Tag Archives: Microsoft WP7

Exclusive: Windows Phone 7 will launch in India in 2011

13 Oct

Smartphones running on Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system will be launched in India sometime next year only. While many European countries will get the first devices on October 21 and on November 11 in the US, Microsoft is still tying up some loose ends. According to a Microsoft spokesperson, “in India, the range of devices will roll out next year when we believe we will be able to deliver a richer smartphone experience with a service portfolio that will include paid applications through the Windows Phone MarketPlace.”

Five things Microsoft must do after launching WP7

12 Oct

Launching WP7 is only half the battle won for Microsoft. Yes, the devices are there, the carrier tie-ups are in place and one can expect to buy these devices within weeks. However, it will be the next three-four months that will decide WP7’s fate and with it that of Steve Ballmer. After all, neither the company nor its CEO can afford another KIN.

In the early-2000’s Windows Mobile used to be the most expensive, yet most popular business phones. Those were the only touchscreen phones around and were also the only ones on which could replicate the PC experience of MS Office on a phone. They handled e-mail pretty well (some even had slide-out QWERTY keyboards). And who can forget they had a mobile version of Internet Explorer when all one could otherwise get was a WAP browser.

But by 2007, no one seemed to like Windows Mobile. The reason – Microsoft forgot to update the OS and would only bring one update every year that required users to buy a new device.

Microsoft should not let it repeat again. It should keep its eyes peeled and ears to the ground and find out what consumers miss in WP7 and bring those features to the OS. It was heartening to hear that copy and paste will eventually come to WP7 in early 2011 via a software update. I’m hoping that it would also bring multi-tasking soon enough.

The taller hurdle, however, would be to ensure that OEMs share those updates with consumers. We all know what has happened to Android. Since Microsoft has standardised hardware to a great extent, I hope that all devices will be updated. Microsoft must clear the air immediately as to how these updates would work. Who will provide these updates to the consumers – Microsoft or individual OEMs?

Another thing that Microsoft has not done in the past is to embrace competing services. It needs to realise that many of its phone users will not be using Microsoft services for other things like e-mail, IM, photo sharing, etc. It needs to open WP7 up so that consumers have a choice. Yes, WP7 supports competing e-mail services like Gmail, Yahoo! Mail etc but what about photo sharing. Will it give an option to a user to click a picture and upload it directly to Flickr?

OS for smartphones is a different ball game these days with the advent of iOS and Android. Updates are now no longer just essential updates that address some bugs. Instead, updates have become an essential medium to keep users hooked on to the OS by adding more features and some non-essential functionalities. Microsoft needs to do the same – release about three updates and one major overhaul every year.

And finally, it should send some devices over to its India office for us to get our hands on the new ware!

What Nokia can learn from Microsoft's WP7

12 Oct

Yesterday, Microsoft showed off the commercial version of its Windows Phone 7 (WP7) operating system (OS) as well as nine new smartphones from Dell, HTC, LG and Samsung that will run on it. The software giant has a lot at stake considering that this is the first major revamp of the OS in almost two years. Rather than updating the existing OS, Microsoft decided to start with a clean slate and build a new OS from the ground up. And what Microsoft demonstrated at the launch event (you can watch it here) was pretty impressive.

My first and only hands on experience with WP7 took place during MWC in Barcelona in February, when the OS was still a work in progress. It was not stable and things won’t run properly. But even back then, one thing was pretty clear – rather than following the heard, Microsoft decided it was time to bring something new to the table.

Rather than competing with the iPhone head-on, WP7 takes a different approach. One that might appeal to everyone – kids, youngsters, corporates. It has something for everyone. Again based purely on what we have seen today, it seems to handle social networks as well as it does PowerPoint presentations and e-mails. It seems WP7 will give Google some serious competition when it comes to online search, navigation and related services with its Bing ‘decision’ engine. WP7 is not about work anymore, work is just one of the many things it can do.

I would be worried right now if I were at Nokia. Microsoft has managed to tackle some of the biggest issues that Nokia is struggling to get rid of – most of them related to user interface. WP7’s major focus has been around a brand new user interface design, one that is uniform across all menus. An experience that does not change from one device to another. Everything has been standardised. While Nokia is still working on MeeGo, Microsoft has a portfolio of devices ready to ship along with a number of apps to sell.

It is too early to even think whether Windows Phone 7 would be able to create a niche for itself like Android did, at a time when the only smartphone that seemed to be selling came from Cupertino. But take a look at things today, the iPhone is still doing impressive numbers and Android is not far behind (some might reckon it is ahead of the iPhone). It ain’t gonna be the iPhone or one of the many Android smartphones, Windows Phone 7 will eat into Nokia’s market share in Europe and Asia (Nokia does not have a big presence in North America).

Mysterious HTC WP7 phone shows up

26 Jul

Photographs of an unseen, unheard of HTC phone running Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 (WP7) OS have been splattered on Engadget. The device, which looks like the WP7 version of Desire (sans the trackball), has a 3.7 inch display and is powered by a 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. It also has an 8.0 MP snapper.

With WP7 launch around the corner, we should be witnessing more such leaks. But more than the new devices, we are curious to see how WP7 performs when pitted against Android, considering both the platforms share more or less the same OEM ecosystem.

Microsoft demonstrates Market Place on Windows Phone 7

14 Jul

Market Place or Microsoft’s application store for Windows Phone 7 (WP7) was one of the key features that was not talked about during the announcement of the new OS in Barcelona earlier this year. I attended the packed press conference (had to wait in a queue for over an hour to barely get myself a seat on the last row) and there were murmurings whether WP7 would even have an application store or not. We all knew it would but strangely it did not figure in any of the demos.

Anyhow, last month Microsoft posted a video (wonder how I missed it) of how Market Place would work on WP7. The layout seems much better than WinMo 6.5 and it shows that users won’t just be able to buy apps but also music and podcasts (not sure if that would be available in all markets). Check out the video below to see for yourself.

Microsoft shares details about Windows Phone 7, device availability and cloud features

14 Jul

With the Developer Tool Kit and pre-production devices for developers out of the way, Microsoft is now trying to get the web talking about its upcoming Windows Phone 7 OS and range of devices. Today, they revealed some more details about the cloud services that Windows Phone 7 (WP7) will feature as well as details on the countries where Windows Phone 7 will make a splash first. Most of the information is old, so we will just tell you what’s new.

WP7 will be able to sync with most popular e-mail providers and will be deeply integrated with Microsoft’s own Windows Live IM and file share service. What’s more, you would also be able to access Xbox Live with WP7 devices.

We always wanted to know how it would integrate Zune – Microsoft’s music service. WP7 devices will be able to share and transfer music, videos and photos via Wi-Fi on a PC on which Zune software is installed. Unfortunately, Zune is not available in India yet, but we expect it to become a sort of iTunes for WP7 in terms of syncing multimedia content between a WP7 device and a PC. We ain’t sure what will happen to Windows Media Player, the de facto media sync software for current WinMo devices. We don’t see both Zune and Windows Media Player being employed to do the same task. In all likelihood, Microsoft will extend Zune to other markets, if not the entire music store then at least the software just like Apple does with iTunes – users in India cannot buy music, videos or movies.

Microsoft will also launch a Windows Phone Live companion site that will offer 25 GB of storage space to keep a back up of pictures and everything else that’s on your WP7 phone. From the same portal, users will be able to find their phone and even remotely wipe it if it gets lost.

While Microsoft still won’t tell us when WP7 will be commercially launched, it does gives us a list of 17 countries where users will be able to buy apps from the Market Place: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, UK and United States. Yup, India is there in the list, which could be indicative that we might see the first wave of WP7 devices as they are launched later this year.

Features and availability aside, one tiny detail that really caught our attention is this excerpt from the Windows Team Blog:

This is a fresh start for Microsoft’s mobile efforts; one in which we put the end user experiences at the center of every decision we make, from architecting a new design and integrated on-phone experiences, to taking more accountability for the hardware and application development platform.

Hopefully, Microsoft would take its smartphone business more seriously unlike the past where they have done little after launching a version of their mobile OS.

Microsoft releases Windows Phone Developer Tools Beta, to ship Windows Phone 7 devices to devs from July 19!

13 Jul

Microsoft has today released a beta version of developer tools for its upcoming Windows Phone 7 OS and devices running on it. With first Windows Phone 7 smartphones expected to be released around October or November, there is not much time left really for some cool apps for the OS. Along with the tools, Microsoft is also sending out a bunch of pre-production Windows Phone 7 smartphones to select developers who have registered with them! The first devices will leave Redmond on July 19 and we bet that some of them will end up on eBay in less than a week’s time. If you are a developer, you should check the Windows Phone Developer Blog and the rest of us should keep our eyes set on eBay!