Microsoft dropped “Series” from the “Windows Phone 7 Series” moniker for its upcoming smartphone line, streamlining a name repeatedly derided by the media for being a mouthful. The announcement comes as developer interest in creating applications for the platform has increased, according to a recent Appcelerator survey.
An April 2 tweet on the Official Windows Phone Twitter Channel read: “Tis the season for Series finales. We’ve got one too-dropping the -Series’ and keeping the -Windows Phone 7.’ Done.”
Microsoft envisions Windows Phone 7 as a fresh start in the smartphone operating-system space, where it has been losing market share over several quarters in the face of fierce competition from the likes of Apple iPhone, Research In Motion’s BlackBerry and Google Android devices.
A recent survey by Appcelerator, which builds platforms for native mobile- and desktop-application development, found that the percentage of developers “very interested” in the Windows Phone 7 platform climbed from 13 percent in January to 34 percent by the end of March. During that same period, interest in BlackBerry development climbed from 21 percent to 43 percent, while interest in Android and the iPhone narrowed to a respective 81 percent and 87 percent. Some 53 percent of developers also expressed interest in the iPad, which sold more than 300,000 units on its first day of release, April 3.
Windows Phone 7 devices will be released at an as-yet-unannounced point near the end of 2010. During March’s CTIA Wireless 2010 conference in Las Vegas, Microsoft demonstrated prototype phones running the operating system, which features a slick consumer interface reminiscent of the Zune HD. As opposed to devices such as the iPhone and Google Android, which emphasize pages of mobile applications, Windows Phone 7 aggregates Web content and applications into category-specific “Hubs” such as “Games” and “People.”
Windows Phone 7 will leverage Silverlight and XMA to build rich content and 3D games. Features for developers include a Microsoft Location Service, for acquiring location information via a single point of reference; Microsoft Notification Service, for pushing information to the device; Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone; and a Windows Phone 7 Series Emulator for testing.
Microsoft is also planning a Windows Phone Marketplace for third-party applications, with options for developers that include mobile operating billing and advertiser-funded applications. The company has publicly stated that it will include support for Windows Mobile, its previous smartphone operating-system franchise.