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Ballmer takes wraps off Windows Phone 7 series

15 Feb

Windows Phone 7

Microsoft CEO has unveiled the Windows Phone 7 series at the Mobile World Congress 2010.  As expected, the new platform offers a fresh approach to the mobile version of the Windows OS, which has so far been represented by different versions of Windows Mobile. Among the highlights are an integrated experience that will combine Xbox Live and Zune music and a new, holistic design system that informs every aspect of the phone, from its visually appealing layout and motion to its function and hardware integration. The new Start screen comes with dynamically updated live tiles, which show users real-time content directly, breaking the mold of static icons that serve as an intermediate step on the way to an application. Create a tile of a friend, and the user gains a readable, up-to-date view of a friend’s latest pictures and posts, just by glancing at Start.

Every Windows Phone 7 Series phone will come with a dedicated hardware button for Bing, providing one-click access to search from anywhere on the phone, while a special implementation of Bing search provides intent-specific results, delivering the most relevant Web or local results, depending on the type of query. All of which makes for an interface and experience that is a very far cry from the existing Win Mo one and more in line with what the likes of Android are serving up. 
Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer however, believes that the new Windows Mobile will be very different from its contemporaries. “In a crowded market filled with phones that look the same and do the same things, I challenged the team to deliver a different kind of mobile experience. Windows Phone 7 Series marks a turning point toward phones that truly reflect the speed of people’s lives and their need to connect to other people and all kinds of seamless experiences,” he said, with typical ebullience.
Partners from around the world have committed to include Windows Phone 7 Series in their portfolio plans. They include mobile operators AT&T, Deutsche Telekom AG, Orange, SFR, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telstra, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone, and manufacturers Dell, Garmin-Asus, HTC Corp., HP, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Qualcomm Inc. The first phones will be available by holiday 2010.

For the complete press release, click here.

Microsoft launches mobile Live Search Maps for India

3 Nov

Miscrosoft has announced its Live Search Maps for the Indian market that can be accessed using cellphones. Navteq has provided the street maps for nine Indian cities. Here are some excepts from the press release:

Microsoft India today launched Live Search Maps for India that offers users access to detailed listings and street maps for 9 Cities, business listings across 29 Cities and access to highway networks to 20,000 cities and towns. Live Search Maps for India is on Microsoft’s Live Search Service, thereby allowing users to search for geographical information, places of general interest and business listings both on the PC and Mobile at and This is the first version of its local mapping service for India with the key features developed by the Microsoft India Development Centre (MSIDC) based in Hyderabad.

Several key innovations and features of Live Search Maps India were developed at MSIDC based on their research and understanding of the search needs of users in India; thus ensuring local relevance and customization of the product, Live Search Maps on Mobile is a Direct To Consumer (DTC) service without requiring one-on-one relationships with the mobile carriers. It leverages the Live Search Maps for India to deliver 2D Mobile Maps, Location Search and Driving Directions and supports Adaptive Rendering for results from Web, News, Instant Answers and Spaces Search.

“In the near future we plan to add new features such as Landmark Based Driving Directions, Collections Search, options for Enterprise Customers and Developer community to create custom mash-ups, along with satellite imagery and related features for India and key cities,” said, Gurpreet S. Pall, General Manager – Live Search and MSN Technologies, Microsoft India Development Centre.

Getting up close and personal with WiMo 6.1

15 Apr

Okay, by now most of us know that there is nothing earth shattering whatsoever in Windows Mobile 6.1, just like it was the case with the older Windows Mobile 6.0. Nevertheless, if you really want to make sure that you know everything you should know about the ‘new’ version, just hop on to the Windows Mobile Training website and get a hang of things.

By the way, we also laid our hands on a sales training document for Windows Mobile 6.1 that fortifies our views that Windows Mobile 6.1 is “just another press release.” The document recommends salespeople to show customers – the new sliding panel home screen, Getting Started Centre and thread messaging. That’s about it! Well, so much for the “upgraded OS” from Microsoft.

Is Microsoft developing an Office suite for the iPhone?

26 Mar

After Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, will the iPhone also get Microsoft’s Mobile Office suite? The Fortune reports Microsoft developers are busy working on the recently announced Software Development Kit (SDK) for Apple’s iPhone to create an Office suite. 

“It’s really important for us to understand what we can bring to the iPhone,” Tom Gibbons, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Specialized Devices and Applications Group, told Fortune. “To the extent that Mac Office customers have functionality that they need in that environment, we’re actually in the process of trying to understand that now.”

Microsoft licenses Adobe Flash Lite, PDF Reader for WiMo

19 Mar

Adobe has announced that Microsoft has licensed Flash Lite, an application which allows web pages to play Flash content on mobile phones, for upcoming versions of Windows Mobile. Microsoft has also licensed Adobe Reader LE, a mobile version of Adobe’s PDF Reader software. This would enable devices running on future versions of Windows Mobile (hopefully Windows Mobile 6.1 onwards) to run flash animations directly from the Internet Explorer as well as enable users to open PDF file attachments in e-mails.

Microsoft is working on SilverLight, a tool similar to Adobe’s Flash, which should eventually become compatible with devices running on its Windows Mobile platform. Nokia had earlier announced that it is working on making SilverLight compatible with Symbian S60, a platform on which the vendor’s smartphones work.

Opera vs MS: The mobile angle?

8 Jan

The media has been abuzz with talk of the dispute between Opera and Microsoft. But while most people seem to consider that this is basically another attempt by a browser developer to make big, bad MS unbundle its Internet Explorer from its Windows OS, we think there’s another angle to the plot. And it is a mobile one. 

After all, Opera does have a couple of mobile browsers, Opera Mini and Opera Mobile, that have actually made more news than its desktop version. And well, all mobile phones do come pre-installed with their web browsers. So who knows, if its suit against MS is successful, Opera might ask the principle of the PC to be extended to the mobile. Of course, it would be much more difficult to implement there, as unlike in PCs, where users can get software from CDs and other sources, mobile users do need some sort of browsing software to be able to download software (even if it is another browser) over the Internet. However, it seems that Opera might lobby for something like the ‘catalogues’ feature in Nokia devices that allows users to download applications but allows no browsing. 

Of course, all this is just talk. For all we know, Opera might just only be fighting for browsing rights on the desktop. But you never know, do you…