Windows Phone: Series 7 – aka Zune Phone

Today Microsoft announced Windows Phone: Series 7 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

They claim that the user experience they designed focuses on the end users and their unique needs. Integrates the Zune PC client software, so in essence this is essentially the long rumored Zune Phone. The UI uses a concept of “Tiles” that seems to be similar to the tiles on the Zune HD. They took the tiles to the next level by making them “Live Tiles”, which allow the tiles to dynamically change to bubble up new fresh info. Zune has a concept of integrated experiences they call hubs (just named by MS today with the new WM Series 7 phone).

Existing Hubs in the ZuneHD are music, video, pictures, radio, marketplace, social, podcasts, audiobooks, internet, apps, and settings.

They added a new hub called the people hub. People adds a bunch of social aspects like Facebook integration. This is supposed to be the main focus of the Windows Phone experience going forward.

There is also a games hub which integrates XBox Live complete with achievements, which is something I have been asking for on the Zune HD for a while. Nonetheless this is an awesome new feature.

The new office hub gives you OneNote, Documents, and Sharepoint integration with Office 2010 including syncing to your PC applications.

Here are some photos of the UI.

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Stuff we know:

  • All phones will be capacitive touch with 4 point multi touch
  • GPS is required in the hardware
  • MS is setting the minimum bar with phone partners on hardware.
  • Phones have 3 hardware buttons , Start, back, and search.
  • New approach to hardware partners. They want to have a higher level of consistency across the Windows Phone platform. Hardware makers will no longer be able to roll their own UI layer.
  • Software will focus on people and social contexts.
  • Task oriented interfaces – hubs – Organizes web, applications, and
  • UI uses a concept of live tiles.
  • Uses Internet Explorer
  • Next level of Cleartype integrated – sub pixel positioning.
  • New Office Hub integrates with Office 2010, including OneNote, Sharepoint, Excel, and Word. Has MS exchange support with onboard MS Outlook.
  • No flash support – no flash in internet browser day 1, but Steve Ballmer says he has no objection to flash in the future.
  • Really tight bing integration (as we would expect).
  • Zune section of phone integrates video and music together in one experience.
  • Supports Pandora internet radio.
  • Using Zune PC software – fantastic software that will likely replace Windows Media Player going forward. This seems to be the death knell for Windows Media Player.
  • Developer story will be announced at Mix 2010
  • Availability by holiday season of 2010

Hardware partners announced:

  • Qualcomm
  • LG
  • Samsung
  • Garmin
  • Asus
  • HTC
  • HP
  • Dell
  • Sony Ericsson
  • Toshiba
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