Windows Phone 7 Series Interview and Overview (Audio)

Posted by at 1:48 pm on February 24, 2010

Microsoft at Mobile World Congress officially launched Windows Phone 7 series.   In some ways this is the long-rumored Zune phone, as you can see via its UI which is heavily Zune HD inspired.     But it is more than that as you will learn when you finish this post and listen to the interview.   It has the goals of putting your social networks and work life in the palm of your hand.

Click play to hear Karen Wong-Duncan, Product Manager for Windows Mobile at Microsoft, speaks with us about Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 Series. She tells how Windows Phone 7 series works with Xbox Live, Office, Facebook, Twitter, Zune Store and when Flash will come to the OS and the design philosophy of the OS.

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Run Time 14:37

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The home screen now features real-time content in so-called “live tiles” which replace the Start screen of past Windows Phone devices. These are not static icons like what is found on the iPhone and iPod Touch. They are customizable shortcuts to applications and the data they contain.


Most features are organized into hubs to make it easy for users to gather information.   There are six hub categories: People, Pictures, Games, Music + Video, Marketplace, and Office.   Microsoft is focusing on how people use smartphones with the aim of making an OS for smartphones, not a shoehorned desktop OS on top of hardware which can make phone calls.

Music and Video Hub – Zune Integration

Windows Phone 7 phones will offer the standard Zune HD features including the built-in radio tuner, Zune Social experience, and Zune Marketplace. You can also copy over music and video content from your PC using the Zune software.

Games Hub Xbox LIVE Integration

You can tie your phone to your Xbox LIVE profile so you can see a gamer’s avatar, Achievements and gamer profile.   Xbox Live integration will allow developers to create multiplayer games and sell them through Windows Marketplace for Mobile

People Hub

The People hub lets you see all your friends’ status updates in one stream while also letting you update your own Facebook and Windows Live status. And you can pull your favorite people from the hub and make them their own tile on your homescreen.

Pictures and Video Hub

You can share your photos from your Pictures hub with your social networks while also syncing them with your PC and the web. You can also browse through the photos of your friends, too.

Office Hub – The new MS Office Mobile

It’s not just Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and Outlook -“ it’s also OneNote and connections to SharePoint Workspace too.


Multi-touch, accelerometers and fast hardware should be common across all devices, Microsoft says.   A new Internet Explorer browser will use hardware-accelerated graphics, including subpixel positioning -“ Microsoft’s move beyond ClearType.

Historically original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) could do whatever they liked when it came to the OS and what hardware they ran it on once they had a license.   Microsoft’s new model provides a minimum as to what the hardware needs to be capable of.   The problem with the past models has been a less than tight integration of hardware to software which has been the key point to the Apple’s iPhone and Palm’s webOS phones – the Pre and Pixi.

Hardware Form Factors

Windows Phone 7 will have just three main form factors to choose from, the company said during the most recent episode of the Frankly Speaking podcast. The hosts, who are both Developer Evangelists for Microsoft Australia, confirmed details of the chassis program.

  • Chassis 1 is now known to be limited to full-touchscreen phones that use a 1GHz processor or faster and will be the first to meet the late 2010 shipping target.
  • Chassis 2 phones will combine a touchscreen with a sliding QWERTY keyboard.
  • Chassis 3 isn’t explained during the podcast but is likely to involve phones with fixed-in-place keyboards

Developers, Developers, Developers

Don’t worry the focus of this blog is on end users who want to use tech to get their jobs done and make their lives more enjoyable, but without developers there are no tools and toys to let us do that.   And MS knows that too.

This is why MIX10 will be so important to MS and to the people that might buy Windows Phone 7 handsets. Devs attending MIX10 next month (March 15-17 in Las Vegas) will be among the first to learn how to build applications and games for Windows Phone 7 Series.   This will most likely be the next event where we learn more about the OS.


Microsoft seems to be taking aim at the weaknesses of the Smartphone market as it stands today.   iPhone is the star of the moment but you must like what Steve Jobs likes.   My wife loves having a physical keyboard, but like 2 button mice, Steve hates them, so no iPhone with a physical keyboard.   Ok, Apple finally did release a 2 button mouse like 20 years after the Mac first shipped. For me this is like Steve telling you that your favorite color must be white.   It is a personal preference with no correct answer but to give the customer the choice they want.

Then there is Android, which is the phone OS I have been living with the last 8 months. It is open, but being so means OEMS can change the UI a ton. This can cause some programs not to work.   Plus the market place lists prices in UK pounds to me for some programs and Euros for others.   I have no problem with buying software made outside the US, but my US phone on a US network should give me prices in US dollars. If I am in the UK, then the prices should be in pounds.   Since there are not firm standards for the hardware, some of the cheaper phones can give off errors or sit on a screen for very long periods of times when the phone has become over tasked with running too many apps at once.

Microsoft has seemed to really focus on what the users needs when comes to a smartphone rather than just shipping a me too product or desktop OS pushed inside of a phone.   Windows Phone 7 Series also marks a new chapter on how Microsoft will deal with OEMs.   It appears the days open choice of design for the OEMs are over when comes to phones. Being replaced with tighter integration between hardware and software; plus Microsoft writing and supplying many of the drivers itself.   All this should benefit the consumers of all smartphones.   Microsoft seems to have said to it competitors “Game On!” With many events over the coming months to sell and define its vision of what a smartphone should be, it should be a fun ride to watch.   We will be watching and reporting on it as they do.

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