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Microsoft Launches Windows Phone 7: It’s Smartphone War!

October 17, 2010

As Google and Apple have been pushing futher into smartphone terriroty, Microsoft has been building for a major offensive:

Microsoft made its final roll of the dice in the global smartphone market today, launching a new mobile operating system which the software powerhouse hopes will rival iPhone and Android devices.

Microsoft still dominates office and consumer PC computing but is having to sprint to catch up on the lead it has surrendered in the past three years first to Apple and then to Google’s Android platform. Its rivals have grabbed roughly a third of the rapidly expanding market for devices that can connect to the internet while their user is on the move, as well as making phone calls.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, said that he had “been looking forward to this day for some time” as he unveiled a range of phones using the system in the US. He said that the development of the software behind the Windows Phone 7 – reckoned by analysts to have cost the company more than a billion dollars, and to have a $400m (£250m) marketing budget attached – had been driven by the necessity to be “modern in its design principles, in the way that people use modern internet services, and we’ve taken a very different tack at the same time”.

The new interface aimed to integrate phonebooks, social networks and other information around “hubs” of people. Ballmer said: “We had an internal mantra that the customer is king … Give them the ability to do everything on their phone but easier and faster. Less stop and stare, more glance and glare.”

One of the last project’s I worked on at FluffyLogic was the Windows Phone 7 version of Battle for Hoth. Not if the success of WP7 was down to the hard work of Microcost’s coders, it would be a slam-dunk as they were always busy (but friendly). However I think this is going to be a tough battle for Microsoft. The phone interface is nice; pleasant to look at, nice transition animations and all. In addition if you’re an xobox gamer, given the integration with xobox Live, I think it will be more attractive. However we were using phones as dev units and not phones, so it’s hard to get a full feel MW7 as a fully functional device…

It will be interesting to see how it does.

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