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Windows Live to integrate WP7 phones, PCs, Xbox in the cloud

Microsoft is back with Windows Phone 7, its mobile exec says

July 13, 2010 11:40 AM ET

Computerworld - Microsoft Corp. officials today described how upcoming Windows Phone 7 smartphones will make the mobile experience easier and more powerful for users because they will be able to operate within networks of Windows 7 PCs and Xbox gaming consoles with the help of a new Windows Live cloud platform.

"We're back, and we're back with something very different and very innovative," with Windows Phone 7 and Windows Live, said Andy Lees, senior vice president of mobile communications at Microsoft.

He was speaking at the software maker's Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington, which was also broadcast live over the Web.

Lees said Microsoft is committed to having WP7 in devices shipping by the year-end holidays. He also promised developers that applications that they write will work with "100% consistency" across devices from HTC, Samsung, LG and Dell with uniform screen sizes and features.

The devices will also be available in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish at launch. The consistency comment was a clear attempt to resonate with developers who have raised concerns about the variety of hardware dimensions and features in Android devices and other smartphones.

Lees tried to use Windows Live to distinguish Microsoft in the smartphone market, where sales of devices base on different operating system and from a number of hardware makers will double in the next four years. "It is the first time the PC, phone, cloud and console are all working in harmony," Lees said. He listed various software products that will work in an integrated fashion, including Microsoft's Office suite, Sharepoint, Zune media player software and Bing search engine, as well as Facebook and other social networks.

Microsoft announced today that it will launch the Windows Live platform alongside WP7, giving users of phones, PCs and consoles access to e-mail, calendars, pictures, services and the Bing search engine. Further details emerged in a Windows phone blog.

For the first time, Microsoft also said it will offer 25GB of free cloud storage within the Windows Live platform for accessing information shared between the Web and various devices. The storage service, called SkyDrive, will also host the Find My Phone Service, for using a PC to find and erase data on a missing phone. Microsoft has posted a SkyDrive link with separate functions for access to photos and office documents.

A spokeswoman said the Windows Live platform is different from the Studio cloud platform, which was developed by Microsoft for the recently canceled Kin phones. Studio was focused on sharing photos taken with a Kin phone and making the photos accessible from the Silverlight application on a PC.

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