Last week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona went off pretty much as expected. What was a bit of a twist is how adaptive the new Windows Mobile 7 operating system will be for phone developers.
Microsoft introduced its new OS and cleared up a bit of confusion. Windows Mobile 7 would be called Windows Phone 7 (already dubbed WinPhone as opposed to WinMo), thus dispelling rumors that there were two versions of the OS being developed. The company made it clear that this operating system would have only a minimal hardware requirement; and while it would feature a Zune-like interface, Windows Phone 7 would not be restricted to any particular handset. Instead it would allow the manufacturers to build very unique handsets around the OS, meaning that different models of smartphones running Windows Phone 7 would be very different. This is a notable contrast to Apple’s iPhone, which essentially runs and looks the same regardless of model. In this respect Microsoft is taking an approach that is more reminiscent of the Google Android OS for mobile handsets.
One other difference is that Windows Phone 7 could take greater advantage of the mobile browser, again in contrast to Apple’s approach to rely on apps and skip the basic mobile Web as much as possible. That isn’t to say that the OS will be anti-app however. The Windows Phone 7 will of course run apps, and Microsoft will certainly pull out all the strings for Windows Mobile Marketplace. The remaining issue here is whether there will be confusion with the old Windows Mobile (6.5 or earlier) apps, and whether any of those will be compatible with Windows Phone 7.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled the OS last week, which included the ability to offer real-time integration with various social networking sites, as well as the Office software. Windows Phone 7 does indeed appear to be ready for work and play. Now we just have to wait until Microsoft’s MIX conference next month to get further details on this exciting new operating system and determine whether it will truly be a mobile game changer.
AT&T’s Android Invasion Worth Doing Backflips?
Earlier this year it was seen as the latest sign that AT&T could be losing its exclusive deal with the Apple iPhone when the company announced that it would introduce its first Android handset. Now the first of the Android invaders is about to arrive and the Motorola Backflip might just do a back flip or two, at least for those on AT&T looking for an alternative to the iPhone.
This HSPA 7.1-capable handset will be in stores on March 7 and will cost $99.99 after a mail-in rebate (with two-year contract and data plan). That’s a good price compared to the alternative and the handset isn’t exactly shabby in features. It offers a 5-megapixel camera, a 3.1-inch touchscreen and a full QWERTY keypad that is inactive when the phone is folded and closed, but can be used otherwise for e-mails, text, and browsing the Web.