updated 09:55 am EST, Mon February 14, 2011
Windows Phone 7 up for discussion
Microsoft is currently seating journalists for its Mobile World Congress keynote event, where everyone is eager to hear more Windows Phone 7 news. We expect speakers to provide further explanation of the Microsoft/Nokia partnership, though the subject of the event has yet to be officially confirmed. Watch after the break for updates as the session gets started; updates are tagged with local Barcelona time (GMT+01:00).
4:55: Keynote ends -- no additional details regarding specific ideas for the Nokia/Microsoft partnership. The major WP7 update is due in the first two weeks of March.
4:52: Ballmer -- "Windows Phone will become the most operator-friendly platform available."
4:50: Elop reiterates Ballmer's comments, says the partnership is a natural relationship for both companies. Nokia can bring tech for mapping, location-based services to help enhance Bing and other WP7 features. The goal is to "ensure that we deliver products which are more competitive." Elop also cites its operator relationships as a positive aspect, while suggesting the partnership will help woo more developers with new monetization options.
"Iconic hardware, stellar software, combined with unique services."
4:45: Ballmer back on stage to talk about the Nokia partnership. The executive cites Nokia's experience and capabilities, which are expected to help drive volume and enhance the Windows Phone platform.
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop comes on stage to provide further insight.
4:40: "One more thing..." The company is working to turn WP7 handsets into a controller that works with Xbox Kinect. Video shows gamers using the handset to operate certain functions in the game.
4:35: Gaming preview showing automatic pause when a user switches back to the home screen, quick resumption going back to the game. Press and hold the back button to view the current running apps, swipe to switch between tasks.
The platform will finally support third-party audio apps, enabling users to play apps such as Slacker in the background using the multi-tasking utilities.
4:30: Back to Internet Explorer 9 -- core browsing engine on WP7 is the same core engine used on the desktop version. First direct iPhone dig: IE9 on WP7 shown maintaing high frame rate on a graphics test, while Safari on an iPhone 4 lags considerably.
Another failed demo, as the speaker attempts to stream a web-based video via HTML5 directly in the browser. Problems likely due to Internet connection, but the company promises to "get the kinks out."
4:25: Demo shows tile layout for the Office hub. Skydrive will provide tools for collaboration, public sharing, and cloud access to documents. Content can then be edited directly from Word, Excel and PowerPoint on the phone.
4:20: Demo of the upcoming camera features. UI allows users to quickly upload to Facebook or other networks.
Voice translation demo fails, (showing the limitations of cloud-based services that do not work without an Internet connection).
4:18: 2011 will bring further Skydrive integration for cloud-based services. Integrated with the Office hub on the Windows phone. Automatic picture uploading (think Kin). Audio, video streaming without third-party apps. Improved Xbox Live integration, Twitter brought to the social hub.
4:15: "Later this year, we will release a version of IE9 with graphics and hardware acceleration on the Windows phone."
4:10: Microsoft's CEO continues to explain the WP7 strategy: "smart design," distinction from other platforms, simplicity, etc. "Help customers move between their many apps very easily and quickly, in 2011 we will bring multi-tasking to Windows phones." "Give people the full web, the full Internet on their phone."
4:05: Steve Ballmer comes on stage, highlighting the company's Windows Phone 7 endeavors through the past year.
3:58: The seating has filled up and the event should start sometime within the next few minutes.