This was one of several new product announcements from the 2009 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. For more news from the conference, click here.
It was also one of the most-read product announcements in our weekly Mobilizer newsletter for Q1 2009. Click here for more most-read products.
BARCELONA, Spain -- Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer along with key mobile partners, HTC, LG and Orange, unveiled new Windows phones featuring new software and services. The phones were announced at Mobile World Congress 2009 on February 16.
The next generation of Windows phones will be based on Windows Mobile 6.5 and feature a new user interface and a richer browsing experience. In addition, Windows phones will feature two new services: My Phone, to sync text messages, photos, video, contacts and more to the Web; and Windows Marketplace for Mobile, a new marketplace that will provide direct-to-phone mobile applications and can be accessed from both the phone and the Web.
Contacts are backed up with My Phone so users don't have to worry about losing contacts.
"Windows phones bring together the best of the Web, the PC and the phone so you can connect instantly to the experiences you care about, no matter where you are," Ballmer said. "We're working with partners across the industry to deliver a new generation of Windows phones that break down the barriers between people, information and applications and provide great end-to-end experiences that span your entire life, at work and at home."
Windows Mobile 6.5 Delivers New User Experience
The new Windows Mobile 6.5 home screen keeps people up-to-date on important information by providing a dashboard-like experience to items such as new e-mails, texts, missed calls and calendar appointments. It also includes an improved touch-screen interface, making it easy to take action with a finger, and an updated version of the latest Internet Explorer Mobile browser, which in a third-party research study sponsored by Microsoft supported execution of up to 48 percent more assigned tasks than the other browsers and phones studied.
My Phone allow users to view and manage photos on their phone on the Web; My Phone Service Connects the Phone to the Web
The free My Phone service will enable people to access, manage and back up their personal information on their device to a password-protected Web-based service, making it easier to upgrade phones without the worry of losing important information. With automatic syncing and backup, users can count on their contacts, appointments, text messages and other information being kept up to date and easily restored should they lose or upgrade their phone. Consumers also will be able to automatically upload photos and video from their Windows phone directly to the My Phone service, making it simple to preserve content that, in the past, would have lived and died on the phone. The My Phone service is currently available in a limited invitation-only Beta.
Rich and Integrated Marketplace Service Will Offer Easy Access to Mobile Applications
The new operating system features Windows Marketplace for Mobile, a rich and integrated marketplace for searching, browsing and purchasing mobile applications from Windows phones or from a PC by simply using a Windows Live ID. The new marketplace will be included with all Windows phones based on Windows Mobile 6.5, which will help consumers to easily find, install and experience those applications that fit their needs and make the phone truly personal. Developers, who have already built over 20,000 applications for Windows phones, will be able to offer applications to customers through the marketplace via a simple security and compatibility check from Microsoft.
Partners Showcase New Windows Phones
Leading mobile partners from around the world revealed some of the first Windows phones showcasing the new operating system. In particular, mobile operator Orange will update its portfolio to offer new Windows phones with enhanced browsing, diverse personalization options and new user experiences. Similarly, two of the world's top phone manufacturers displayed their Windows phones.
The LG-GM7300 is a stylish, user-friendly phone with features such as one-click e-mail set up to help people stay connected to the information they care about most. Available first on Windows Mobile 6.1, LG will add a Windows Mobile 6.5 version to the family, complementing an expanded alliance to dramatically increase the number of LG phones running Windows.
HTC's Touch Diamond 2 and Touch Pro 2, announced today, will be upgradeable to Windows Mobile 6.5. New enhanced contact integration combined with new Internet capabilities deliver a people-centric approach to mobile communication. HTC's Touch Diamond 2 features TouchFLO 3D, a sleek and compact design with a large 3.2-inch high-resolution wide-screen display, while HTC Touch Pro 2 introduces one of the best-ever mobile productivity experiences on a phone highlighted by HTC's new Straight Talk technology, an integrated e-mail, voice and speakerphone experience.
The new Windows phones are expected to be available in the second half of 2009.
Additional information on companies supporting Windows Mobile 6.5 can be found here.
Additional Services and Partnerships
The company also announced Microsoft Recite, a voice search technology for Windows phones version 6.0 or later, which provides users with a fast and simple way to capture, search and retrieve spoken notes and reminders using just their voice without the need to navigate menus or type text. Microsoft Recite efficiently organizes a user's spoken thoughts based on same or similar terms and phrases, and is available as a free technology preview.
Microsoft announced that several European mobile publishers and network operators have chosen Microsoft as their mobile advertising partner: Mobistar (Orange Group) and BASE, the second and the third largest mobile operators in Belgium respectively; fast-growing mobile travel site WAYN; eFinancialNews and Private Equity News, the financial and private equity news sites, part of Dow Jones; Le Parisien.fr, the mobile site of Le Parisien-Aujourd'hui en France, the first daily newspaper in France; La Vanguardia, one of the leading Spanish daily newspapers; Spanish sports newspaper El Mundo Deportivo; and Le Post.fr, the first interactive French mobile site.
Microsoft offers full mobile advertising services including media sales, ad delivery and optimization in 12 countries, delivering mobile ads on both Microsoft and partner properties.
Microsoft partners also announced support for mobile broadband enhancements in Windows 7, Microsoft's next-generation operating system. Mobile broadband enhancements include simple and reliable means to connect to the Internet, as well as a common infrastructure for partners to build on to create new, high-value mobile services. Partners announcing integration with the Windows 7 native mobile broadband include Acer, Asus, Birdstep Technology, Dell, Ericsson, HP, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, Huawei Communications Technologies, Option, Qualcomm, Sierra Wireless, Smith Micro, T-Mobile International and ZTE.