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Windows Mobile 7.0: Microsoft’s Mobile Web Future depends on it (Part II)

Posted in Computing and Operating Systems, Mobile Computing by Manas Ganguly on October 12, 2010

This is the second of a 5 part series profiling Windows Mobile 7.0. In the earlier post, I had discussed about the benefits and losses of hosting a vertically integrated model for Hardware design in terms of user experience, Operator tie-ups and Operator services and the fact that WinMo will solely be devices competing at the high end mobile computing spectrum.

Software

Windows Phone 7 is a drastic step for Microsoft, in that it completely discarded the Windows Mobile platform and allowed designers to start largely from a blank sheet of paper. The exception to this was the work done in developing the Zune user interface, which has been carried across to Windows Phone 7. The “clean sheet” approach may have resulted in a lengthy development cycle as Apple and Google grew exponentially, but we believe the outcome vindicates the decision to build an entirely new platform, designed from the ground up for Microsoft services. Indeed, Windows Phone 7 puts further pressure on Nokia to ensure the swift delivery of MeeGo and Symbian^4, not only to alleviate further drops in market share, but to bolster a weakening position in developer support.

Unusually for Microsoft, the design has been led almost completely from a consumer’s point of view, even though the company has ambitions for Windows Phone 7 in the enterprise market. The emphasis throughout has been on quality of execution rather than stuffing it full of features. The interface is very smooth, slick and fast on all the devices CCS Insight has used. It has also been designed with fresh thinking and it contains a number of neat innovations. For example, the camera interface shows a glimpse of the previously taken photo at one side of the screen, making it obvious how to get back to an earlier picture.

The architecture of Windows Phone 7 is also innovative. It is based on “Hubs” — areas of the software that manage access to different types of content. Microsoft provides six Windows Phone Hubs: People, Pictures, Games, Music and Videos, Office and Marketplace. In addition to these it is also possible for handset manufacturers and carrier partners to create Hubs as a way of presenting their own content and services. Beyond this, Microsoft’s partners can create tiles for the home page, so that users have a shortcut (containing live content) to the Hubs. Hubs effectively blur the line between applications and services, enabling closer integration of services with aspects of the phone. Examples are already seen in the way that the People Hub integrates with Facebook and in the way some of the music service applications connect to the Music Hub.

Windows Phone 7 serves up opportunities for deep third party integration. Third-party applications can make use of the same design elements used in Hubs, so that applications work like native software. This represents a fundamentally different philosophy to the closed Apple environment and application-centric ethos of the iPhone. For Microsoft, this represents a clear
point of differentiation as it seeks to win developer support.

Although Windows Phone 7 has a consumer-friendly design, Microsoft has built in significant capabilities for Office, including the ability to view, edit and annotate Office 2010 documents, integration with Outlook and collaboration with OneNote and SharePoint. As a result the platform has respectable enterprise credentials. However, the high cost of handsets will be a significant inhibitor to widespread adoption among businesses in the short term and the platform lacks the comprehensive device management and security policy features that characterized Windows Mobile 6.5. It is expected that WinMo 7’s enterprise capability will evolve much the same way as iPhone and Android did in the Enterprise segment.

The bigger play for Microsoft is positioning Windows Phone 7 as “a great gaming platform”. Microsoft has linked Windows Phone 7 into its Xbox Live service. This could establish Windows Phone 7 as the leading mobile platform for high-end games. Although the size of this opportunity is arguably smaller in volume terms than the more casual gaming segment, it could prove a highly lucrative opportunity for game developers. This would represent healthy competition for the iPhone, which has come to dominate gaming on high-end devices, particularly given Android’s limited standing as a games environment at present. However, Sony’s PlayStation Portable gaming platform is expected to migrate from dedicated hardware to Sony Ericsson Android devices in the near term. Such a move would not only increase competition but represent a solution for a far broader range of mass-market devices.

Continued here

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  1. […] a comment « Facebook: Building a unique business model around socialization Windows Mobile 7.0: Microsoft’s Mobile Web Future depends on it (Part II) […]

  2. […] of five part series profiling Microsoft Windows Mobile 7.0. In the earlier posts, i had discussed hardware and software perspectives around the WinMo7. This post discusses the shortcomings in the platform […]

  3. […] of five part series profiling Microsoft Windows Mobile 7.0. In the earlier posts, i had discussed hardware, software perspectives, developer perspective and platform shortcomings around the WinMo7. This […]

  4. […] part series profiling Microsoft Windows Mobile 7.0. In the earlier posts, i had discussed hardware, software perspectives, developer perspective & platform shortcomings and Microsoft’s service strategy around […]

  5. […] important event last quarter was the return of the Windows Mobile with its 7.0 version. While there are minor glitches to the OS, it is still a huge improvement over its predecessors and […]

  6. […] swanky OSs and UIs. Windows 7 was appreciated for having cut the umbilical chord in designing the WP 7 from ground up without any legacy […]


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