updated 04:50 pm EST, Mon January 18, 2010
Win Phone 7 gets 2 versions, ultra high-end phones
Microsoft will launch Windows Mobile 7 with a version rebranding and two very high end devices, a potentially revelatory rumor says today. The OS would be rebranded as Windows Phone 7 and would be split into two releases different than today's. Its highlight would be a Media Edition that would have Zune-like elements in its media player as well as deep tie-ins with Microsoft, such as in-browser Silverlight, Mediaroom for IPTV and at least the social side of Xbox Live.
Facebook and Twitter would also be a part of this version, WMExperts says, and would show on the home screen, though it's not known if this is integral like Motorola's MOTOBLUR or optional like HTC's Sense UI widgets.
A basic Business Edition would be stripped and intended for companies to modify to their own ends, such as with HTC's Sense UI or Sony Ericsson's panels. All versions would catch up to the mapping features in Android and iPhone by using Orion, a geolocation platform from Windows 7 desktop that would support cell tower triangulation and Internet checks to get a position lock much faster than Windows Mobile has managed in the past, potentially in as little as one second for a quick fix.
As part of the Windows Phone 7 launch, Microsoft's chassis program could also result in two very high-end smartphones that would be standard-bearers for the OS. The LG Apollo would use one of the fastest mobile processors ever with a 1.3GHz Snapdragon and would center on an unprecedented 3.8-inch, 720p (1280x720) AMOLED screen with multi-touch. A 10-megapixel camera and dual-mode CDMA/GSM would support it on Sprint or Verizon but allow roaming in other countries.
This phone would ship as soon as August or September, according to the claimed insiders. It would potentially be the first Windows Phone 7 phone to ship.
A second phone, the HTC Obsession, would be less ambitious and support 'only' a 1GHz Snapdragon along with a presumably lower resolution 3.7-inch AMOLED screen as well as a 5-megapixel camera and the use only of GSM-related standards. superficially, it would resemble the Imagio.
While room exists for some changes to or doubt in the strategy, the information is deemed solid and would represent an aggressive attempt to reclaim the smartphone market. The aging interface and technology of Windows Mobile 6 have led to reduced market share for Microsoft and in some cases partial or entire defections from companies that were unintentionally punished for supporting the platform. Both HTC and LG have already signaled they will rely mostly on Android despite being loyal to Windows Mobile as recently as last year.