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Copy/Paste and CDMA support is coming to Windows Phone 7 next month
Microsoft is working hard to solidify its new product as a market leading player

Microsoft isn't looking for slow and steady gains with Windows Phone 7 (WP7); it's looking to conquer the market.  Much like it did with the Xbox 360, Microsoft is looking to jump directly to second with a new partnership with the world's leading phone-maker Nokia.

But whether it can attain that favorable position, as with its gaming console, depends on how good the company's product is.  Fortunately for Windows Phone 7, the product is shaping up to improve dramatically in coming months.

At the Mobile World Conference 2011 in Barcelona, Spain, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced [video] that WP7's first major update would be delivered in just weeks in "early March".  That update will most notably bring copy and paste.  It is also adds CDMA support, which means that Verizon and Sprint WP7 handsets should be airing around the same time.  And it also will reportedly improve the performance of a number of key system pieces.

But that's not all.  "Later this year" an update will land which delivers a mobile version of Internet Explorer 9, complete with hardware acceleration.  Microsoft showed off the new browser smoking an iPhone 4's Mobile Safari in a speed test.  The only disappointment is that Flash wasn't mentioned, indicating that Microsoft may opt to "follow in Apple's line" and go HTML5-only.   But Mr. Ballmer did promise the "full" internet, so it's possible that Flash just was coincidently not mentioned.

And another update is also in store.  With that third update, multi-tasking will at last be opened up to third party apps.  The implementation looks pretty intuitive -- press and hold the back arrow key to get a card list of running apps.  Games are paused briefly when you switch back to them, to give you time to react.  And Microsoft says that the multi-tasking is all done without gobbling up battery-life.

Finally, for the Twitter lovers out there, Microsoft is working to integrate the feature in its people hub, hence perpetuating the evil of micro-blogging.

Former Microsoft Canada executive and new Nokia CEO Stephen Elop made a guest appearance at Ballmer's keynote.  He gushed, "Microsoft has a very modern collection of tools to help developers. Unquestionably the most operator-friendly ecosystem today... Microsoft and Nokia together represent a natural partnership. People are getting it."

Mr. Ballmer announced that the WP7 platform is now up to 8,000 apps, and that it has 1 million active developers.

And Microsoft had a few tricks up its sleeve.  It showed off a fourth slick update to Windows Phone 7 that allows the device to interact with the Kinect motion sensor for the Xbox 360.  The new interface allows users to control aspects of Kinect games, for new multiplayer challenges.

That update is coming this year as well.

So to recap on this flurry of updates to WP7 that are incoming this year we have:

  1. Copy and Paste, CDMA support (early March)
  2. Third-party multi-tasking (2011)
  3. Mobile Internet Explorer 9 (2011)
  4. Kinect connectivity (2011)
With the launch of iOS 5 and Android 3.0 Honeycomb coming up, it remains to be seen whether the late-2011 WP7 is completely caught up to the competition.  But the platform already sports one of the most intuitive and unique interfaces, tossing out the chiclet grid design used by iOS and largely used by Android.  With a bit more polish, Windows Phone 7 could be a legitimate contender to Android in second place.


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RE: Updates
By Azethoth on 2/14/2011 8:48:35 PM , Rating: 1
It does not exist because MS fails at Zune and music in general. Therefore the only thing that truly matters is docking an iDevice.

Microsoft could coopt the iPod ecosystem but sadly Windows Media Player (and therefore Windows Media Center) can not under any circumstances play an Apple lossless file (m4a + ALAC). So as soon as you rip a CD to ALAC thats game over for MS, they take their marbles home and through either incompetence or malice refuse to both play the file via a codec and file it as music in their library system. Totally useless and clueless.

Long rant short, you do not want MS in charge of your music at the moment.


RE: Updates
By noirsoft on 2/15/2011 2:43:18 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft fails because Apple won't allow them to? Of course, since WMA is equal in every respect to AAC, there's no need ever use AAC/ALAC unless you are locked in to Apple's entirely closed ecosystem. Oh, and you also get better D/A converters, better interface and subscription content as well.


RE: Updates
By woofersus on 2/15/2011 3:35:01 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention why would you use the restrictive iTunes if you didn't have to? I have a whopping 0 AAC/ALAC files and the only device I'd have trouble getting to play them is an iPod.


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