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Windows Mobile 7 offers a bright, fresh look that surprisingly bears no resemblance to the iPhone, unlike its competitors.

The new Windows Mobile 7, set to release this holiday season, essentially acts an Xbox handheld, a Zune video/music player, and phone rolled into one. The Music+Video hub looks almost identitcal to the Microsoft's Zune HD software.  (Source: Microsoft)

The phone also offers a clean, rich RSS-like social network feed akin to the new Google Buzz service.  (Source: Microsoft)
New mobile OS from Microsoft to launch this holiday season, hardware will be consistently high quality

There's a sort of beautiful symmetry in Microsoft's mobile phone operating system announcement which aired today at the 2010 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.  Holiday season 2009 Microsoft unleashed Windows 7, a desktop operating system that turned people's preconceptions upside down and fueled unprecedented sales.  This year it will look to do the same, with the release of Windows Mobile 7.

Forget the talk of delays (okay, so the OS will land almost in 2011), forget all the complaints about the past Windows Mobile operating systems, forget Microsoft's slipping market share; you need to look at Windows Mobile with a fresh set of eyes because it is completely different.

The first surprise is in the base operating system.  The past Windows Mobile operating system code base is about to become officially retired, relegated to some forgotten change management repository.  In its place will be an entirely new mobile phone operating system built atop the existing OS on Microsoft's Zune MP3 players.

In that respect Windows Mobile 7 could be hailed as the long awaited "Zune phone" as it shares much of the look of the Zune, with bright, flat square icons, large text and nary a chiclet in site.  The look provides the first true alternative to the iPhone (competitors like Palm and Google have largely emulated Apple's chiclet grid look) and will likely appeal to many customers.

Microsoft's phone is built around six key hubs -- People, Pictures, Games, Music+Video, Marketplace, and Office -- each a colorful and unique digital playground. 

People will stream updates from Facebook and Windows Live, sort of like a RSS feed on steroids (or the recently unveiled Google Buzz).  Despite the reinvention, people will find scraps of similarity; the Music+Video hub is virtually identical to the software on the Zune HD.  It incorporates a music/video store, a media player, and mild social networking.

Games is another place people will find familiar looks.  Games is essentially Microsoft's long awaited mobile Xbox handheld.  With the iPhone tearing up game sales charts, its clear that this is long overdue.

Marketplace will be Microsoft's rival to the App store.  Here's a surprise -- no past Windows Mobile apps will work on the phone or be in the store.  That's right, unlike some (Palm), Microsoft's OS reinvention includes wiping the slate clean with apps.  That downside is that means less apps and some unhappy developers, the upside is that customers can expect cleaner, fresher applications.  Another slight surprise is that there will be no desktop Syncing other than standard Zune syncing; everything else will be done over the air.

Office and Pictures are much like you'd expect -- a photo gallery, and a promising, improved portable version of Microsoft's Office software. 

Another critical piece of the interface is the browser -- the browser will be a multi-touch version of Internet Explorer.  While it's no shocker that it's not blazing fast given how slow its desktop brethren are, the browser still looks pretty nice.  And you can bet Opera and Mozilla already have faster browsers in the works. 

Email will be handled through a mobile Outlook client that looks to be a fusion of beauty and efficiency in a tight package.  The client has full support for Microsoft Exchange.

Microsoft is opting for an approach somewhere in between Apple's as its past mobile phone approach when it comes to hardware.  Previously it had virtually no restrictions.  Now, it's being choosy. While it still is not designing the phone itself, it has made hardware guidelines extremely strict.  Every phone must meet certain speed requirements, support multitouch, have a Bing button (for quick searching), have an FM radio built in, and meet battery life requirements.  Certain alterations, such as custom skins (like HTC's), are banned.

In short Windows Mobile 7 looks to be another dynamic holiday launch for Microsoft.  Former Microsoft VP Dick Brass (see his recent criticism) better be taking note -- because this new phone OS is arguably the most revolutionary thing to happen to the phone market since the launch of the first iPhone in 2007.  Looks like Apple might finally have a true fight on its hands for the title of trendiest smart phone.


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RE: Ballmer's done.
By Pirks on 2/15/2010 11:33:34 AM , Rating: 0
quote:
unique iPhone can only be beaten by another unique phone
From the design point of view it's not such a unique device, not more unique than any Nokia high end phone for example.

The situation for MS will be pretty grave, however, in two years when MinMo 7 is out since Jobs is already cooking up something kewl in his basement, ready to be released right before WinMo 7 to rain on MS parade real hard.

Yeah, so your prediction about Ballmer getting a boot in 5 years may hold some water given that Jobs is definitely not going to sit still for the next couple of years. By the time WinMo 7 is out Apple will have second generation of iPad and 4th or even 5th generation of iPhone on _MULTIPLE_ US carriers. I dunno what Ballmer is thinking, he can't win unless he learns to predict the future the way Jobs does but it's impossible.


RE: Ballmer's done.
By themaster08 on 2/15/2010 12:12:12 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Yeah, so your prediction about Ballmer getting a boot in 5 years may hold some water given that Jobs is definitely not going to sit still for the next couple of years. By the time WinMo 7 is out Apple will have second generation of iPad and 4th or even 5th generation of iPhone on _MULTIPLE_ US carriers.

This statement really blazes my balls, and Reader1 does the same thing. You talk as though Apple are the only ones who will make technological advances, whilst everyone else will remain the same. Whilst Apple are on their 4th iteration of the iFad (if it even gets that far) you don't think other manufacturers will be doing the same thing?

quote:
he can't win unless he learns to predict the future the way Jobs does but it's impossible.

I agree that looking to the future is important, but in some cases, it can be focussed upon too much.

Have you ever heard of the expression "ahead of it's time?

Besides, Microsoft use another very effective technique other than predicting the future. It's called listening to their customers.


RE: Ballmer's done.
By Pirks on 2/15/10, Rating: 0
RE: Ballmer's done.
By themaster08 on 2/15/2010 12:22:50 PM , Rating: 2
Nitpicking at it's finest!


RE: Ballmer's done.
By Pirks on 2/15/10, Rating: 0
RE: Ballmer's done.
By themaster08 on 2/15/2010 12:45:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
He just develops stuff he feels "right" and he polishes it to perfection by investing as much time and money as he feels is necessary to make it "right".

Perfection? Right, I get you. You mean like this, right?

http://www.dailytech.com/An+Apple+or+a+Lemon+IMacs...

quote:
Okay, so MS followed its customers, improved things in Zune, WinMo, IE and stuff... and is still losing ground.


Microsoft is losing ground? Sure. Like this?

http://www.dailytech.com/Windows+7+is+Fastestselli...

http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=17590

Where've you been lately?


RE: Ballmer's done.
By Pirks on 2/15/2010 2:56:09 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
You mean like this
Every single company has lemons (AKA random manufacturing defects) in one form or another. Not an argument.
quote:
Where've you been lately?

Here
http://marketshare.hitslink.com/os-market-share.as...
and here
http://marketshare.hitslink.com/browser-market-sha...

:P hehehe


RE: Ballmer's done.
By themaster08 on 2/15/2010 4:20:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Not an argument.

Don't make such absurd statements like this then -
quote:
he polishes it to perfection

quote:
Here http://marketshare.hitslink.com/os-market-share.as... and here http://marketshare.hitslink.com/browser-market-sha... :P hehehe

I hardly see your point. If Windows 7 was another flop it would have the same public persona as Vista. Market share is one thing, but Windows 7 is undeniably a success.


RE: Ballmer's done.
By Pirks on 2/16/2010 7:57:25 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Don't make such absurd statements
You just don't understand (yet?) the fact that any perfect product may have random manufacturing defects, it's not related to perfection at all.
quote:
Windows 7 is undeniably a success
Ah, now I see, you're trying to slip out by replacing Windows in general with just one version, namely Windows 7.

Nice try :) hehehe


RE: Ballmer's done.
By themaster08 on 2/16/2010 12:11:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You just don't understand (yet?) the fact that any perfect product may have random manufacturing defects, it's not related to perfection at all.

quote:
Perfect - excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement.

Considering malfunctioning defects can be improved upon, such products are not perfect. Unless of course, you mean that as an oxymoron.

quote:
Ah, now I see, you're trying to slip out by replacing Windows in general with just one version, namely Windows 7.

Considering the link I provided circumnavigated at Windows 7, I can't see how I'm slipping away from anything.

Besides, the original point you made was that Microsoft are losing ground. Mentioning other versions of Windows would be defunct on the grounds that they are the past, and Windows 7 is now.


RE: Ballmer's done.
By Pirks on 2/16/2010 5:46:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
malfunctioning defects can be improved upon
Randomness cannot be improved upon. You walk normal but you randomly fall, rare but still do, say you slip on ice once in a while or whatever. Try to improve upon that randomness. This should help you to understand.
quote:
they are the past, and Windows 7 is now
In other words, older Windows loses ground much quicker than newer Windows reclaims it. Too bad for MS :P


RE: Ballmer's done.
By themaster08 on 2/17/2010 6:10:41 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Too bad for MS

Too bad for your failed attempt at twisting the truth.


RE: Ballmer's done.
By Pirks on 2/17/2010 2:02:24 PM , Rating: 2
Which truth? About declining Windows market share? But it's not me making those market share graphs, and you know it. So why picking on me then?


RE: Ballmer's done.
By Aberforth on 2/15/2010 12:48:10 PM , Rating: 2
Well, MS sucks at marketing...that's all. They introduced tablets, mobile phones and technologies long before apple did, in fact the Tablet is still BillyG's favorite gadget. Don't look at statistics, MS has a tremendous footprint all over the world unlike Apple and will never lose the market share because they will fight to death to compete, it's in their nature to dilute a market in order to balance the market share.


RE: Ballmer's done.
By sxr7171 on 2/15/2010 3:44:45 PM , Rating: 2
They suck at releasing a usable product. Bill Gates himself years ago proclaimed the Tablet the wave of the future. The only thing they released for it was One Note. Any MS fan saw the hype behind tablet PCs years ago and it was pushed hard.

In all these years when you look at Win 7 touch it looks sadly pathetic. MS Office has not been adapted to touch either. Just OneNote. No they basically didn't put any heart into their tablet software and still they are behind to the point that Apple can release such JUNK as the iPad and still sell more.

I don't like the iPad one bit, but I still think its better than anything MS released. At least it can be a "couch browser" but Win 7 touch as it stands isn't really even good for that. I hope it changes this year, but my bets on Tablets are on Android.


RE: Ballmer's done.
By Donkeyshins on 2/15/2010 12:54:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
How about this one: Jobs succeds precisely because he doesn't listen to some "customers". He just develops stuff he feels "right" and he polishes it to perfection by investing as much time and money as he feels is necessary to make it "right".


That's worked great for the steaming turds that are Apple TV and iPad.

quote:
While at the same time MS thinks its "customers" may give it ideas for its next product. Okay, so MS followed its customers, improved things in Zune, WinMo, IE and stuff... and is still losing ground. How come? ;) Aren't they supposed to gain market share quickly past few years? What happened man? Did they just stop listening to their customers? Why


I would argue that this has more to do with the fact that "iPod" has become synonymous with "MP3 player" for the vast majority of people the same as "Google" has become synonymous with "Internet Search Engine". Not because Apple (or Google) invented the technology, but more because they really nailed it and have been (to a certain extent) coasting on the name recognition.

And I agree with you - fire Ballmer (and figure out if MS can bring back Jeff Raikes from the Gates Foundation as the new CEO).


RE: Ballmer's done.
By Pirks on 2/15/2010 2:59:42 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
That's worked great for the steaming turds that are Apple TV and iPad
Trying to pwn a product that nobody has public sales data for and another product that has not even been released? Is that all you got? :))) hehe


RE: Ballmer's done.
By sxr7171 on 2/15/2010 3:47:17 PM , Rating: 2
Apple TV is a failure. iPad would be a failure but yeah the Apple hype machine has helped it tremendously. What it takes is one good Android based tablet and some common sense among consumers.


RE: Ballmer's done.
By scrapsma54 on 2/15/2010 8:07:35 PM , Rating: 2
Everytime I see Ballmer and he says developers, I keep thinking he is going burst out and start ranting about them.


RE: Ballmer's done.
By scrapsma54 on 2/15/2010 7:56:02 PM , Rating: 2
One thing Microsoft got right on infinite levels was the social networkings of Xbox live. That is undeniable and the one service that profits MS as much as cheap mass marketing of ipod sales profit apple from the shuffle to the iphone.

quote:
Besides, Microsoft use another very effective technique other than predicting the future. It's called listening to their customers.

Well played, themaster08, well played.


"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates














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