Print 115 comment(s) - last by Pirks.. on Feb 17 at 2:02 PM

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: No apple fan here but....
By Pirks on 2/15/2010 11:55:40 AM , Rating: -1
at some point MS will own it if they choose to
MS chose to own mobile market with WinMo, console market with Xbox and internet with IE. They're losing on all three of these fronts. I wish I were as wildly optimistic as you, however I can't help but notice some truth in reader1's words about Ballmer getting the boot in 5 years. I'd say he may get the boot indeed, if MS continues lagging behind and losing market share everywhere, like they did for a few recent years.

I mean, if Ballmer can persuade shareholders that slipping market share is less important than revenue... then maybe he'll survive, but that's not quite clear for now.
They have the time and money to do it.
Haha, forget about money part -> <- MS has the same amount of cash reserve as Apple. The time? Yeah, maybe they have some time but what they will do with this time if their chief competitor in mobile space has same amount of money but way more experience than them? I don't see any chance for MS until Jobs leaves the helm, and who knows when this gonna happen :P

RE: No apple fan here but....
By namechamps on 2/15/2010 3:11:11 PM , Rating: 3
That is simply because MSFT saw no reason to have more cash.

MSFT at one time hoarded substantially more cash but given its size it is unlikely it will ever get regulatory approval to buy out a $100B competitor.

As such MSFT started returning a lot of cash to shareholders ($4.4B just last year) in form of dividend.

MSFT still had $6.7B NET cashflow in Q4 (compared to $3.4B). They have the ability to buy a ticket to any dance they want to attend.

RE: No apple fan here but....
By retrospooty on 2/16/2010 7:24:58 AM , Rating: 2
RE: No apple fan here but....
By retrospooty on 2/16/2010 7:37:59 AM , Rating: 3
nt to post this too.

MY Point is if they want it they can do it. If they decide to put in effort and make IE better they can do if they want. they do still have the vastly largest share of the market - suck or not IE is still by far the most used.

XBOX is the same thing. They made it and tried the market, but they didnt make a descision to "own the market" ... Much like with WinMobile and ZUNE - it was just a project not a focus.

My point is that IF MS decides to really make the best mobile OS and put thier best teams on it and make it #1 they can. == To this point they have not and Win Mobile sucks rocks - big rocks. But do not count them out.

RE: No apple fan here but....
By Pirks on 2/16/2010 5:19:13 PM , Rating: 2
if they want it they can do it
You'd better tell me the most tricky part - why they DON'T want it?

RE: No apple fan here but....
By adiposity on 2/16/2010 6:40:15 PM , Rating: 2
You can't really compare the dominance of the Windows OS to the future quality of untested products. While I use Windows, and like many things about it, I wouldn't necessarily say it is dominant because MS decided to make it the best.

The Windows OS has huge momentum going for it and it's not easily replaced for most users. Therefore the huge market share can more be attributed to "mindshare" than quality.

Therefore, your argument that their huge marketshare in the desktop OS means they can deliver an excellent mobile OS does not follow. From the sound of things, they are making the hard choices that were required: dropping WinMo 6 and going with a modified Zune OS. However, we don't know if this will result in a good product or not, or if it will catch on.

RE: No apple fan here but....
By Pirks on 2/16/2010 7:39:57 AM , Rating: 1
why are you showing me the graph where Windows loses market share while Mac gains it? you wanna prove my point? that's not necessary, but thanks anyway.

RE: No apple fan here but....
By retrospooty on 2/16/2010 1:34:21 PM , Rating: 2
uhhh... 92% vs 5%. that PRETTY MUCH makes my point that MS owns that Market.

Separate issue but if you didnt notice, Macs "meteoric" (LOL) rise from 3.5 to 5% over the past few years stopped in October 2009. Its going down now too.

RE: No apple fan here but....
By Pirks on 2/16/2010 5:27:46 PM , Rating: 1
that PRETTY MUCH makes my point that MS owns that Market
It also PRETTY MUCH makes my point about Windows constantly losing market share :P

RE: No apple fan here but....
By Pirks on 2/16/10, Rating: 0
RE: No apple fan here but....
By retrospooty on 2/16/2010 7:54:34 PM , Rating: 2
you are truly hopeless - LOL

Nothing I have said here is fanboyish. Its all fact. I post a chart showing marketshare and state that MS has the money and time to do whatever they want to do. You of course being a TRUE fanboy take that as an insult to your precious Apple. It wasn't attacking Apple, just saying a well known fact that MS owns the OS market, not by a little, but by a huge margin.

I even go one further and said that Win Mobile is a POS. Its a Total POS - although I havent seen Winmob 7, I doubt it will be great like the iPhone OS. Not yet anyhow, not unless they put alot of effort into it.

RE: No apple fan here but....
By Pirks on 2/16/10, Rating: 0
RE: No apple fan here but....
By themaster08 on 2/17/2010 5:49:20 AM , Rating: 2
Mac gained marketshare, that's all fine and dandy. But the original point wasn't about gaining or losing marketshare, it was about initial market share. Perhaps the OP would have been better off posting plain figures.

The way you twist the truth to suit your own half baked argument is quite ridiculous. I'm sure you can do better than that.

At least with a fanboy, they stick to their opinions. Your view shifts depending upon who posted what, because you somehow think your posts balance the argument.

But the truth is, no one really knows what you're trying to be, because even when plain facts are posted, you avoid the truth to stir up an argument, not to balance it.

I've come to the conclusion that you're worse than reader1. He might be an absolute asshat but at least he keeps Jobs's balls in his mouth. You have Ballmer's left ball and Job's right.

RE: No apple fan here but....
By Pirks on 2/17/2010 1:45:17 PM , Rating: 1
the original point wasn't about gaining or losing marketshare, it was about initial market share
You say so because it serves your version of reality better. You notice only the large market share of MS but pretend to be blind when I show you how this large market share keeps shrinking. You should learn to be objective, not a fanboy. Notice everything, stop pretending you're blind when it serves you.

RE: No apple fan here but....
By retrospooty on 2/17/2010 7:23:45 AM , Rating: 2
I see that it went down from 93.5 to 92%. That isnt relevent to this conversation. This was about MS owning that market and they do. They put their mind to owning it, they put together a plan and an OS and made it happen. Your fanboy ass saw this and took offense and made it a Mac issue. Now you saw I am ignoring the fact that it went down? No, I see it went down - I am ignoring something that it totally irrelevant to this thread.

You are twisted my friend. Your overcompensation is transparent. Its big enough, stop thinking about it - OK?

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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