By 16 February 2010 | Categories: news


Microsoft is out to take a bite of Apple’s iPhone sales with the launch of Windows Phone Series 7 (WPS7) at the Mobile World Congress 2010 in Barcelona, Spain. The software giant redesigned the OS’ user interface (UI) and built in support for their Xbox Live games and the Zune music service.

Start, Search, Back

All phones operating on WPS7 will be utilising three buttons on the face of the phones- Start, Search and Back. The Start button leads you to sets of tiles which are visual links to apps or contacts. You’ll be able to customise the tiles, so that apps or software programmes that you use most can be arranged more prominently on the list. Microsoft's search engine Bing is given more prominence with the Search button that allows one-click access to the phone's search functionality. 


Another change is the new UI feature incorporating a range of “hubs” that groups related functions from the web, apps and services into a single view. There are different hubs for people, pictures, games, marketplace, music as well as office. Within the games hub, you’ll find Xbox live functionality, such as games and access to your online Xbox Live profile, whilst the music hub connects music and video content from your PC, the Zune online music service and a built-in FM radio. The office hub will give users access to Microsoft Office software, such as Outlook Mobile, where you’ll be able to read, edit and share documents. “We wanted the software experience to fundamentally focus on what is most important to each individual user,” said Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Windows phone program management. 
Limited customisation

While Microsoft may only be responsible for the OS software of the phones, they will specify key hardware specs to the smartphone manufactureres, for example multi-touch capable screens. The manufacturers will also be limited in their customisation of the OS and adaptions to the UI, so HTC’s Sense UI might be a thing of the past.

“We knew we needed and wanted to do things that were out of the box, that were clearly differentiated from our past and hopefully from other [mobile OS offerings] in the market,” explained Steve Balmer CEO of Microsoft.  “It’s a big step. I think we have a chance to have a major impact on the market.” WPS7-powered devices will be available later in the year from amongst others Samsung, LG, HTC and Sony Ericsson.


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