Windows Phone 7

July 7, 2010
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July 7, 2010

James Taylor

Microsoft recent­ly announced the avail­abil­i­ty of the Win­dows Phone 7 ship­ping this hol­i­day sea­son (rumored for Octo­ber or Novem­ber). With recent releas­es for Apples iPhone 4 and Google’s Android phone, the updat­ed Win­dows Phone has received lim­it­ed press. For­mal­ly Win­dows Mobile, the updat­ed Smart­phone will take advan­tage of touch screen tech­nol­o­gy and more advanced secu­ri­ty than most of its com­peti­tors. Secu­ri­ty is a wel­come fea­ture based on Microsoft’s sto­ried past with security.
At first blush, the new phone appears to blend a more con­sumer look-and-feel with the busi­ness fea­tures that are expect­ed from a Win­dows based phone. This new look-and-feel along with the Mobile Office Suite (Word, Excel, Pow­er­Point, etc.) should help it com­pete in the accel­er­at­ing bat­tle of the Smart­phone space. Microsoft also includes cloud/services inte­gra­tion in the new phone, with host­ed Exchange and Share­Point ser­vices. The offer­ing will include access to Out­look Mobile and the new Office Hub for Busi­ness Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty Online Suite (BPOS) customers.
The Team at ISBX had an oppor­tu­ni­ty to check out an ear­ly pro­to­type of the Win­dows 7 device at a recent event we were invit­ed to. We have to admit, we were impressed. If any­one is going to be able to make a run at this mar­ket, it is going to be Microsoft. We are plan­ning on sup­port­ing devel­op­ment of appli­ca­tions for the Win­dows 7 plat­form for our clients as we pur­sue true cross plat­form appli­ca­tion devel­op­ment. New fea­ture and func­tion infor­ma­tion is below.
Con­sumer Features
New Touch Friend­ly User Inter­face: The Win­dows Phone 7 devel­op­ment team worked close­ly with the Microsoft Zune Play­er (Microsoft music play­er) team to devel­op a new user inter­face that is flu­id and clean. Big icons that reflect real time infor­ma­tion help in find­ing the infor­ma­tion you need on the go. Social and Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty Hubs: Accord­ing to PC World, “The peo­ple hub aggre­gates your friends from all of your social net­works in three screens.” “The Pic­tures hub lets you see all of the pic­tures on your hub, your most recent pic­tures and what’s new with all of your friends.” The Office hub lets you eas­i­ly sync your doc­u­ments between your phone and your PC.” Zune Play­er and Xbox Live: It has been rumored that the new Win­dows Phone 7 will ship with the same music and video fea­tures as the Zune HD. Xbox Live func­tion­al­i­ty will include track­ing oth­er gamer’s achieve­ments, and will ship with a mobile ver­sion of Xbox live games. Gamers will also have the abil­i­ty to pur­chase games from the Win­dows Marketplace.
Busi­ness Features
Secu­ri­ty: Over the past few years, secu­ri­ty has become a pri­or­i­ty with Microsoft and the Win­dows Phone 7 is no excep­tion. It is built from the ground up using indus­try best prac­tices in secure soft­ware devel­op­ment (Secure Devel­op­ment Life­cy­cle). The new phone will sup­port IT man­aged poli­cies such as remote wipe, require pass­word, pass­word strength, and the abil­i­ty to shut off remov­able SD Cards. Secure data trans­mis­sion will also be sup­port­ed through 128 or 256 Bit SSL Encryp­tion. Office Appli­ca­tions: A key advan­tage of the Microsoft Phone is the inclu­sion of Microsoft Mobile Office Appli­ca­tions (Word, Excel, Pow­er­Point, OneNote, and Share­Point). This allows the Smart­phone user to take and update doc­u­ments and pre­sen­ta­tions on the go. These appli­ca­tions are cur­rent­ly not avail­able on oth­er mobile plat­forms, and a chal­lenge that many iPad users have voiced. Col­lab­o­ra­tion: Microsoft is mak­ing some tweaks to the famil­iar rich email, cal­en­dar, and Share­Point appli­ca­tions in the new phone. The back­end inte­gra­tion with the indus­try stan­dard Exchange Serv­er should pro­vide one of the best email user expe­ri­ences of the mobile phones. This along with the Social and Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty Hubs make the new Win­dows Phone 7 a high­ly col­lab­o­ra­tive busi­ness device. ISBX is engaged at a local lev­el with Microsoft to get a head start on build­ing appli­ca­tions for the new Win­dows Phone 7. With our pre­vi­ous Win­dows Mobile devel­op­ment expe­ri­ence, we will be ramped up quick­ly to pro­vide new appli­ca­tions for our clients. Based on our research and dis­cus­sions with Microsoft, we feel this new mobile phone will be a strong con­tender in the mobile space espe­cial­ly at the busi­ness lev­el. The tight inte­gra­tion with Exchange Serv­er, mobile Office Appli­ca­tions, and secu­ri­ty fea­tures with IT man­aged poli­cies set it apart from the iPhone and Android. Avail­abil­i­ty of busi­ness appli­ca­tions will be an ear­ly chal­lenge for this late phone entry. For the con­sumer, the new release of the Win­dows Phone 7 shows promise as well. The new user inter­face is smooth and slick, the Social Media and Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty Hub is new to the mobile phone are­na. It is also rumored that Microsoft is hold­ing off dis­cus­sions for major fea­tures to cre­ate buzz for the launch. Bar­ing any major sna­fus, such as push­ing out the launch date to 2011. It appears that Microsoft is back in the mobile game.
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