Windows Phone at WPC 11


Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference 2011 had some good sessions on Windows Phone 7, a couple of which I was able to attend amidst my hectic schedule of sessions & meetings Smile and this is a rundown of what I saw.

First up, in one of the morning keynotes we saw the Lync client running on Windows Phone 7:

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I realise that’s not the greatest picture you’ll ever see but you get the idea Smile

I attended the Windows Phone 7 session, led by President of Windows Phone Division, Andy Lees.

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There wasn’t a huge amount of new content but it did contain some great demos of Mango features such as Local Scout and Bing Audio music tagging, as well as the amazingly slick way that WP7 handles people and messaging. Here are some pictures of my favourite slides:

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There was a pretty rapturous response to the majority of the demos from the 100’s of people in attendance, and there was a great energy in the room, both from the presenters and the Microsoft partners.

Microsoft have made some great changes to the Mobility competency to make it more worthwhile and effective for partners to develop apps for the Windows Phone platform. I had a chance to speak with Andy Lees after the session and it seems there are some good things coming further down the line for Microsoft partners. Not just for those that develop apps but also partners that work with licensing and products such as Sharepoint & Office 365.

Windows Phone 7


Not often is the end of a series welcomed by all, especially when it hasn’t even started yet…but this is different. Microsoft’s upcoming mobile OS is now officially titled:
“Windows Phone 7”
The previous name was a bit of a mouthful and I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone use the whole title anyway, so it seems like a good move to me…the reaction on Twitter has been positive so far too
Now we just need it to be released…and be better than Android 😉

Windows Phone 7 Series


Forget what you though you knew, Microsoft are back in the mobile game…and in a pretty big way!

Above is an image of the new Windows Mobile or “Windows Phone 7 Series” as it’s now known.

Each “tile” is a “hub” which connects the user to various elements…you can see the Xbox Live tile which is pretty exciting! The tiles are all live so will display updated info from the web as appropriate. Even from that 1 picture you can see that the UI (User Interface) is VASTLY improved over all previous versions of Windows Mobile with Phone, Test messages, email, pictures, people and more all available from one screen. One of my biggest gripes with WinMo 6.1 was the number of menus I had to navigate through just to do something simple like look at a picture.

It’s integrated into Social Media like never before with the ability to update Windows Live, Facebook, Twitter etc all from one location and making it easy for users to easily share & upload media such as pictures to Flickr, Twitter and more. This video shows off some of the great new features:

 

Buzz

The buzz around this new Redmond release is one of the most surprising, and nice to see, things about this whole launch. Both end users and gadget sites such as Gizmodo and Engadget are really behind this:

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First Windows 7 had huge support from almost everyone and now less than 6 months later, Windows Phone 7 does the same thing…MS have really turned things around! I think a lot of those calls for Steve B to step down will be taken back now 🙂

Zune

This is the one thing I really wanted to see in WP7S and it’s been delivered…Zune is now the media player inside Microsoft’s Mobile platform. I’ve been using the Zune desktop software for quite some time now and it is truly brilliant (see my post here) and the experience on the Zune HD seems comparable. It’s so much smoother and sexier that Windows Media Player and I really love that it synchronizes your track play count between desktop and device 🙂

Me & Windows Phone 7

I’m really excited about Windows Phone 7 Series. I’ve been waiting for it for years…ever since I got a Windows Mobile 5 device in a way…and now it’s here. Well not quite…it’s been announced but devices aren’t going to start shipping until October and that makes me feel better about my situation…which is…I’ve got an Android phone!

Yep that’s right…I’m a huge user of Microsoft products, both software and hardware, and have been using Windows Mobile for over 3 years. However, when my contract cam up for renewal a few months ago I had a choice to make:

a) Keep trudging along with Windows Mobile 6.1 for another year? (My HTC not being eligible for an upgrade to 6.5).

b) Look at another platform such as iPhone or Android?

I was, at first, planning on sticking with WinMo out of loyalty to Microsoft but decided that, as a consumer, I deserved a phone that was fun, easy to use, cool and adaptable to me and my lifestyle. For that I looked at Android and picked up the HTC Hero…I am happier with this phone than any of my previous devices (see post here).

If Windows Mobile 7 (as I may well continue to call it) had been released to buy this week then I would have waited. As it is, I’ll have fun with my Android device, especially once I get the 2.1 update (pleeaaase HTC!) but will definitely be checking out a Windows device in the summer of 2011. Saying that makes it seem SO far away 🙂

If you’re looking for a new phone around October time, definitely go and check out Windows Phone 7 Series.

Windows Mobile Timeline


ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley has again dug up more information on Microsoft’s plans for Windows Mobile, this time in the form of a rough timeline:

  • Windows Mobile 6.5 RTM (release to manufacturing): April 2009
  • First Windows Mobile 6.5 devices from cell phone makers: September 2009
  • Windows Mobile 7.0 release to testers: November 2009
  • First Windows Mobile 7.0 devices from cell phone makers: April 2010
  • I’m hoping that WinMo 6.5 is going to be available as a software update for current 6.1 devices but I’m not particularly hopeful. If it isn’t I think I’m gonna skip it completely & go straight to WinMo 7 in 2010..how about you?

    Microsoft Windows Mobile updates


    Microsoft disappointed a lot of people by not announcing/previewing WinMo 6.5/7 @ CES 2009, but they’ve told The NY Times that an announcement will be made, at next month’s (Feb ’09) Mobile World Congress.

    Todd Peters, the vice president of marketing for the Windows Mobile division said “I’d rather have fewer devices and be more focused” to “get better integration” between the OS and the hardware.

    There are currently around 140 devices that run Microsoft’s Windows Mobile OS and it is this that makes it hard for WinMo to get a good rep these days. Apple have it much easier as they develop their OS just for the iPhone and that’s it whereas MS have to make sure the can run on the least capable hardware.

    I only buy WinMo devices partly because I find them familiar but also because WinMo is full of great features that help me get things done quickly and easily-both for work and at home. I hope the coming announcements will show what Microsoft can do in the mobile world…

    Windows Mobile 6.5


    Windows Mobile 6.5 is the next version on the road map, as accidentally revealed by a Motorola Exec!

    WIth Windows Mobile 7 looking likely for a late 2010 release, we can expect WinMo 6.5 to be with us in the 2nd half of 2009. There’s currently no word as to which features will be in 6.5 and which won’t appear until V7.

    I’m excited to see what new features are contained in this as 6/6.1 had some great new stuff. Hopefully this will be an upgrade from 6.1 so I can get it on my HTC Diamond!

    Windows Mobile 6.1 HTC Diamond


    Windows Mobile 6.1 and the HTC Diamond is a great combination. This post has a dual purpose, to discuss WinMo 6.1 and also the HTC Diamond..my favourite ever phone and I really believe it’s the best phone available (even including the iPhone!!!).

    I went to the WPC (Worldwide Partner Conference) 2008 in Houston with an HTC WinMo 5 PPC (Pocket PC) that I was pretty happy with. I was thinking about an upgrade (but just because I wanted a new gadget..not for any specific usability reasons) and so decided there was no real point.

    Then I went to one of the Breakout sessions hosted by Andy Lees, Senior Vice President of Mobile Communications Business at Microsoft, saw his demo of WinMo 6.1 and was blown away! The new home screen is much cooler/slicker and certain things I’d been wishing for (such as the ability to select multiple messages then mass move/delete) had been implemented…(maybe Bill can hear the thoughts of Gold Partners?!)

    I did pop into the T-Mobile shop in Houston to see what WinMo 6.1 phones they had..that’s how excited I was 🙂

    Some of the other features from a personal view that I like are the threaded SMS (so they’re like emails-makes things so much easier!) and IE full page zooming. From a corporate view, the big addition was “Domain Enroll” which allows WinMo devices to be managed via System Center Mobile Device Manager (MSM) 2008.

    *Update* It’s been confirmed by Steve Ballmer (after a leak from Motorola) that we’re going to see Windows Mobile 6.5 first..as to which features will be in that and which will be saved for WinMo 7, I’ve not seen anything yet…

    Windows Mobile 7-is expected in the 2nd half of 2009 and should feature a new, revamped UI, multi-touch and motion sensing features. There should also be a new version of IE, a new version of Office Mobile and a new version of Media Player-this could well be the Zune software (see here).

    The HTC Diamond is awesome…and I mean that in it’s original sense, in that it did fill me with awe! That might seem a bit overboard but the Touch-Flo 3D UI makes using the phone a joy. The menu layout is easy to navigate, it’s quick and easy to get to the majority of things you need whether they’re apps, settings, downloads etc and the UI is very responsive. Another element I love which pits it against the iPhone, is the fact that you don’t really need to use the stylus. I can navigate menus, turn features on/off and even compose emails and text messages, all without the stylus 🙂

    The HTC music player is full of features and easy to use…a good quick alternative to Media Player (although Media Player is far superior for connecting to Bluetooth Headphone devices) if you just need audio. The camera is 3 Mega Pixels so quite mid-range spec but the quality of picture is much higher than you’d expect…we’ve got a number of pictures framed on the wall that came from my Diamond…often replacing pictures taken with a “proper” digital camera.

    Another feature of the Diamond that I’ve seen via a video over at Engadget is that the HTC Diamond has Multi Touch capabilities! The video only shows it bwing used for a de-bugging app but it could be the start of something prettty awesome..maybe some homebrew coders can get something great going there?! Even if nothing comes of it at the moment it certainly looks positive for when Windows Mobile 7 arrives!

    If you’v got any questions about WinMo and/or the HTC Diamond, drop a comment and let me know!

    Cheers

    Rich

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