BGR has a video demo of the (almost) final build of Windows Mobile 6.5 (now called Windows Phone) and its new features. It looks pretty and the touch-only user interface is easy enough to use though it does suffer some lagging issues and there's no multi-touch because it appears on different smartphones. Here's hoping they get ironed out when the mobile OS gets launched later this year.
A quick rundown of the Windows Phone's new features:
- Drop down notifications at the unlock screen - Pressing the unlock button on the top of the phone will yield drop down notifications of icons such as missed calls, texts and email. Slide the icon to the side and you're immediately sent to the notified application.
- Zune UI - The main interface takes its inspiration from Microsoft's Zune media player. You scroll up and down to navigate the basic functions of the phone (dialer, texts, email, music, MSN etc.) and slide left/right to explore the sub-menus of a chosen function (text inbox, text outbox etc.).
- Phone Wizard - The Wizard function on the main interface allows you to set up your phone (i.e. security, clock, background, ringtone) and email accounts quickly. Pairing of Bluetooh devices happens automatically so you don't need to input a password.
- Start Button - Located on the top left of the screen directs you to the applications page where the Marketplace resides.
- My Phone - Like MobileMe for the iPhone, content on the phone is stored in a "cloud" including contacts, texts and pictures you've taken with your mobile. If you lose your phone you can just buy a new one and get back all the content you lost. You can also access and modify your phone's content via web browser. Unlike MobileMe however, this service is free with 200MB worth of space with bigger premium storage at a yet undisclosed price.
- Internet Explorer - Full IE browser experience with Flash support.
- Microsoft Tag - A barcode reader using the phone's camera.
Things are looking up for Microsoft, but with big players like the iPhone and Android appearing on multiple smartphones it will be a tough battle for a share in the mobile market.
If they manage to stream their other products like Windows 7 for PCs, Xbox Live and Zune together however, they might stand a fighting chance.
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