Microsoft launches Windows Phone 7

October 12, 2010

Windows Phone 7 has arrived, and it’s looking like being a strong replacement for Windows Mobile. Will Microsoft now make gains in the mobile sector?

After teasing us with the fact that Windows Phone 7 was on the way for most of the year, Microsoft finally launched its new mobile operating system on Monday (Oct. 11). Though there were few, if any, surprises on show at the event in New York, what was unveiled, both the OS itself and the smartphones powered by it, didn’t disappoint.

The first Windows Phone 7 handsets include devices from HTC, Dell, Samsung, and LG. They will go on sale in parts of Europe and Asia from Oct. 21, with the first hitting stores in the U.S. on Nov. 8. By the end of the year they will be available to buy in more than 30 countries on more than 60 cellphone operators. And lots more handsets powered by Windows Phone 7 are currently in development.

Microsoft has been strict so as to ensure all Windows Phone 7 handsets look and feel very similar. So while each manufacturer is able to customize its handsets to differentiate them from the multitude of others coming onto the market, they have to stay within the boundaries as set out by Redmond. The hardware requirements include three main analog buttons, a 1Ghz processor, and the ‘pane of glass’ form factor.

The Windows Phone 7 OS itself is built around Hubs, which are the central navigation tools and are therefore only ever a few clicks away. The main six Hubs are People, Music and video, Pictures, Games, Marketplace, and Office, all of which are pretty self-explanatory. Coupled with the Live Tiles interface, it makes Windows Phone a very good-looking and elegant mobile operating system.

The question now is whether Windows Phone 7 will be the mobile OS to truly get Microsoft back in the game? The company has faced a steadily declining market share in the mobile sector for the past few years at the hands of Symbian, RIM, Apple, and Android. But there’s certainly hope, both inside and outside of Microsoft, that Windows Phone 7 will reverse that trend. Fingers crossed.

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