Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer today unveiled what he referred to as “a different kind of phone” at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Ballmer said the new Windows Phone 7 Series, set to be available locally by the end of the year, would “redefine what a phone can do for people.” The new offering will integrate the Web, applications and content in an intuitive way, and could potentially bring services such as music player Zune and games platform Xbox to the phone for the first time.
“In a crowded market filled with phones that look the same and do the same things, I challenged the team to deliver a different kind of mobile experience,” said Ballmer. “We believe Windows Phone 7 Series is a phone that truly reflects the speed of people’s lives and their need to connect to other people.”
Microsoft is hoping the new offering will help the company strengthen its position in the highly-competitive mobile industry. According to the IDC’s Mobile Enterprise Software Survey of August 2009, the company’s previous platform, Windows Mobile, is the second most widely deployed mobile operating system among businesses in Western Europe and the US behind RIM.
Local analyst Steven Ambrose, of World Wide Works Strategy, said developer and application momentum continues to shift dramatically to mobile devices and mobile PCs, and this market will continue to expand and gain momentum.
“This is a bold move by Microsoft,” said Ambrose from Ballmer’s press briefing in Barcelona. “Google Android, which is now on a dozen devices, is emerging as a potent competitor to the iPhone, BlackBerry, Symbian, and Microsoft platforms. Microsoft has realised that it needs to significantly raise the bar if it is to stay competitive.”
Fred Baumhardt, the chief technology officer at Microsoft South Africa, said the market for powerful smart phones had shifted dramatically over the last three years, reflecting changes in the customer, the technology and the competitive landscape.
“We expect particularly strong smart phone adoption in Africa,” said Baumhardt. “The Windows Phone 7 platform will be particularly relevant as the most powerful and increasingly low-cost platform to access the Internet and its various services, like online banking, government services and entertainment. We believe this will empower many South Africans, and help them fulfill their digital ambitions.”
No release date or pricing details for the local market regarding the Windows Phone 7 series have been confirmed.
Microsoft unveils Windows Phone 7 Series << Discussion