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WP7: What is Windows Phone 7

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Anton Polimenov
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Anton Polimenov
Joined Nov 10, 2009
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21 comments   /   posted on Jun 08, 2010
Categories:   Windows Phone
This is part 1 of the Windows Phone 7 series.

Last update: 09.09.2010

Windows Phone 7(WP7) is the latest upcoming version of the Windows Mobile operating system developed by Microsoft. It will be your perfect present for Christmas, because it’s planned to be released by December 2010. (UPDATE: By the time, Microsoft's plans has changed. Is there a person, who doesn't want his Christmas present in October? For more info read this news.) Microsoft's goal is to create an excellent user experience by redesigning the user interface, disallowing partners to modify or replace it, integrating the operating system with other services, and strictly controlling the hardware it runs on. Microsoft officially unveiled Windows Phone 7 during the Mobile World Congress 2010 (January 15) in Barcelona and revealed additional details at MIX 2010.

 

  History

Work towards a major Windows Mobile update began as early as 2004 under the project name Photon. Due to delays caused by mismanagement, the project was scrapped in 2008, and the Windows Mobile team - reorganized. Microsoft then started from scratch to make a new mobile platform, which became known as Windows Phone.

User Interface

Windows Phone 7 will have a new user interface called “Metro”. It looks similar to Zune HD’s interface. The home screen (called the "Start screen") is made up of "tiles", which by default are links to important features, such as phone, music and videos, email, office, and contacts. The User can customize the tiles, delete them, or add their own - by pinning an application (or "experience"), media item, favorite contact, or almost anything to the Start screen, it becomes a tile. Tiles are dynamic and update in real time. Tile contents are organized via "hubs" which combine both local and online content. Windows Phone 7 will have a more friendly touchscreen UI than previous Windows Mobile devices by using multitouch technology. Integration with popular social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Windows Live will be included. Windows Phone 7 also features integration with Xbox Live, Zune, and Bing services.  
Limitations

The OS will not support copy & paste or multitasking for 3rd party applications at launch. Microsoft has stated that it will implement copy and paste, multitasking, and other features in future releases via Windows Phone Update. In an interview, Microsoft stated that they are well aware of the limitations in the initial version of Windows Phone 7, and that they plan to integrate these features when they are complete.

Internet Explorer for Windows Phone 7

Andy Lees, Microsoft's senior vice president of mobile communications, confirmed in an interview that the version of Internet Explorer Mobile on Windows Phone 7 would not support Adobe Flash at launch, citing performance reasons. Later, Adobe Systems released a statement to clarify, saying "developing Flash for Windows Phone 7 (and Adobe) has been deeply involved with Microsoft”.(UPDATE: Adobe are 100% sure that there will be Flash for Windows Phone 7, but not at the lunch. For more information read this news). He also stated that the browser is "halfway between IE7 and IE8 rendering engine“. Its web browser will be a modified version of Internet Explorer 7, rather than being based on the current IE8. In addition, Microsoft's Silverlight technology will not work from within the Internet Explorer web browser.
From Microsoft plan to regularly update IE Mobile independently from the "Windows Phone Update" system, meaning the browser will be able to automatically update itself and the layout engine.

Software and OS Updates

According to Microsoft, software updates will be delivered to Windows Phone users via Microsoft Update, as they are for desktop Windows users. The software component, called Windows Phone Update, exists both on the phone (for smaller updates, over-the-air) and in the Zune PC software (for larger updates, via USB connection). Users will be notified to attach their phones to a PC if such an update is required. 
Unlike with Windows Mobile, Microsoft plans to use the update process and functionality in Windows Phone 7 effectively. Microsoft has talked about the idea of "Delighters" - updates that will be regularly rolled out over time to extend the platform in unique and interesting ways.

Windows Phone 7 Development and Distributing

Windows Phone 7 applications will be based on Silverlight, XNA and .NET Compact Framework. Windows Phone 7 will only run applications that have first been approved by Microsoft and made available via the Windows Phone Marketplace. (Read more about Windows Phone 7 Software Distribution)

For more information about software development read this article.


Conclusion

So phones are officially computers that happen to fit in your pocket and Windows Phone 7 is almost everything anyone has ever dreamed of in a phone.

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Comments

  • ppopadiyn

    RE: WP7: What is Windows Phone 7


    posted by ppopadiyn on Jun 09, 2010 21:25

    Personally I won't buy a WP7 device at the beginning. There are so many limitations, you can't do this and you can't do that, no flash support, you can't expand your memory, all programs should be downloaded from an imaginary marketplace (or whatever) and probably should pay for that. I am just wondering what can I do with this phone, probably only checking my emails?!? I don't know how the home page will look like, but if it is like the snapshot above, it is so ugle, that i never use it. Having experience with SIvlerlight, WP7 will be efficient after 2-3 years. I am seriously considering to buy Iphone 4 and I can't see any valid arguments so far NOT to do it!?!

    By the way nice article, I am looking forward for the next parts.

  • AnTo

    RE: WP7: What is Windows Phone 7


    posted by AnTo on Jun 10, 2010 01:19

    Hello Pencho Popadiyn. I'm glad to answer your comment :)

    About the limitations:

    1. It's not 100% sure if WP7 will not have memory slot. (although I'm not sure if you will need it, because the minimum phone memory is 8GB)

    2. About the market place - Yes, all the programs must be installed from the marketplace, but that's not necessary a bad thing - did you see market place for Windows Mobile? I did. And I can say you that it is really great. All the software is categorized and I discover a lot of useful programs I never thought exists!

    3. About the price of the programs in the market place - There will be a lot of free programs! Of course there will be payed applications too, but Microsoft's idea is that the payed applications not to be expensive (most of them will cost you 1$ or 2$ or maximum 10$). As developer you know that the most powerful applications are not free and there are not such thing as free lunch.

    4. About the home screen - find some clips in youtube and look it with the animations and all the dynamic stuff. I think that your opinion will be changed.

    5. About iPhone 4 - Today I posted a news called "WP7: Windows Phone 7 will smash the new iPhone 4". Read it and reconsider your choice :)

  • -_-

    RE: WP7: What is Windows Phone 7


    posted by g on Jun 10, 2010 14:22
    Windows Phone 7 is WAY behind the iPhone especially now that iOS 4.0 and the new iPhone have been announced for the end of this month.  I'm still using 6.5 but am very tempted to get an iPhone now.
  • -_-

    RE: WP7: What is Windows Phone 7


    posted by Steve on Jun 10, 2010 14:41

    Not only way behind, after the announcement, seems that would be when to release- but I wait and wait, and now it's December ?

    I would think by December we'd see the improved version 2 - once again MS is slow, out of touch and this phone will bomb because Android and iPhone are way ahead of the curve.

    Too bad, as I had hopes of programming Silverlight on this phone - but at the rate of release it will hardly get any shares of the market.

    The success of the iPhone is 20% phone and 80% usability + apps.  Without the apps ... it's just another phone.  I sure hope it's priced competitively...

  • AnTo

    RE: WP7: What is Windows Phone 7


    posted by AnTo on Jun 10, 2010 15:32
    I'm not pretty sure that Windows Phone 7 has already lost the war for mobile phones OS. It's true that Microsoft are late with their OS, but don't forget that this is a totally new strategy for Microsoft. There is one idiom in Bulgaria that says "The chickens are counted in the autumn" and I think that who waits till December will not lose :)
  • -_-

    RE: WP7: What is Windows Phone 7


    posted by Ryan on Jun 13, 2010 05:39
    The pro-iPhone posts here are absolutely hilarious.

    Popadiyn kindly pointed out the launch limitations / downsides of WP7. No flash,  no expandable memory, no freedom to download apps; then said an iPhone is better. The iPhone has none of those 3 aspects you pointed out were lacking. WP7 will incorporate flash if native code gets supported (or flash is done in C#); Jobs outwardly hates Adobe and flash will never get to the iPhone officially. Expandable memory - I'm pretty sure it will be a feature of some phones. We get hardware diversity, unlike the iPhone. The iPhone has an app store, WM6.5 has one, it's necessary. Did you know how hard it was to get quality apps before the WM Marketplace? Don't spew rubbish without personal experience - it was positively horrible to have to rely on one bloated forum for your apps (xda-devs).

    Calling WP7 ugly? I would like you to see the transitions, the fact that the tiles are live (oh, static icons are cooler right) and a straight core GUI comparison with the iPhone from the AP Mobile app.

    Apps? Why join the iPhone bandwagon, and get your apps buried under the 15 000 failures submitted every week? WP7's development tools (XNA via C# & Silverlight) are far better than alternative developer kits, and apps will come out looking better (see the AP Mobile link...).

    The new iPhone 4. Amazing. Jobs is actually convinced he invented video calling - what a pity his "FaceTime" must be iPhone 4 to iPhone 4, via WiFi. That said, video calling isn't that amazing anyway, and is hardly used. Retina display? It's slightly better than the WP7 resolution, but you won't get widescreen or larger screens (people buy 60" TVs over 50" for a reason). The design is sure nice, but I'd prefer the WP7 hardware diversity to get exactly what I want. A4 processor? Once again, on par with WP7, this time as a minimum spec. It's going to have to work hard to actually support multitasking & the larger screen. On multitasking, it's as limited as WP7's multitasking at launch. It's not reinvented like the other iPhone features, it's just there. Similar cameras+flash & front-facing cameras will be available on the wide variety of WP7s.

    Android is the Windows Mobile of 2010+. Bloated, inconsistent, etc. Hardly desirable.

    I'd be sure happy to argue further if someone has a rebuttal.

    lumic@live.com.au
  • -_-

    RE: WP7: What is Windows Phone 7


    posted by luc18 on Jun 14, 2010 08:58

    What about this article? ..It sounds much more promising, about multitasking:

    http://bolingconsulting.com/blog/?p=46  

    It will be so dark the future of WP7? or we are still speculating?

  • AnTo

    RE: WP7: What is Windows Phone 7


    posted by AnTo on Jun 14, 2010 10:48

    WoW! Thank you Ryan for the thorough comment :) I'm glad to meet people like you, who didn't like the hilarious iPhone (I mean 4 ... because I can't deny that they made a serious innovations ... in the past versions). Don't get me wrong, I never liked iPhone, but I think, we have to thank them, making Windows Phone 7  Team even more motivated.

    About the "flash limitation". I'm going to post a news about Adobe Flash in Windows Phone 7, so don't strike it off.

    There will be another news about MarketPlace too. It's going even better :)

    I don't think that iPhone 4's Video Calling (I'm not sure that Calling is the appropriate word for this ... "thing". Calling is supposed to be over the mobile network, so may be the right word is Connecting) deserves any attention.

    About the CPUs ... did you read the news about Dual Core Processors in Windows Phone 7 ? :)

    Multitasking and Copy/Cut/Paste functions are in progress. So we can expect them in the final version or in some of the futures updates.

    But I have to point some other things too.

    1. The camera of the new iPhone 4 is 5mpix ! That's ridiculous! The HTC HD2 with Windows Mobile 6.5 have 5mpix camera! The minimal requirements for the camera in Windows Phone 7 is 5mpix, but I expect high resolution cameras for Windows Phone 7, since the Kin 2 phone have 7mpix!

    2. Don't forget that the frond-end of Windows Phone 7 is Silverlight. Since some of the old Windows Mobile phones (HTC Touch Pro for example) have TV-Out, I guess this functionality will be implemented in some Windows Phone 7 devices. What to expect when connecting your Windows Phone 7 device to your 52'' TV? As we know, Silverlight is using vector graphics, so I guess that the result will be awesome!

    That's from me for now. Thanks for the interest guys :)

  • -_-

    RE: WP7: What is Windows Phone 7


    posted by Thanigainathan on Jun 17, 2010 11:22

    Hi,

    Its really a good news. I have tried the CTP of this and looks good.

    Thanks,

    Thani    

  • -_-

    RE: WP7: What is Windows Phone 7


    posted by ws1025@live.cn on Jul 08, 2010 10:50
    I like the microsoft and I love it's products.They are all very nice.Even though the Vista was serious,but it's the management idea of the microsoft.You know the windows 7's sales volume is huge.I bilieve the WP7 will be successful.Just you wait and see.Especially those who love the Iphone but hate the windows phone.
  • -_-

    RE: WP7: What is Windows Phone 7


    posted by IM0001 on Jul 14, 2010 20:27

    Definitely cool stuff. I have believed from the start that like Windows 7, Microsoft has learned a lot from the past and is destined to do great thing with Windows Phone 7. Look at how Android got its start. A bit slow and clunky with limited apps, but development grew and now it has become a very good success. Windows Phone 7 may look limited out of the box, but many things that people complain about at launch will be added a bit later which is no biggie, (Heck iPhone users have waited how long for Cut/Paste, Multitasking, and Flash? (not including jailbroken phones :P)) and the marketplace, though limiting in a shortsighted view, is actually a Godsend for Windows Mobile since we are staring with a new platform, a central place to get almost all apps will be a extremely easy and awesome feature. With current Windows Mobile we have had to scour the Internet to get apps we wanted. Sure it was fun but compared to the android market that has a lot of everything just right there, I believe it will be a dang good thing for advanced and novice users to to just go 1 place to get what they want. On top of that just like android, I bet WP7 will still have a way to install apps outside of the marketplace and do all kinds of other crazy things for the phone unofficially. XDA-Devs isn't just going to up and stop supporting win mobile once WP7 comes out.

    I believe all Nay Sayers that have already written off a OS that is not even out yet will sure be missing out on a great thing once it rolls out. 

  • -_-

    RE: WP7: What is Windows Phone 7


    posted by lupipe on Aug 24, 2010 01:06

    Hi,

    I think that this is really bad move from Microsoft, I was winmo fan but I think I'll stay with my hd2 on 6.5...this is really ridiculous about copy/paste, multi tasking and flash....do we go forward or we are going back i don't get it??!! this OS is all about look so far and I really hope that I'm wrong....if I'm not android here i come !

  • AnTo

    RE: WP7: What is Windows Phone 7


    posted by AnTo on Aug 24, 2010 09:53

    @lupipe My first thoughts about WP7 was the same, but little by little I liked the idea. Even though I expect Microsoft to fix this "holes" later with updates. I definitely liked the idea of updating Windows Phone 7 OS like desktop versions of Windows (via Windows Update). So now I don't think this is a step-back. I don't know if you read the news about Windows MOBILE 7 (actually for now the name is Windows Embedded Handheld (pf, it's too hard to pronounce this)) . I don't like this idea, because as far as it is known, it will be nothing but Windows Mobile 6.5 update. Windows Mobile definitely need radical changes. That's why I like the idea for roadmapped Windows Embedded Handheld based on Windows Phone 7, but for the business needs. 

     For more info about "Windows Embedded Handheld" read this.

  • -_-

    RE: WP7: What is Windows Phone 7


    posted by MREALE on Sep 08, 2010 16:08
    Microsoft has made its mistakes, but when they manage to do the things well, they kick asses.  Windows 7 and WP7 are two nice examples of this pattern.   
  • AnTo

    RE: WP7: What is Windows Phone 7


    posted by AnTo on Sep 08, 2010 16:11
    I can't agree with you, that Windows Mobile was a mistake. I had 5 Windows Mobile phones, but I can't deny that Windows Mobiles is not for end customers. It's was made for  IT Pros.
  • -_-

    RE: WP7: What is Windows Phone 7


    posted by .Mat on Oct 11, 2010 12:26

    To be sincere i'd expected something more (at these days) as UI. It seem very dark, too monochromatic, too empty and full of hidden things so dunno if i'll be satisfied about it.

    I can understand the verctor-like UI based on Silverlight but, with current and future hardware, i was expecting something better considering also the improvement of Window7 UI graphic.
    Many will not initially buy a WP7 phone simply because too young and surely with many bugs... so i hope, being a Microsoft user and programmer, that this OS will be massively tested and could start his run in the market without too much "in the future" features or it will loose his battle before to start it!

  • -_-

    RE: WP7: What is Windows Phone 7


    posted by Shayne on Oct 29, 2010 15:41
    I dont know if im missing something... but to me it looks like the only way I can deliver my business to WP7 is HTML.
  • -_-

    RE: WP7: What is Windows Phone 7


    posted by bob on Nov 17, 2010 00:41
    it looks soo shit the iphone 4 is like 100 times better in every way
  • -_-

    RE: WP7: What is Windows Phone 7


    posted by me on Nov 23, 2010 22:05
    bob. your're a dick
  • -_-

    chnage my mind from Windows Phone 7 to Iphone4


    posted by Dr. Shahadat on Dec 17, 2010 08:04

    i m a doctor. i am using windows based mobile for last 6years. this years i want to change my mobile and decided to buy latest wp7 based mobile.  But all of a sudden i decided to Iphone 4. Because there is no option of copy/ past. How forget microsoft this option? there is no thir party installation option and storage mass like USB. there is very very little medical related software in windowmarketplace as compared to huge software in apple store. Free medical software in apple store is much more as compared to windows market place. similary same software is cheaper in apple store as compared to in windows market place. i m living in pakistan. So again urdu language software is much more   in apple store as compared to in windows market place. basically i donot like iphone but i have to buy iphone 4 because of  much more medical and religious software not only free but also much cheaper in apple store as compared to in windows market place.

    So my final decision is iphone4 for bussines

  • -_-

    RE: WP7: What is Windows Phone 7


    posted by Slaave on Dec 23, 2010 04:39

    To the people saying iPhone 4 is better, have you held, used, or seen a WP7 phone live before your post?

    The MINIMUM requirements for the manufacturers to use the operating system are the specs found in the iPhone 4.  1Ghz Processor? Check(and expecting the new dual core proccessors soon!) 5MP Camera? Check(and supports face recognision, smile detection, panarama shots etc.  Lets see the iPhail do that!) Capacitive touchscreen? Check(and is available in up to a 4.71" screen!)

    Does the iPhone 4's camera have direct integration with facebook allowing you to go from the phone in your pocket to uploading a photo to facebook in under 10 seconds? Do the apps tell you information such as status updates, upcoming appointments, upcoming weather announcments right on your home screen? No they just display a red number of the ammount of updates (not even the type).  Does the iPhone 4 support exchange server integration? Does it have the ability to set home screen shortcuts to webpages, favorite artists, contacts etc? No? didn't think so.  Does the iPhone support DLNA? No? The Optimus Quantum does! Does it have a hardware keyboard? Lots of WP7 phones do! Does it have access to the Zune Pass (unlimited music streaming and 10 free song downloads a month) like WP7?  Does it support X-Box live connections? Allowing you to send and recieve messages and game invites from your live buddies? play online multiplayer games between other handsets, 360's and PCs alike? no? 

    Sure the WP7 phones don't support copy and paste at launch (but they will come january) or multi tasking (coming Febuary update) and only have 4000 apps available so far (one month into launch vs iphones 200,000 after 3 years (do math there thats only roughly 5000 per month average and with iPhones current aproximate 15000 apps per month now WP7 seems to be starting stronger).

    Also just a note, it took apple years to make it have multitasking (and it still doesn't really work well) and copy and paste wasn't there at launch either so is that THAT bad that WP7 doesn't?

    Before following the media and going gaa gaa over the iPhone and thinking every other smartphone must be terrible do SOME research on the other phones or better yet go to a store and ask to see one powered up! the UI is beautiful while its animiated and is SO much more user friendly then iPhone!

    BTW I'm not just some fanboy I work in cellular sales and have previously owned an iPhone 3gs, an HTC Magic (android), and a Samsung Omnia (WP6.5) and will soon have an LG Optimus Quantum (come january when I'm elligable for an early upgrade)

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