Microsoft announces Windows Phone 7 launch partners

Nine phones, from HTC, Dell, Samsung and LG Electronics, will be available in November. (See video, below)

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2

In Asia-Pacific, SingTel will sell the HTC HD 7 and the LG Optimus 7 in Singapore; Telstra will offer the HTC 7 Mozart and the LG Optimus 7Q in Australia; and Vodafone will sell the HTC 7 Trophy in Australia.

Windows Phone 7 is a totally revamped operating system, designed by Microsoft to better compete with new rivals in the mobile market such as Apple and Google. The operating system was a long time in the making. Apple's iPhone launched in early 2007 and by the end of that first year it had outsold all Windows Mobile devices in the U.S., according to researchers at Canalys. Microsoft released the stopgap Windows Mobile 6.5 in 2009, but it failed to reverse Microsoft's slide in the mobile market.

The new operating system tries to differentiate itself from rival OSes by categorizing applications, services and Web content under hubs, which helps provide related information in a single view. The people hub, for example, aggregates phone calls, text messages, social media feeds and Outlook e-mail messages in a single view. The information is updated in real-time and users don't have to go through multiple applications to view the related information.

The games hub will host games from the Xbox Live online gaming service. Users will be able to play games live against other users. Electronic Arts said it will make some of its titles available for the phones through Xbox Live.

The hubs also includes music and video, marketplace (for applications), office (for business applications) and pictures. Users can shoot pictures with the phone and upload them to the cloud in just a few seconds.

Users can do voice search through the Bing search engine.

The company also has mobile versions of the Microsoft Office productivity applications, including Microsoft Word Mobile, Excel Mobile, and PowerPoint Mobile. Users can also access collaboration documents in the cloud through Microsoft SharePoint Workspace Mobile 2010. An application called OneNote allows users to sync notes taken on the phone to a PC through the cloud.

While Microsoft is in an underdog position competing against market leaders Research In Motion, Apple and Google, it offers notable benefits. Enterprise IT managers are likely to gravitate toward Windows Phone 7 devices because they'll work well with Exchange and other widely used enterprise software from Microsoft.

In addition, Microsoft has said that it is determined to succeed in the mobile market. With its deep pockets, it is likely to continue to invest in improving the standing of Windows Phone 7 in the mobile market.

Finally, Microsoft has recently been pointing out that its broad patent position protects handset makers who choose to build phones using Windows Phone 7. This is becoming an important issue, as Android faces legal threats from Oracle, Microsoft and Apple.

IDC in a recent study placed the market share of Windows mobile operating systems on devices like smartphones at 6.8%, behind Symbian, which took the top spot, Research in Motion's Blackberry OS, Google's Android and Apple's iOS. IDC expects upcoming Windows mobile operating systems to help Microsoft regain market share, reaching 9.8% by 2014.

Jeremy Kirk of the IDG News Service contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2
  
Shop Tech Products at Amazon