Mobile Living – Windows Phone 7

Mobile World Congress opened today in Barcelona and Samsung sparked off the first of the “iPhone alternative” bout by introducing the Wave, the first phone based on its Bada operating system.

The Wave is a slim, touchscreen device using a 3.3-inch AMOLED display with an 800×480 resolution and powered by Samsung’s mobile Digital Natural Image engine, a variation on the same technology that drives many of its TVs. It also packs in a 1GHz processor and Bluetooth 3.0 and WiFi 802.11n.

It also comes with a 5MP camera with an LED flash, 3.5mm headphone jack, GPS and there’s a microSD card slot for expandable memory, with a 2GB card.

It can also handle 720p video decoding and recording and offers multi-codec support for DivX and Xvid, as well as 5.1 surround sound.

Of course with the Google Phone trying to battle it out against the iPhone, is there room for more smartphones? Samsung certainly think they have a say in the matter but what of Microsoft?

As of this morning Microsoft have re-entered the phone-race with their Windows Phone 7, rethinking their Windows Mobile Smartphones of old:

The new platform uses a Zune-UI design and at the home screen using tiles you can pin apps, contacts, playlists, etc. to the home screen. It integrates not just the Zune media player (including Zune software sync) but also Xbox Live’s achievements, avatars and friends.

Most features are organized into hubs. Besides Music+Video and Pictures hubs that are very similar to the Zune, these also include a People hub that integrates phone contacts with Facebook and shows what’s new independent of the source. An Office hub lets users create and share documents, including over Sharepoint. The Games hub will handle all Xbox Live tasks, and a Marketplace hub will provide a central app store.

Internet Explorer is also more advanced and based on the desktop version of the browser, but with multi-touch and advanced sub-pixel rendering. E-mail has a Zune-style UI but integrates with Exchange and carries iPhone-like features such as easy mass-deletion of messages.

However, Microsoft in its keynote speech confirmed that it won’t have Flash out of the box and has designed an interface that doesn’t currently have any multitasking support. While potentially faster and simpler, the interface concedes one of Microsoft’s primary advantages with Windows Mobile. The company has gone so far as to say it will continue investing in Windows Mobile 6.5 and hasn’t said how easily third-party apps will reach WP7.

Microsoft are spotlighting the People Hub (focus on people) as their selling point – phones are about communication, so WP7 focuses on people. Desktops normally focus on e-mail, Facebook, etc. as separate. It’s okay to do that on the desktop, but on a phone it’s unwieldy, the boys over at Microsoft announced. The People hub shows recents and favourites first, then everyone, and yourself. Zune-like alphabet sorting; you can see what’s new with anyone from their contact page, regardless of the source, and message them directly.

Other smartphones are “just like PCs” and there is a need to move to something beyond the PC. This was said behind a background that showed icons for apps from other platforms, including BlackBerry and the iPhone. WP7 offers visual browsing of music, photos, contacts and boasts a “Smart design” that reacts to the user, not just separate apps.

WP7 is due for release later on this year, but I think I’ll be sticking with the iPhone – Microsoft’s baby just looks too dark!


2 responses to this post.

  1. LOVE the blog Damien…

    Miss ya bud…

    BTW, thanks for the think/write/dream blogroll but it’s no more! We’ll talk about it sometime, I just use posterous…


  2. Posted by tracy on March 22, 2010 at 11:47 am

    nice blog and very informative writeup keep it up.


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