Windows Phone at WPC 11


Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference 2011 had some good sessions on Windows Phone 7, a couple of which I was able to attend amidst my hectic schedule of sessions & meetings Smile and this is a rundown of what I saw.

First up, in one of the morning keynotes we saw the Lync client running on Windows Phone 7:

image

I realise that’s not the greatest picture you’ll ever see but you get the idea Smile

I attended the Windows Phone 7 session, led by President of Windows Phone Division, Andy Lees.

image

There wasn’t a huge amount of new content but it did contain some great demos of Mango features such as Local Scout and Bing Audio music tagging, as well as the amazingly slick way that WP7 handles people and messaging. Here are some pictures of my favourite slides:

imageimageimageimageimage

image

There was a pretty rapturous response to the majority of the demos from the 100’s of people in attendance, and there was a great energy in the room, both from the presenters and the Microsoft partners.

Microsoft have made some great changes to the Mobility competency to make it more worthwhile and effective for partners to develop apps for the Windows Phone platform. I had a chance to speak with Andy Lees after the session and it seems there are some good things coming further down the line for Microsoft partners. Not just for those that develop apps but also partners that work with licensing and products such as Sharepoint & Office 365.

Windows Phone 7: Unlocking the Emulator


Windows Phone 7 is going to be with us later this year but it’s still a fair way away. Don’t fret though, there is a way to play with Redmond’s upcoming mobile OS…Unlock the Emulator.

Gizmodo have got a great, easy to follow guide on what you need to download etc to get up & running…find that here. It only took about 15 minutes to get up & running and that includes the download time and re-starting the machine, so it’s not particularly arduous!

I’m now going to take a look through the various screens, sections and folders of the WP7 emulator and see what’s hiding. This post will be resplendent with screenshots of course :-)

Homescreen:

image image

 

The 1st hub is

“People”:

image

Clicking the “+” next to “all” allows you to add new people to your contacts:

image image image

Social networking is also handled by this hub and the default accounts available to set up are:

image

Click any of those, enter your address and password and setup begins.

The next hub is

Messaging:

image

Not a huge amount to show for the Messaging hub really :-) Onto the

Calendar

You get the standard “day” view:

image

but I’m a big fan of the “Agenda” view:

image

It makes it nice and easy to see what you’ve got coming up. Also, the homescreen hub shows upcoming appointments:

image

Up next,

Internet Explorer

Here’s this very blog as viewed in “Desktop” mode on WP7 IE:

image

Here’s Bechtle’s UK site:

image

and here’s Gizmodo:

image

One new addition that I’m very pleased to see is this:

image

You are now able to open multiple browser windows at the same time, and switch between them:

image

This is one of my favourite things about mobile browsing on my Android phone and something I definitely wouldn’t want to lose in my next phone, so it’s great to see it in Windows Phone 7.

The extra settings screen in IE:

image

Pin to Start does what it says on the tin and pins that site to your start screen:

image

That’s the Microsoft site in the bottom corner there.

“Settings” doesn’t bring anything up at the moment, at least not for me.

The next hub is one of the most exciting:

XBOX Live & Games:

image image

Don’t ask me why the New York Times is classed as a game but click on it and you get:

image

You can see the easy “Try” & “Buy” options there, a huge improvement over app interaction in previous Windows Mobile editions.

I can’t get the Emulator to connect to Windows Live, so I can’t explore the Xbox integration any further. I have asked Twitter if it can be done though!

Our next stop is:

Pictures:

image image

The extra settings button gives you:

image

Again you can see sharing as an integral part of the OS. Currently its only option is text messages but I assume that, once set up, your other social media accounts (Twitter, Flickr, Facebook etc) will appear there too.

This next hub is the one I am most excited about…Microsoft mobile devices, welcome:

Zune:

I’ve been using the Zune desktop software for a few months now and I love it. It’s cool, clean, sexy, swish, awesome and fully featured…to be able to continue that experience on my mobile device will be fantastic!

image

It’s not just the look and UI (User Interface) of Zune that I’m a fan of, there are 2 main things and the first is:

Marketplace

Clicking the link above takes you to the Marketplace, where you can see:

imageimage image image

So a huge range of media available to purchase directly from your mobile…awesome :-)

The arrow at the top right of the homescreen gives you access to the other features of the OS:

image image image image

The “Convert” option is a nice addition, I use the new conversion features of the Windows 7 calculator a lot so I’m definitely a fan of this:

image image

All the Office Mobile Apps are there but there’s also a “Microsoft Office” option, allowing access to all the programs at once:

image image image

Excel:

image

A new feature that shows the direction MS are taking with Office integration can be found in the “personalize” section in Excel:

image

This is a clear tie in with Sharepoint and one that will be welcomed by many mobile users and fits in well with the Office 2010/Wave 14 message of Increased Productivity.

Word:

Word has got an easy to use commenting feature:

image

and there’s the option to send files directly from Word:

image

Sharepoint:

image

This gives you quick and easy access to your corporate Sharepoint sites from your Windows Phone 7 device.

The settings for the Sharepoint Client are:

image

Built in support for UAG (Unified Access Gateway) isn’t something I was expecting to see, but perhaps isn’t surprising.

OneNote:

OneNote currently gives this error message:

image

This is the first time I’ve seen Skydrive integrated into any other Microsoft products, and I think it’s a great idea. The 25GB of free storage sitting in Windows Live is under-utilised by almost everyone I know which is a shame, as SkyDrive is a brilliant, and generous, offering.

image

OneNote has lost none of it’s rich media inclusion in the mobile version, with the ability to add pictures & audio recordings right on the device.

Powerpoint:

Oddly, Powerpoint isn’t listed in the Office App but it is still there! However there are no .pptx’s built into the emulator so there’s nothing for it to open:

image

All in all, Office on Windows Phone 7 certainly looks a lot sleeker and easier to navigate than on Windows Mobile 6.1.

Other apps in the OS include:

Maps

image

That is a very well rendered image of the London Eye in the Windows Phone 7 Maps app.

image

The above shows that it’s very clear and well designed application, easy on the eyes and easy to see where you’re going.

Camera:

One camera setting I really like is the top one:

image

Being able to wake the phone up with the camera button will allow you to grab those snaps that little bit quicker…which can be the difference between a great picture and a picture of nothing!

Settings:

The settings menu shows that Microsoft MyPhone, the online backup service Microsoft released last year, is now integrated into the Operating System rather than being a separate add-on.

Myphone Features:

image image

Themes:

If you’re not a fan of the dark default theme, you can brighten it up as so:

image

System Info:

This gives a screen familiar to PC users across the world:

image

ands also:

image

The “Shortcuts” menu also gives you access to the file structure:

image 

I think it would be a good idea to keep these in the final version of the OS; it makes it more consistent with the desktop Windows experience and is also usual to many users. However, Jason Chen of Gizmodo said something similar and Long Zheng said he was a “moron” who deserved to “be sacked” so I’ll stay away from that hornet’s nest ;-)

Conclusion:

There are still bits of the OS that aren’t present in the emulator as well as a few areas that are a bit glitchy, but that is to be expected with something that isn’t even a beta but simply an expanded emulator!

However there are plenty of things in here that make it clear this is Microsoft’s greatest Mobile Operating System ever. Gone are the confusing menu layers and different styles of previous Windows Mobile editions and in are smooth, sleek lines of the new Metro User Interface. I’m an Android user now and am pretty pleased with it but Windows Phone 7 has a real chance of winning me back…however, it’s going to be all about the apps at the end of the day. My HTC Hero is an e-book reader, a barcode scanner, a food tracker, a translator and more…if Windows Phone 7 can’t be all those things, and more, then it’ll have to be “thanks but no thanks Redmond”.

So I think image

Windows Phone 7


Not often is the end of a series welcomed by all, especially when it hasn’t even started yet…but this is different. Microsoft’s upcoming mobile OS is now officially titled:
“Windows Phone 7″
The previous name was a bit of a mouthful and I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone use the whole title anyway, so it seems like a good move to me…the reaction on Twitter has been positive so far too
Now we just need it to be released…and be better than Android ;)

Windows Phone 7 Series


Forget what you though you knew, Microsoft are back in the mobile game…and in a pretty big way!

Above is an image of the new Windows Mobile or “Windows Phone 7 Series” as it’s now known.

Each “tile” is a “hub” which connects the user to various elements…you can see the Xbox Live tile which is pretty exciting! The tiles are all live so will display updated info from the web as appropriate. Even from that 1 picture you can see that the UI (User Interface) is VASTLY improved over all previous versions of Windows Mobile with Phone, Test messages, email, pictures, people and more all available from one screen. One of my biggest gripes with WinMo 6.1 was the number of menus I had to navigate through just to do something simple like look at a picture.

It’s integrated into Social Media like never before with the ability to update Windows Live, Facebook, Twitter etc all from one location and making it easy for users to easily share & upload media such as pictures to Flickr, Twitter and more. This video shows off some of the great new features:

 

Buzz

The buzz around this new Redmond release is one of the most surprising, and nice to see, things about this whole launch. Both end users and gadget sites such as Gizmodo and Engadget are really behind this:

image image

image

First Windows 7 had huge support from almost everyone and now less than 6 months later, Windows Phone 7 does the same thing…MS have really turned things around! I think a lot of those calls for Steve B to step down will be taken back now :-)

Zune

This is the one thing I really wanted to see in WP7S and it’s been delivered…Zune is now the media player inside Microsoft’s Mobile platform. I’ve been using the Zune desktop software for quite some time now and it is truly brilliant (see my post here) and the experience on the Zune HD seems comparable. It’s so much smoother and sexier that Windows Media Player and I really love that it synchronizes your track play count between desktop and device :-)

Me & Windows Phone 7

I’m really excited about Windows Phone 7 Series. I’ve been waiting for it for years…ever since I got a Windows Mobile 5 device in a way…and now it’s here. Well not quite…it’s been announced but devices aren’t going to start shipping until October and that makes me feel better about my situation…which is…I’ve got an Android phone!

Yep that’s right…I’m a huge user of Microsoft products, both software and hardware, and have been using Windows Mobile for over 3 years. However, when my contract cam up for renewal a few months ago I had a choice to make:

a) Keep trudging along with Windows Mobile 6.1 for another year? (My HTC not being eligible for an upgrade to 6.5).

b) Look at another platform such as iPhone or Android?

I was, at first, planning on sticking with WinMo out of loyalty to Microsoft but decided that, as a consumer, I deserved a phone that was fun, easy to use, cool and adaptable to me and my lifestyle. For that I looked at Android and picked up the HTC Hero…I am happier with this phone than any of my previous devices (see post here).

If Windows Mobile 7 (as I may well continue to call it) had been released to buy this week then I would have waited. As it is, I’ll have fun with my Android device, especially once I get the 2.1 update (pleeaaase HTC!) but will definitely be checking out a Windows device in the summer of 2011. Saying that makes it seem SO far away :-)

If you’re looking for a new phone around October time, definitely go and check out Windows Phone 7 Series.

Windows Mobile Timeline


ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley has again dug up more information on Microsoft’s plans for Windows Mobile, this time in the form of a rough timeline:

  • Windows Mobile 6.5 RTM (release to manufacturing): April 2009
  • First Windows Mobile 6.5 devices from cell phone makers: September 2009
  • Windows Mobile 7.0 release to testers: November 2009
  • First Windows Mobile 7.0 devices from cell phone makers: April 2010
  • I’m hoping that WinMo 6.5 is going to be available as a software update for current 6.1 devices but I’m not particularly hopeful. If it isn’t I think I’m gonna skip it completely & go straight to WinMo 7 in 2010..how about you?

    Microsoft Windows Mobile updates


    Microsoft disappointed a lot of people by not announcing/previewing WinMo 6.5/7 @ CES 2009, but they’ve told The NY Times that an announcement will be made, at next month’s (Feb ’09) Mobile World Congress.

    Todd Peters, the vice president of marketing for the Windows Mobile division said “I’d rather have fewer devices and be more focused” to “get better integration” between the OS and the hardware.

    There are currently around 140 devices that run Microsoft’s Windows Mobile OS and it is this that makes it hard for WinMo to get a good rep these days. Apple have it much easier as they develop their OS just for the iPhone and that’s it whereas MS have to make sure the can run on the least capable hardware.

    I only buy WinMo devices partly because I find them familiar but also because WinMo is full of great features that help me get things done quickly and easily-both for work and at home. I hope the coming announcements will show what Microsoft can do in the mobile world…

    Windows Mobile 6.5


    Windows Mobile 6.5 is the next version on the road map, as accidentally revealed by a Motorola Exec!

    WIth Windows Mobile 7 looking likely for a late 2010 release, we can expect WinMo 6.5 to be with us in the 2nd half of 2009. There’s currently no word as to which features will be in 6.5 and which won’t appear until V7.

    I’m excited to see what new features are contained in this as 6/6.1 had some great new stuff. Hopefully this will be an upgrade from 6.1 so I can get it on my HTC Diamond!

    Windows Mobile 6.1 HTC Diamond


    Windows Mobile 6.1 and the HTC Diamond is a great combination. This post has a dual purpose, to discuss WinMo 6.1 and also the HTC Diamond..my favourite ever phone and I really believe it’s the best phone available (even including the iPhone!!!).

    I went to the WPC (Worldwide Partner Conference) 2008 in Houston with an HTC WinMo 5 PPC (Pocket PC) that I was pretty happy with. I was thinking about an upgrade (but just because I wanted a new gadget..not for any specific usability reasons) and so decided there was no real point.

    Then I went to one of the Breakout sessions hosted by Andy Lees, Senior Vice President of Mobile Communications Business at Microsoft, saw his demo of WinMo 6.1 and was blown away! The new home screen is much cooler/slicker and certain things I’d been wishing for (such as the ability to select multiple messages then mass move/delete) had been implemented…(maybe Bill can hear the thoughts of Gold Partners?!)

    I did pop into the T-Mobile shop in Houston to see what WinMo 6.1 phones they had..that’s how excited I was :-)

    Some of the other features from a personal view that I like are the threaded SMS (so they’re like emails-makes things so much easier!) and IE full page zooming. From a corporate view, the big addition was “Domain Enroll” which allows WinMo devices to be managed via System Center Mobile Device Manager (MSM) 2008.

    *Update* It’s been confirmed by Steve Ballmer (after a leak from Motorola) that we’re going to see Windows Mobile 6.5 first..as to which features will be in that and which will be saved for WinMo 7, I’ve not seen anything yet…

    Windows Mobile 7-is expected in the 2nd half of 2009 and should feature a new, revamped UI, multi-touch and motion sensing features. There should also be a new version of IE, a new version of Office Mobile and a new version of Media Player-this could well be the Zune software (see here).

    The HTC Diamond is awesome…and I mean that in it’s original sense, in that it did fill me with awe! That might seem a bit overboard but the Touch-Flo 3D UI makes using the phone a joy. The menu layout is easy to navigate, it’s quick and easy to get to the majority of things you need whether they’re apps, settings, downloads etc and the UI is very responsive. Another element I love which pits it against the iPhone, is the fact that you don’t really need to use the stylus. I can navigate menus, turn features on/off and even compose emails and text messages, all without the stylus :-)

    The HTC music player is full of features and easy to use…a good quick alternative to Media Player (although Media Player is far superior for connecting to Bluetooth Headphone devices) if you just need audio. The camera is 3 Mega Pixels so quite mid-range spec but the quality of picture is much higher than you’d expect…we’ve got a number of pictures framed on the wall that came from my Diamond…often replacing pictures taken with a “proper” digital camera.

    Another feature of the Diamond that I’ve seen via a video over at Engadget is that the HTC Diamond has Multi Touch capabilities! The video only shows it bwing used for a de-bugging app but it could be the start of something prettty awesome..maybe some homebrew coders can get something great going there?! Even if nothing comes of it at the moment it certainly looks positive for when Windows Mobile 7 arrives!

    If you’v got any questions about WinMo and/or the HTC Diamond, drop a comment and let me know!

    Cheers

    Rich