Feeds

Windows Phone 7 Series launched

Zune, Xbox combined into all-new smartphone platform

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

MWC Windows Mobile, farewell. Welcome, Windows Phone 7 Series.

Yes, a unnecessarily long name, but one that's make or break for Microsoft's mobile phone ambitions.

As expected, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmet unveiled the new OS at the ongoing Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today. Equally anticipated was the news that the software won't debut until later this year, with the first few devices coming to market in time for Christmas.

Windows Phone 7 Series

Windows Phone 7 Series: Start screen

No one was surprised to learn WP7S combines the Zune user interface with access to the Xbox Live gaming service. This and the rest had already leaked out.

What was new was Microsoft's move to mandate hardware, including a special Bing button. MS has apparently said no to the addition of vendor-specific UIs on top of its own, something that has become commonplace. Network operator customisations are out too, apparently.

Windows Phone 7 Series

In short, Microsoft is going for an Apple-like command and control approach, doing everything but actually assemble the hardware. Button layout, CPU type and speed, screen aspect ratio and resolution, memory and storage capacity - all these are being dictated by MS.

Windows Phone 7 Series

It's smartphone as games console platform: a rigidly defined spec that anyone who wants to work with it must stick to.

WP7S' UI is derived from the Zune, subdividing the screen into tiles that are dynamic representations of the features they access - called "hubs" - when tapped.

The initial set of hubs are Games, Marketplace, Music + Video, Office, People and Pictures. Each comprises a large panel of options which you view through the narrow window of the screen.

Games links through to Xbox Live, to provide Live's gaming-oriented social experience. Music + Video is social too, through the Zune Social content and playlist sharing facility. People is where all your other social networks are accessed.

Windows Phone 7 Series

How Marketplace apps are going to tie into this remains to be seen, but presumably WP7S is sufficiently modular to allow apps to plug in to existing hubs and even form the basis for new ones. To drop from this novel approach into an old-style click-icon-to-launch-app UI methodology won't satisfy UI purists, but it is a system users are familiar with. The various screenshots suggest apps will appear simply as a list of names.

Windows Phone 7 Series

MS' announced list of WP7S partners reads like a who's who of Windows Mobile, with all the customary carriers and hardware manufacturers namechecked. So too is Qualcomm, so WP7S phones will be based on Snapdragon chippery. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Just in case? Unverified 'supersize me' iPhone 6 pics in sneak leak peek
Is bigger necessarily better for the fruity firm's flagship phone?
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?