and zune pass are also working now I believe
GoodBytes 12th October 2010, 23:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo
Zune ain't even out in uk so can't say I've checked out software
it should be out. You have 14-day trial of the Zune pass if you want.
Software (32 and 64-bit available): http://www.zune.net/en-US/products/software/download/default.htm
Your lucky, you have music marketplace and Zune pass... all we have in Canada is to be able to purchase Music Video's... so we have Music videos... but no music.... get your head around THAT! Anyway, I still use the Zune software to manage my music, and well sync my Zune 120.

Quote:
iTunes vs zune
Actually anything beats iTunes. It's really not hard to do.
eddtox 13th October 2010, 09:06 Quote
There is one thing, and one thing only, that I like about iTunes - Cover Flow.
That being said, the software seems to get slower and slower with every update (especially on my ageing Compaq P4 desktop), so I think I might have to move to something else. I didn't know you could get Zune pass in the uk, so I might give them a try :)
Snips 13th October 2010, 09:32 Quote
Zune actually feels ok. Downloaded it yesterday and was quite impressed with the layout and style. Picked up my server music and everything elsse without any real hassle.

Not really sure why it's needed since WMP does it all but looks like iTunes.
dullonien 13th October 2010, 10:28 Quote
Certainly going to upgrade to WM7 when I can. I think I'm already allowed to upgrade, so just gotta wait for the phones to hit market really.

I like the look of the HTC Mozart, great design that's getting away from the iPhone copies. I'm also not keen on the oversized HTC HD style phones, so this is a nice size imo. Could do with a higher res screen to keep up with the iPhone 4 / Samsung GalaxyS, but I'm sure it'll be fine for me as I'm not a big fan of watching video on my mobile or gaming.

The biggest problem I have with all the HTC Win7 phones is that none of them have MicroSD slots, or any upgradeable storage atall. I use my current phone (LG Arena) as my mp3 player, so storage space is important. My Arena has 8GB onboard + I have a 16GB MicroSD card. I'm not sure if I'll be able to downgrade from 24GB to 8GB, so I may wait to see what Samsung etc. do, and see if LG brings any other WM7 decises out.

Edit: anyone know if the HTC's have glass screens? It's one of my favourite features of my Arena (scratch resistant too), as it means the screen always stays pristine which is importand on a touchscreen phone imo. Also helps make the phone feel much more solid than the likes of the Samsung Galaxy's.
Risky 13th October 2010, 12:03 Quote
Well I'm a longstanding Windows Mobile user but I don't think I can bring myself to go with WinPhone7. There is tight integration of stuff I don't use (XBox Live, Facbook, Twitter) and a lack of support for stuff I'd want such as cut'n'paste, storage cards.

I'm going to have to find out if I can live with Android but it sounds like outlook sync will be a mess. Again I don't want to be forced into using gmail just to suit them.
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