Just days after announcing a new partnership with Nokia, Microsoft unveiled a series of new features for Windows Phone 7 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today.
The new Windows Phone 7 features announced today include:
- Copy and paste functionality via the first major update, coming in the next month.
- Twitter integration directly into the People Hub, coming in 2011.
- Support for Office documents in the cloud, coming in 2011.
- Enhanced Web browser experience based on Internet Explorer 9 in 2011.
- A new wave of multitasking applications in 2011.
- Targeting a significant volume of Nokia Windows Phones in 2012.
In addition, the phone will be available soon on U.S. networks such as Verizon and Sprint, according to Andy Lees, president of Microsoft's Mobile Communications Business.
Microsoft said that it has sold 2 million phone licenses in Windows Phone 7's first two months, and the phone is now available from 60 mobile operators in 30 countries around the world. As phone availability and sales grow, so too does the app marketplace ? there are now more than 8,000 apps in the marketplace and 28,000 registered developers.
"We're in the race - it's not a sprint but we are certainly gaining momentum and we're in it for the long run," said Achim Berg, a corporate vice president in Microsoft's Mobile Communications Business and Marketing Group. "We know we have tough competition, and this is a completely new product. Our design is different, our platform is different, our customer experience is different, and our long-term strategy for earning widespread adoption is different."
It was just two and a half years ago that Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 team came together with a single mission: to go back to the drawing board to create a completely new Windows Phone, to rethink and smarten up the smart phone, and to create a device that successfully integrated many favorite Microsoft products into one device - Bing, Windows LIVE, Xbox and Office, among others.
"For the first time, Microsoft has actually collected all of those great products and put them on a device with a screen that's 480x800," said JP Wollersheim, a Windows Phone 7 product manager. "It's always been about being different. Because we were starting fresh, from the ground up, we were able to look at what our competitors were doing, look at their issues and work through their experiences, and design something better."
Wollersheim said Microsoft built a smarter smart phone that focuses on user experience, integrates experiences rather than launching separate apps for tasks, gives information at a glance, and "allows you to have things happen on your behalf."
One example of how deep thinking about the mobile phone experience translated into a feature is the Windows Phone 7 camera. Each device has a camera button on the side and can instantly take a photo, even if the phone is locked, rather than the user having to miss the moment while scrambling to unlock the phone and open a camera app.