Can Microsoft reverse its mobile fortunes? This week I learned about the launch of the new Windows Phone 7 operating system to be implemented into mobile devices by manufacturers such as HTC and Samsung. Where Microsoft’s previous operating systems were seen as aged and not particularly user-friendly, Windows Phone 7 seems to be breaking with old habits. “A butterfly coming out of a caterpillar” was probably the best description that I came across. The consistent theme of all reviews thus far is that the new mobile operating system is much more user-friendly and intuitive than any of its (Microsoft) predecessors.
I feel that the main things that stand out from the Windows Phone 7 operating system are:
- A simple touchscreen – Only a few buttons and no complicated buttons.
- A dedicated “search” button – Search made easier and more intuitive.
- ‘Live tiles’ – Square blocks that provide quick and easy access to the phone’s main functions.
- No static icons – The icons can be easily customised e.g. to show new email messages (both corporate and webmail!) or Facebook posts.
- Tight integration with Microsoft Office Mobile suite – Easy access to e.g. Outlook and Word applications.
Main learning point: the iPhone might have just found itself a true competitor in Windows Phone 7. This new operating system looks promising in its simple looking user interface and integration with a range of Microsoft Office applications. It will be interesting to see whether developers will jump on the chance to create bespoke apps for Phone 7 handsets. At the moment, Windows Phone 7’s prospects are looking very bright as it seems like Microsoft got its mobile proposition right for the very first time!
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