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Windows Phone 7 official, lacks Flash and multitasking

updated 11:05 am EST, Mon February 15, 2010

WP7 has improved UI but notable drawbacks

Microsoft at Mobile World Congress officially launched Windows Phone 7 series, its first major overhaul of its mobile OS in at least five years but also a partial step back. The new platform uses a heavily Zune-influenced design and at the home screen centers on tiles: users can pin apps, contacts, playlists and other details to the home screen. It integrates not just the Zune media player (including Zune software sync) but also Xbox Live's achievements, avatars and friends.

Most features are organized into hubs. Besides Music+video and Pictures hubs that are very similar to the Zune, these also include a People hub that integrates phone contacts with Facebook and shows what's new independent of the source. An Office hub lets users create and share documents, including over Sharepoint. The Games hub will handle all Xbox Live tasks, and a Marketplace hub will provide a central app store.

Internet Explorer is also more advanced and based on the desktop version of the browser, but with multi-touch and advanced sub-pixel rendering. E-mail has a Zune-style UI but integrates with Exchange and carries iPhone-like features such as easy mass-deletion of messages.

Multi-touch, accelerometers and fast hardware should be common across all devices, Microsoft says.

Microsoft has also changed the business model for partners and will take more control over the experience; it promises a baseline for hardware (including drivers) and won't let companies directly replace user interface elements. In most cases, only tiles and some services will be extensible. However, the companies will also get phones to market faster as a result, according to the Windows developer.

The launch will include several partners, including AT&T, Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile, Orange, SFR, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telstra, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone; manufacturers include Dell, Garmin-ASUS, HTC, HP, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Qualcomm. Phones launching on the platform should be ready by the holidays.

However, the OS also includes a number of notable steps backwards. Microsoft in its keynote speech confirmed that it won't have Flash out of the box and has designed an interface that doesn't currently have any multitasking support. While potentially faster and simpler, the interface concedes one of Microsoft's primary advantages with Windows Mobile. The company has gone so far as to say it will continue investing in Windows Mobile 6.5 and hasn't said how easily third-party apps will reach WP7.

Microsoft has "no objection" to adding Flash, CEO Steve Ballmer adds.

The new OS is an important step for Microsoft, which has steadily lost market share as many of its partners have actively abandoned Windows Mobile in favor of Android and Symbian; in Palm's case it led to the creation of an entirely new platform. Vertically integrated companies like Apple and RIM have also taken away much of Microsoft's influence by both adding new features first and quickly overshadowing Microsoft in apps despite a much shorter time on the market. Windows Mobile has so far been hindered by a lack of support for many of the features people now consider critical, including capacitive touchscreens, accurate web browsing and modern media playback.


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By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. lysolman

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005

    +8

    Aha

    Aha, Aha, Aha, Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.


    Of all the times that mindless dribble like above is necessary, this is the time.

    -Deuces

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008

    +18

    I'm glad Windows Phone 7 lacks support of

    multitasking and Flash. First of all, no multitasking shuts up all the Windows fanboys about how much multitasking is needed on a smartphone and the iPhone is c*** for not having it. Secondly, without Flash, it's helping to prove that Adobe is not as important to the web as the Flash fanboys think it is.

    Two large companies like Microsoft and Apple are putting pressure on sites to use an alternative to Flash. If Google decides on no Flash for mobile devices, then Flash use will be weakened considerably. Flash won't go away completely since desktop machines are still able to use Flash, but it's a step in the right direction.

  1. lkrupp

    Junior Member

    Joined: May 2001

    +10

    Well...

    I guess we can kiss the iPhone goodbye. Windows Phone 7 is just too much for it. :-)

  1. dliup

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006

    0

    Same OLD

    Same old same old, from the company that brought you this:

    Microsoft zzzzune paint ad
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6Mi0Bw75GI

  1. dliup

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006

    -1

    zzune paint ad

    Grrr here's the video that doesn't need an account
    http://vimeo.com/2273770

  1. aristotles

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Jul 2004

    +4

    They need to fire their UI designer

    What is up with the Schizophrenic font choices? There are too many big fonts on that small screen. UIs are not supposed to be designed like word documents with Headers and sub-headers.

    Also, MSFT seems to like to have cut off typography thinking that it is "cool". It looks amateurish and unfinished.

  1. Parky

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Oct 1999

    -2

    Seems OK

    It looks quite good to me.

  1. thedude

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006

    +5

    I confused?

    Is it just me or does the interface seem really confusing. I got lost half way through the video. I had to watch it a couple of times to understand the "home" screen that keeps up dating and then the large type at the top that doesn't always seem to fit on the screen? I have not used the zune so maybe there is something to this interface. But from what I can see it would be hard to just pick this up and use it. Making a call seems overly complicated and all the rest of the social networking integration seems like they are trying to copy palm more than apple with a buffet of all you can "stomach" c*** up dates. This will not in my mind anyway replace any of the current win mobile phones or even the iPhone for that matter. They should just call it the "zune" phone and be done with it. I don't think it has anything to do with win7.

    thedude

  1. byRyan

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007

    +7

    WOW

    um, yeah.

    That has to be the most visually confusing interface I have ever seen. They clearly are trying to apply print design to a phone interface. Don't get me wrong.. there is a time for modular, blocky design and stylistically cut off text, but in a pamphlet form, where the viewer has time to absorb the info.

    As for these "hub screens" that are really wide, and you only get to see a sliver of them at a time... thats just bad design!

  1. taylorv

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2009

    -6

    acttually not that bad

    like anything new, it will take some getting used to... but overall, I have to say this is pretty impressive.

    The UI decisions are far out, but there's a lot of interesting details that I think surpass the iPhoneOS... for instance, I love how the background image on the different screens moves over a little each time you take a swipe.

    We'll see how it fares in the real world, though.

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