The goal for Microsoft’s latest smartphone is an ambitious one: to deliver a phone that truly integrates the things people really want to do, puts those things right in front of them, and either lets them get finished quickly or immerses them in the experience they were seeking.
“When you first get the phone, the stuff that’s more obvious makes you smile,” says Andy Lees, Microsoft’s Mobile Communications Business president. On the phone’s Start screen, “live tiles” show users real-time content, such as social media updates and contacts. “The features sort of scream out at you,” says Lees. “But the other thing that is even deeper for me is the elegance of the experience, which you only appreciate if you’ve used the phone for some time.”
The result is Windows Phone 7, which will make its debut in some European markets on Oct. 21 and in time for the holidays in the U.S. The phone uses an elegant operating system that is very different from the current trend toward app-focused phones. Instead it provides active and configurable interface elements called tiles that update on the fly with real information, allowing users to place the tiles that interest them most where they want on their Start screen. Facebook photos, music and contacts are pulled into the phone and distributed appropriately across Hubs. It also brings together many of Microsoft’s popular offerings from other platforms, including Xbox, Zune, Office and Bing.
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