Monday, October 11, 2010

Microsoft launches Windows Phone 7, hopes to boost sales

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer introduced his company's latest offering into the smartphone industry, Windows Phone 7, Monday morning in New York.

Microsoft is going the Google/Android route by developing software and allowing hardware manufacturers to create the handsets. Customers will get touchscreen thin handsets as well as QWERTY keyboard devices.

Ballmer describes the new phones, which will be GSM only for now (read: no Verizon) as "different" and "more modern" in design and usage.

He said the new phone focuses on how real people want to use their handsets.

The device will use something called Windows Phone Hubs, which appear as large box-shaped tile displays on the phone. They react in real time. Get a new email or a voicemail or even Twitter or Facebook updates, and the "hub" changes on your home screen.

The phone ships with six hubs: People, Pictures, Music/Video, Games Hub, Office and the Market (for apps).

The phone also can connect to Xbox Live. And the hubs are totally customizable.

There's a hard button to snap a photo with the camera which also helps access on board photos. Microsoft said uploading photos to the cloud is a snap.

Microsoft Office is also included here with a mobile version of Outlook and office document support. Users can also edit Office files from the phone, but until early next year the phone cannot copy and paste (ugh).

This could be huge for business users.

Is this going to be the device to get Microsoft on the field with Apple and Google and RIM? The devices out so far look slick and more and more customers are trying smartphones. The market is expected to grow to nearly 300 million sold devices next year from about 190 million expected this year.

The phone will be available in several versions from AT&T and T-Mobile for $199 with a two-year contract.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure the Windows Phone 7 will be fine, but Microsoft is much more reactive in recent years than proactive. Chart of the Day would seem to agree:

Anonymous said...

I barely (and by barely I mean maybe twice) ever use copy & paste but the fact that Microsoft can't include a feature currently available on every other smartphone doesn't inspire much confidence about the future.

John Keels said...

"Microsoft is much more reactive in recent years than proactive". Since when was there a year that they WEREN'T reactive. That is how M$ has always functioned. Now when I say that I am not suggesting that they haven't released some excellent products. They have had some real duds as well (Win ME anyone? Vista?). But they have Win 7 (which is pretty good), Xbox360 (which is good), and now I imagine that actually the Windows Phone 7 will be pretty good as time moves forward. From the little I have seen it reminds me of a phone version of Zune interface which in itself doesn't seem bad to me.

Nonetheless, Microsoft has a history of being reactive to the industry and then very shrewd in their response as opposed to leading the industry with innovations. There is good and bad in all of it.

One thing that I do consider a reasonable positive innovation on the part of microsoft is the whole windows server environment along with active directory services. Apple does NOT have something that is truly comparable to this along with SCCM, etc for enterprise deployment of Windows XP, Server, and Win 7. No comparison there though apple is pretty good for a personal home computer or maybe a business computer in a creative industry (publishing, film, graphics, photography, imaging, etc).

Anonymous said...

I heard Ballmer purposely tried to leave their Windows Phone 7 prototype at a bar a few months ago, but no one noticed...

Anonymous said...

@Will. I see your point, but as a first stab, Cut and Paste is hardly a killer app. Sure it will make it in eventually, but if MS waited to launch this product until it was absolutely perfect, then we might have to wait another year or two (or better yet, never at all!). Instead, they're launching this thing with a few key features and they're doing them well and in a new and innovative way. Lesser used features will make it eventually, but they hardly define the platform as a not inspiring confidence. Although I'm skeptical, at least they are attempting to be innovative this time around. If they fail, so be it. I applaud the effort.

windows mobile application development said...

Will the WP7S have support for remote controlling from the earbuds? This is the only thing I don't like about the ZuneHD, if you want to change the volume or skip to the next song you have to take the ZuneHD out of your pocket.

I really hope this won't be the issue with WP7S