If you celebrated Presidents Day away from the computer, you probably missed the big tech story: Microsoft completely revamped its mobile phone platform, and showed off a first look at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Here’s the quick rundown:
- It’s called Windows Phone 7 Series
- It’s a completely new user interface designed from scratch, with some hints from the newish Zune HD
- It’s really, really simple and clean — totally the opposite of what you’re used to from Microsoft
- Microsoft seems to have actually thought it was designing a mobile operating system this time, and not a hacked down version of Windows for PCs
- It’s not an iPhone ripoff, but some iPhone features are present, like multi-touch controls, “pinch” zoom on maps and photos and Web pages, gesture motions to scroll, etc.
- It’s centered around the idea of “hubs,” such as music/video, photos, people, etc., which plug into various apps, social networks, etc. For instance, the photos hub may be constantly updating with your friends’ latest Facebook photos, etc.
- Phones won’t ship until around the holidays, which presents the problem that many could think this is vaporware, and gives Apple and Google time to shoot further past Microsoft
- Handset makers like LG and Samsung are on board, as well as carriers like AT&T and Orange, plus Microsoft has talked to all four U.S. nationwide carriers — AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile — about carrying it
- Microsoft obviously wants developers to play a role, but refused to tell me anything about a potential SDK, citing a presentation it’s going to make at its Mix conference in March
- It won’t support Flash in version 1, though Steve Ballmer said Microsoft is not against the idea for future versions, an attempt to make Apple look bad
- Current Windows Mobile 6.X apps and devices won’t work with the new OS, so sales should continue to tank
For Gizmodo analysis, click here for “Windows Phone 7 Series: Everything is Different Now.”
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