Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer along with key mobile partners, HTC, LG and Orange, unveiled new Windows phones featuring new software and services.
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.
“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.”
The new Windows Mobile 6.5 home screen (pictured) 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.
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.
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
The new Windows phones are expected to be available in the second half of 2009.