Microsoft offered glimpses of upcoming Windows Phone devices and discussed big plans for its smartphone platform at the Worldwide Partner Conference.
executives used the second day of the company's Worldwide Partner Conference,
in Los Angeles, to offer a glimpse of upcoming Windows Phones.
Fujitsu, ZTE, and Samsung manufactured the devices on display as part of the
July 12 keynote speeches, all of which sported a thin-and-light design style
that will apparently drive the Windows Phone franchise going forward. Although
executives have spent the conference highlighting Microsoft's partnership with
Nokia-which will see Windows Phone ported onto the latter's devices-no smartphones
from the Finnish manufacturer have made an appearance.
also offered attendees a look at its wide-ranging Mango update, which will
appear on Windows Phones later in 2011. New features include a redesigned Xbox
Live Hub; home-screen tiles capable of displaying up-to-the-minute information;
the ability to consolidate friends and colleagues into groups; and visual
voicemail-among what's said to be 500 elements in all.
to some outside analysts, Microsoft's smartphone ambitions face some serious
headwinds. Research firm comScore estimated that, for the three-month period
between the end of February and the end of May, Microsoft's U.S. share dipped
from 7.7 percent to 5.8 percent-despite the marketing push behind the Windows
Microsoft seems to be readying to push back-hard. Andy Lees, president of
Microsoft's Windows Phone Division, told the audience assembled to hear his
July 12 keynote that advances in technology would halve the price of a
smartphone capable of running Windows Phone to between $100 and $150.
at an inflection point in Moore's Law where you can put everything needed to
run a computer on a single chip," he said, which in turn is bringing PC-level
power to a variety of form-factors. "There won't be an ecosystem for PCs and an
ecosystem for phones, then one for tablets; they'll all come together." Devices
within the resulting stack will prove capable of swapping key pieces of
technology. For example, the version of Internet Explorer 9 running on Windows
Phone has the same software underpinnings as the browser that runs on PCs.
can take the advantages we provide the PC and immediately provide them across
devices," he added. That being said, there will be separations: producing a
tablet that dual-operates as a phone would be "in conflict with this strategy,"
since Microsoft views tablets as "sort of a PC" with a need to connect to
networks and such.
based on comments delivered at the WPC, it seems as if Microsoft is more
determined than ever to bake Windows Phone thoroughly into its portfolio. Whether
such efforts can help the platform's anemic adoption rate remains to be seen.
his July 11 keynote speech at the WPC, CEO Steve Ballmer went so far as to
describe Windows Phone's market presence as "very small." Nonetheless, he went
on to insist that other metrics boded well for the smartphone platform, which
Microsoft is counting on to counter the competitive threat posed by the likes
of Google Android, Apple's iPhone, and Research In Motion's BlackBerry
seemed far more willing to talk other, more positive, Windows Phone metrics.
"Nine out of 10 people who bought Windows Phone would absolutely recommend it
to a friend," he said, reiterating a talking point voiced by many a Microsoft
executive over the past few months. "People in the phone business believe in
the possible softness in Windows Phone's market share, Microsoft is actively
seeking another way to profit off the smartphone market: extracting royalties
from Android device manufacturers. According to a new research note from Jack
Gold, founder and principal analyst of J. Gold Associates, Microsoft's claim
that Android violates its patent portfolio could result in a revenue stream
that dwarfs anything the company can collect from its own Windows Phone
has already agreed to pay Microsoft royalties for Android, as are a handful of
small companies, including Wistron Corp, Onkyo Corporation, Velocity Micro and
General Dynamics Itronix. According to a July 6 Reuters report
, Samsung is also a target of
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