Hard to believe it now, but Windows Mobile used to be the top dog of mobile OSs. It fell from grace, but in one week, on October 12 2010 (October 11 for those Northern Hemisphere types), Microsoft will release Windows Phone 7 to the world. This is a slick, swish mobile platform tooled up to do battle with iOS and Android – and here are 10 things you need to know about it…
1. The big names are on board
Microsoft has teamed up with a host of tech giants from the manufacturing and mobile operator worlds. Hardware partners we know about include Dell, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Toshiba, HTC, HP, Garmin-Asus and Qualcomm, and we're expecting all the telcos to hop on board, too.
2. It’s touch-tastic
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft has decided to make all Windows Phone 7 mobiles multitouch-based, and you’ll be inputting text by prodding a virtual keyboard (although hardware QWERTYs may be added too). The on-screen keyboard will sport a dedicated key for emoticons. All touchscreens will also be capacitive rather than resistive, which makes for a much slicker experience and, on a non-touch note, multi-tasking is also supported.
3. Tiles – a revamped interface
Windows Phone 7’s user interface has been designed from the ground up, and it’s quite a departure from the touchscreen norm. The Start screen features a number of customisable tiles that link to apps, functions and features. Tiles are dynamic and will update in real time – so the email tile will show you the number of unread messages you have and the weather tile will show the current conditions.
4. Hubs – socially linked
Alongside tiles, Windows Phone 7 has hubs, which are features linked to online social networking services. The People Hub, for instance, draws all your contacts together from sources including Facebook, Gmail and Windows Live, while the Pictures Hub shows photos from Facebook and the phone’s built-in camera.