Well, here it is – the big announcement. Winodws Phone 7 Series is, as we’d hoped, a complete “reboot” for Windows Mobile and more. It’s not just the OS that’s changing – this is a huge gear-change in every way. The Windows Phone 7 Series phone is aimed at making the user experience so much better. A Zune-like interface sits up front and Microsoft will be making sure that the phone specs meet the needs of the UI.
It’ll bring together Xbox LIVE games and that Zune music and video experience – and yes, Zune (as a GUI) is going international, plus there’s “live tiles” which show you real-time content on the main screen. On each phone there’ll be six “hubs” which bring together related content from the web, applications and services into a single view to make daily tasks simple and easy. People, Pictures, Games, Music+Video, Marketplace and Office. The “People” hub delivers the social side of your life – social networks, photos and instant updates to Facebook, Windows Live and other sites. The “Pictures” hub lets you share pictures and video to your social network, whilst the “Games” tab delivers the first Xbox LIVE experience on your phone – Xbox games, Spotlight feed and gamer profile. The”Music and Video” hub brings online services plus content from your PC, the built-in FM radio and media recommendations from like-minded music fans. The “Marketplace” app takes you into the online application store with the “Office” hub bringing that familiar Microsoft Office experience and mobile applications like SharePoint, OneNote and Outlook.
So yes, the Zune experience is going international, but music rights weren’t mentioned. Neither was the big multitasking question. As for Flash, we were told that Microsoft “have a good working relationship” with Adobe, but it probably not there at launch.
You can get more info on Windows Phone 7 Series on www.windowsphone7series.com and you can play with it too ! The first phones will be available this Christmas with AT&T, Orange, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone all on board to name just a few. Manufacturers Dell, Garmin-Asus, HTC, HP, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Qualcomm are all listed as partners too.
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Links – Windows Phone 7 Slideshow – Video demo – WindowsPhone7Series.com The UI itself is smooth and sleek. Microsoft call it “authentically digital” and want “content not chrome” – more information, less glossy buttons and extra design elements getting in the way. Large, clear fonts sit on your favourite images. A slick, dynamic menu system produces just the relevant information you want. You can promote items that are important to you – drag and drop is in and the tiled main screen is both structured and dynamic. There’s a “right side” which shows a classic programs list if you need it. The Zune system is there and, as you move through the interface, the feeling of motion is maintained.
Three physical buttons are present on the phone. Back, Windows and Search. That’s it. This isn’t final hardware though, so we’ll see what develops on the hardware side as the months continue. Today is all about the UI.