Device operating systems

MWC 2010: Microsoft Bites Back

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress -- Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is, as expected, providing one of the early highlights of the massive European wireless show with the unveiling of its dedicated Windows Series 7 Phone operating system here, while it rains on the plains in Spain.

The software giant plastered the nearest metro station and the halls of the conference center with ads for the new OS. Gawking onlookers anxious for a look at the new software -- which is clearly intended to reinvigorate Microsoft's smartphone presence after the assault of Android and iPhone -- made reaching the Microsoft booth inside Hall 1 a tricky business. Here are the main features revealed so far:

  • Microsoft is calling the interface and look of the phone "fundamentally different," as it has stripped away PC-style buttons to add features like "live tiles" -- tiny windows on the front-page that update with fresh content constantly -- and one-touch access to mobile search through its Bing search engine.

  • The phone is getting a shot of DNA from Microsoft's Zune player. Microsoft is taking a leaf from Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s iTunes playbook and making the Zune music software the update hub for the entire phone. Users will also be able to pull Zune content from their PCs and get it directly on the phone.

  • Over at the Microsoft booth, the demos showed that Microsoft is clearly proud of its photo sharing capabilities with the new OS. Basically, the phone is designed so that it can pull pictures from a user's PC and online accounts -- making the phone an ideal way to annoy random strangers with endless pictures of your cat -- and share them with the world via a boatload of social networking apps linked to the device.
  • AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), Salt SA , SFR , Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), Telecom Italia Mobile SpA (Milan: TIM), Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS), T-Mobile US Inc. , Verizon Wireless , and Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) are expecting to carry the new Microsoft-based phones. They are expected to be available in the "holiday season of 2010," according to Redmond. [Ed. note: That's November or December time to those not given to giving thanks.]

  • Moblin + Maemo = MeeGo. Confused yet? Don't be. The profusion of cutesy names is a simply a case of Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) getting together to merge youthful open-source Linux operating systems. The pair said today that they will go after a plethora of new devices -- from smartphones to netbooks and Webpads -- when the first cut of the merged operating system is released in the second quarter of this year. Nokia currently has a single smartphone, the N900, running Maemo, while Intel has a smattering of small laptops using the OS with its Atom processor, so its safe to say there won't be many legacy devices to support.

  • Rounding out the mobile operating system news here is the launch of Symbian Ltd. 3 here today at the show. The newly open-source OS will offer multi-touch capabilities (a.k.a. "flick and pinch") in this latest edition, which will find its way into new Nokia devices.

  • Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is trying to leap-frog High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498)'s Android lead here in Barcelona by showing off a phone that supports 14-Mbit/s High-Speed Packet Access Plus (HSPA+) network connections. "This speed allows users to download a 400-MB feature-length movie within 30 seconds," Huawei says. LR Mobile will try and report back later this week on whether the phone's battery lasts long enough to let the user actually watch the film.

  • Verizon Wireless, meanwhile, is busy pushing its Long Term Evolution (LTE) efforts here in Barcelona but may still be able to get a few new tricks out of 3G yet. The operator has sent out invites to a high-powered joint press conference with Skype Ltd. Tuesday, leading to some suspicion that a partnership is in the offing. This wouldn't be unheard of: Skype already has a deal to offer VoIP calls over U.K. operator Three UK 's mobile 3G network. It would, however, be a new twist in the U.S. (See 3 Launches Skypephone and US Carriers Still Lukewarm on Skype.) — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

  • Garci 12/5/2012 | 4:42:31 PM
    re: MWC 2010: Microsoft Bites Back

    I see a bit of a glitch in Huawei's math. 400 MByte film / 14MBit/s  does not equal 30 seconds. It'll be more like 3.2Gbit film (400x8) / 14Mbit more like 250 secs.

    macster 12/5/2012 | 4:42:31 PM
    re: MWC 2010: Microsoft Bites Back I believe it's got more to do with the fact that there aren't many high speed devices out there. You can upgrade your RAN to 21Mb/s, etc. - won't make a difference if there aren't devices to go. Math? Well, I failed my math, so there... :D

    Many on here at the MWC? It might just be me, but it seems a bit "quiet" this year. Either that or I've been far too busy gulping down drinks...
    bwolmarans2 12/5/2012 | 4:42:31 PM
    re: MWC 2010: Microsoft Bites Back

    Possibly their Math includes transcoding the Movie down to QVGA size (making for a smaller file size in flight).



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