Microsoft Ushers in New Windows Phones With Style in Big NYC Bash

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2011-11-07 Print this article Print

title=People at the Center} 

According to Microsoft's press release on the new phones, Microsoft designed Windows Phone around one simple concept: People belong at the center of the phone experience. To demonstrate this approach, Microsoft put real people inside a giant six-story phone to bring to life the phone's key features and experiences. A life-size "Plants vs. Zombies" battle highlighted the phone's rich Xbox LIVE gaming experience, while Far East Movement brought the Music + Video Hub to life with a live lunchtime concert for hundreds of fans. The theme of the day - connecting people - was underscored when a New York man proposed to his girlfriend from inside the Me Tile of the giant phone.

"Windows Phone will help change the way people look at smartphones," Lees said in a statement. "Other phones have you wade through a sea of apps, while we bubble up all the things that are important - centered around the people that matter to you most."

"Windows Phones have a strong fan base among our customers, which has helped us sell more of them than anyone else," said Jeff Bradley, senior vice president - devices, AT&T Mobility & Consumer Markets, in a statement. "These new devices cater perfectly to both personal and professional use and make it easier for our customers to connect and share information with the important people in their lives. The more intuitive approach to apps, along with the power of Internet Explorer 9 and the ability for users to localize the Web based on where they are, combine to give our customers a compelling and differentiated service experience. We are excited to add them to our growing Windows Phone lineup."

Windows Phone is available from all major U.S. mobile operators, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless.

Yet, while Microsoft is making Windows Phone more attractive to consumers, it also is working hard to make the phone more of a target for developers.

"It's definitely picking up," Brandon Watson, director of Developer Experience for Windows Phone, told eWEEK. "We've got 35,000 apps and there may be one or two holes of areas where people still say they want certain apps, but we're quickly filling them."

"We have over 35,000 apps available in less than one year," Lees said. "That's the fastest adoption of any mobile platform ever. You'll see new phones coming out over the next several months. There will be rolling thunder over the next year with -Mango' phones."

Meanwhile, Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president for Windows Phone Program Management at Microsoft, told eWEEK that working to win over developers is an ongoing effort that requires a multi-faceted approach.

"It's a combination of things," Belfiore said. "We continue to reach out and build good relationships with our developer partners to give them better access and help with the presentation and distribution of apps. The Nokia partnership is an example of that. We expect to see the unit volume grow based on that relationship and the high quality of what they and our partners here have to offer. We also keep up the high standard of development tools we provide. And we have to do a better job of helping users find and initially run apps. We're improving on all of these fronts and it will continue to drive momentum."

However, Jonathan Yarmis, founder of the Yarmis Group, who said he really likes the Windows Phones, also said, "I still think they've got a chicken and egg problem - developers want volume and users want apps. It's a hard sell. I like what they're doing, and if they'd done it three years ago it'd be interesting. As for this announcement, when you have a party and the guest of honor doesn't show... Or love Samsung and HTC, but if Nokia is their big draw, an announcement without them is pretty dull."

Microsoft and Nokia announced November availability of Nokia's new Lumia 710 and 800 Windows Phones at the Nokia World show in London on Oct. 26. However, availability of those phones in the U.S. will not come until early 2012, Nokia said.

Meanwhile, Microsoft says Windows Phone is about a new kind of smartphone experience. Windows Phone was designed to put people back at the center of the smartphone experience, making it easier and more natural for people to take advantage of the rich communications, apps and Web experiences on today's modern phones.

The Windows Phone experience features:

- Modern communications built in. Windows Phone makes it easier to connect with the people who matter by bringing together social media updates from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and recent conversations - calls, texts, email messages, Windows Live instant messages and Facebook chats - all in one place.

- A smarter way to app. Windows Phone makes it easier to discover new apps and get more from the apps you already have by surfacing apps as part of search results and connecting them to common tasks on the phone.

- Internet beyond the browser. Windows Phone brings you fast Web browsing with Internet Explorer Mobile and the unique new Local Scout for recommendations on restaurants, shopping and events closest to you.


Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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