Windows Phone 7 Series Now Official

Windows Phone 7 Series has been officially announced at MWC today. The new operating system was designed to “re-invent” how phones actually operate and how the UI functions. In the past a lot of phones tend to try function like a PC. Microsoft’s [MSFT] new approach is that the phone is more intimate than a PC, and should have a new user interface.

What Microsoft wanted to achieve when planning Windows Phone 7 Series is a device that can focus on an individual and their needs as well as helping to organise information and applications.

The new operating system features flatter icons than before that actually look good. They are large allowing for 1 or 2 to fit across the page and work easily without the need of a stylus. The home page scrolls down and displays several of these blocks which house the most common details and contacts you need.

When wanting to contact someone you click on one of the icon’s that shows thumbnails of the people you have recently spoken or contacted. You then are presented with several ways to reach the person which includes calling their mobile, calling their home, sending them a text or even looking at a collection of their latest social media updates and responding direct from the contacts application.

Overall it appears that this will work for Microsoft. The UI looks fantastic and is finally finger friendly (from what we saw). It also appears that the big three names, ie, Apple, Google and Microsoft are in this on a 3 horse race leaving other companies out of it.

Every Windows Phone 7 Series device that will be made will contain three physical buttons. The first will be “Start” that will give access to the tiles mentioned above. The next button is “Search” that will allow you to find contacts, destinations and perform all searches on your device. The final button is “Back” that allows you to skip back through menus to go back to where you just came from. Each device will be capacitive touch enabled with a large crystal clear screen.

Each WM7S device will be dynamic and learn what you need it to learn such as who you keep in contact with. As it learns, the UI will modify it’s self to keep you current with those people who mean the most to you.

Back to the home page, as can be seen just above, the home page has what Microsoft have called, Active Tiles, that contain information you need to use your phone. Images of people are of actual people in your phone. If the phone is tied in to your friends on Facebook then profile images can be automatically downloaded and used as tiles on the home page. When that particular user updates their social networking status, the tiles are also updated to reflect that.

The Agenda view is represented with large text along with colours which indicate if an appointment is personal or for business so you can easily distinguish between the two. Both work and personal life can be mixed together in the phone but easily separated as needed, meaning that you only need to carry the one device around with settings to show the relevant information right at the time you need it.

The Day view in the agenda also acts as a diary but lets you show all the upcoming appointments you have throughout the day, again mixed with the blue and red here to show work and personal commitments. The whole calendar system syncs with Exchange server allowing others like a personal assistant set appointments for you.

The phone is capable of detecting phone numbers and addresses. When detected you simply click on a hyper-link and it takes you to either the phone application or Bing Maps application and takes you right where you want to be. Due to the device being a mobile device, Microsoft want to do away with all the in-between steps, so by creating links automatically it allows just 1 touch to get to where you want to be.

Search was demonstrated on the phone with the presenter hitting the physical search button and then searching for Sushi. As can be seen on the image above, the phone automatically shows local details of where the closest places are that he could get sushi from. Also search is based on a “Decision Engine” that attempts to figure out what you mean. In this case it listed several restaurants ordered by distance. When clicking on a result you get the option to read reviews, find out what else is nearby and call or navigate to the destination. If Bing selects the wrong type of information for your search then you also have the option of switching to Web based results rather than local based results at the tap of a screen.

The new browser is based on IE code and is claimed to be Microsoft’s best mobile browser yet. It supports multi-touch and double-tap to zoom. The visual experience is also enhanced on the phones browser thanks to something called sub-pixel positioning to allow you to zoom right in to a page and still see a clear image as well as zoom way out and still manage to read the text on the high resolution screen. It’s a step beyond clear type.

Overall I am impressed with what Microsoft have achieved here. I was a bit sceptical at first as the last Windows Mobile update just overlayed new buttons on to an old OS. This time they have completely re-written it to something that looks to be a real contender. It’s always hard to judge what a new OS will function like based on a press event, but if it acts like MS showed it as acting on stage today they are certainly back in the race with this new release.

Press Video here.


  1. Martijn Lafeber says

    “The new browser is based on IE code” FML

    Why don’t they just adopt Webkit? Oh yes, developers would start liking Microsoft again.

Speak Your Mind