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Windows Mobile 7 Series | First Take

Popular punditry is to bash Microsoft for not keeping an eye on the ball while Apple and Google have taken over the mobile smartphone market. It is true that Microsoft had a dominant share of the mobile smartphone OS market along with Symbian, and has lost heavily in the past couple of years.

The other big rub on Microsoft is that they plan to charge for the new mobile OS, while Google is giving Android away for free. How much will Microsoft charge per license is somewhat of a mystery, but our analysis shows that it will be less than $10 (in the past, it has ranged from $8 to $15). Apple and RIM are in a different ballpark here as they don’t license there OS out to manufacturers.

All this raises a big question, “What’s so special about the upcoming Microsoft Windows Mobile 7 OS?” Here’s our first look:

  • The new UI has eliminated most of the annoying elements of WinMo 6.x and added smooth transitions with simple and supple animations.
  • If you’ve seen the “PeopleReady” Microsoft commercials on TV, they fit nicely with WinMo 7. You can see snippets of info from your social circle.
  • The “hubs” including audio, video, photos are superbly integrated and fit nicely with a small screen. Plus, you can share your artifacts (especially photos) across apps. For the few of you who are Zune users, you’ll be happy to see how it works.
  • Business users will be quite happy to see the contacts, emails, messages, etc. integrated into a quick, easy, intuitive interface.
  • Built-in multi-touch (of course, this is nothing new in the mobile space) and integration with Bing voice recognition is quite powerful (note that this is not perfected by anyone yet).
  • The big drawbacks are that there is no multi-tasking, no flash, and it will not be released until Q4 of 2010. This is somewhat frustrating for us tech lovers that would rather see 4 large powerhouses (Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia) duke it out instead of just 2.

Overall, from a usability perspective, our first impressions give WinMo 7 a solid B minus.

One thing of note (and we will blog about this soon); Nokia and Intel have made some waves with its new OS MeeGo.

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