At today’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Microsoft announced the next version of their smartphone operating system, Windows Phone 7. Based on the demo at that site, I must say, nice job, Microsoft. While Microsoft has recently taken some heat for no longer being innovative, this release is certainly a big step forward for the company, making us forget about the somewhat lackluster 6.5 release. That release was clearly grounded in the pre-smartphone, Pocket PC era where Microsoft was actually a big player. However, it didn’t even come close to competing with the iPhone or even Android based phones in the consumer market.
All this is going to change with the new release, though, I hope. The new 7 series user interface is based on the Zune’s, which means it is much better suited for touch and it looks just gorgeous. I have been playing around with an iPod touch for the past week (more on that in a later article) and the Zune is just orders of magnitude more stylish. It feels weird saying that, but in this case it’s true: Apple should actually look to Microsoft for better looking GUIs. The iPhone and iPod GUIs are so 2007.
Anyway, that’s just my first impression based on the demos and videos Microsoft released. I can’t wait to get my hands on an actual device. Apparently, they are aiming for a late 2010 release. Until then, you can get more info by registering for backstage access at the Windows Phone 7 site. Apparently this means, you can watch “exclusive behind the scenes videos” and also get a chance to win some prizes. Maybe a Windows Phone? Probably not.