back to article Microsoft re-tiles mobile platform for Windows 7 era

Microsoft has rewritten its mobile platform at last, but the competition still has eight months before Windows Phone 7 Series handsets slip into pockets. Microsoft had to do something spectacular at Mobile World Congress; after last year's embarrassing tweaks and another 12 months of losing market share, the company would have …


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  1. mafoo
    Gates Horns

    Um.... pointless Eyecandy

    Not a great fan of the newish Zune UI layout. Its trying to be fancy without really being useful.

    An awful feature is the 6 seconds it adds to the time to go between menus.

    That's goning to get really, really, annoying.

  2. DJV Silver badge


    And not forgetting super BSODs, super holes (ready for trojans/virii/etc.), super bugs.

  3. Logicalstep

    Hmmm oh well

    I've been waiting along time to see what MS have up it's sleeve and with the little information that has come out, it seems they will still be playing catch-up.

    Yes they have a new UI, yes it has Zune, yes it should be easier to use and integrate with todays social networking feature, but really, that ll been done with Iphone and android.

    There is nothing here which excites me as a long time WM user.

    In fact finding out the UI will be locked is a massive blow for some great third party apps and user tweaking options. I can understand why they have done this, it all about getting a consistant feel between WM phones, however they seem to be forgetting the only things thats kept WM alive is the 3rd party UI's.

    As for the comment made by El Reg: 'but it's unlikely 7 Series is going to be backwards compatible, and pissing off your developer community, by making them rewrite everything, isn't a great way to start out. ®'

    I'd be really worried if 7 series WAS backward compatible, for gods sake windows mobile 5, 6, 6.1 and 6.5 have all been compatible and the apps are in the most part extremely horrible visually and from a usability point of view.

    I say roll on the new SDK and lets have some great 3d accelerated shiny looking Apps, like the Iphone users are used to please.

    Looking forward to trying out WM7 on my touch HD (come on XDA Devs ;)

  4. Mage

    This is why

    Windows 6.2 is irrationally called Windows 7 to deliberately confuse people.

    This is MS problem from the start. Windows does not fit all. There should be 3 , 4 or 5 families

    netbook/workstation/Server AKA Windows.

    Embedded with no GUI

    Embedded with primitive GUI for LCD and optional OSD GUI in PAL, NTSC, 720p and 1080i and 1080p flavours. (set boxes)

    The PDA/PMP version (larger screen)

    The Phone version (smart phone screen)

    Small Screen Player version (media players and pocket devices with text only or little graphics)

    Only one should have windows in the name. idiots. Nor does same APIs make a lot of sense apart from a subset.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's right!

      Yeah, because you're the branding genius and the 245 billion dollar company are the idiots.

      You should really give them a call - they'll probably want to make you head of marketing or something.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        RE: That's right

        ...but they ARE idiots. They sell software TO idiots - have you never used IE3, 4, 5, 5.5, or 6? Never used Winblows? Bloated, buggy and crap. The only reason they still exist is because our employers seem to favour them (for no known reason!)

    2. Goat Jam

      Now don't get me wrong

      I agree with everything you've said.

      However, it appears that Microsoft don't. You see, they seem to be of the opinion that "Windows(tm)" is their "billion dollar brand" therefore all their products (sans xbox, not sure why) must "leverage" the "brand power" of Windows(tm) and give their users a "seamless experience" when moving from PC to Tablet to Mobile.

      Of course this is all a load of shite, which has been quite amply demonstrated to them by their arch enemies at Cupertino.

      BTW, the article didn't specifically mention whether the "Start Menu(tm)" has been retained for WinSloMo 7. Does anybody know?

    3. Mike Gravgaard

      RE: This is why

      I thought it was funny; Windows phone 7 maybe it was "Windows phone #7" either way it's a bad name.

      Personally I don't understand why Microsoft don't help Apple and work out an Itunes port to Windows mobile or something (i.e. Microsoft license from Apple or ask Apple to port it across) but I must be dreaming.


  5. MG

    HTC hardware and Android it is then ....

    By the time MS actually release wp7 the rest of the pack will have moved on and they'll still be at least 10 months behind.

  6. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Once a Spook, always a Spook for Advanced and ESP00ky.*

    An XSSXXXX Hub would be Host to Nymphs and Satyrs Hard at Work Rest and Play ...... for Seventh Heaven PerlyPythonGates Home Territories .... Red Hot and Scarlett Zones.

    *BraveHeart Meme.

  7. David Pickering
    Jobs Horns

    MS just need some decent ui ppl

    oh dear - if lack of customisability is what microsoft sees as a good thing in apple products then the future will be very bland and monotone.

    this is just my take but do they think customisability hampers adoption because people are too stupid to correctly use customisation tools? or is it just a quick corner-cutter in terms of development time.

    i cant seriously beleive for a second they think less is more? what sort of reality distortion feilds is being felt at redmond?

  8. Anonymous Coward


    I think I have had enough of Smart phones, I just want a phone with real buttons, so that I can make and receive phone calls. I really don't need/want any of the other bollocks.

    1. Ocular Sinister
      Thumb Down

      Exactly - It's a bloody phone!

      I really don't get the whole smart phone thing. These phones are necessarily larger and heavier and offer lots of functionality that I just don't see myself needing. A better option would be a small, light *PHONE* and a small netbook I can take with me on those occasions where I do need a small, basic computer.

      1. Cameron Colley

        But that's not what I want.

        People like myself and, apparently, Linus Torvalds* want a device for email, Web Browsing and other internet communication which also happens to be a phone if it's needed.

        Some of us find phones to be intrusive and rude but like to have a device small enough to fit in our pockets that can be used for less annoying forms of communication.

        *See El Reg article regarding Linus and the Nexus One

  9. Alastair 7

    I hope...

    we can get a WebKit browser on it. IE must be an embarrassment for anyone in MS that has an idea about the web-enabled future.

    Overall: very impressive. I only just got a Nexus One, and I love it. But the UI isn't that great. Looking at this, I could be getting a WinMo phone in a few years. Never thought I'd say that...

  10. Anonymous Coward



  11. The Other Steve
    Jobs Horns

    Yeah, but no, but

    "We won't know how easy that will be until we see the SDKs next month; but it's unlikely 7 Series is going to be backwards compatible, and pissing off your developer community, by making them rewrite everything, isn't a great way to start out."

    While that's true in one sense, the average WinMo developer is already pretty pissed off to start with, to the extent that MS probably won't lose out much by pissing them off some more.

    WinMo 6.5 was received by devs with about as warm a welcome as being kicked in the face and having ones chips pissed in. Forcing them to rewrite stuff is a mild insult by comparison. It might even be welcome, depending on the shape of the SDK.

    Corporate devs will be kept safe for a while by organisational inertia, then get new stuff to play with, this will make them happy, to the extent that code monkeys at the corporate code face are ever happy.

    Everyone else who hasn't given up on WinMo already will probably just be pleased if it stops being so fuck ugly.

  12. IT specialist

    It's going to Fail!

    Tweaking the User Interface isn't going to save Microsoft.

    Windows Mobile 7 will result in Microsoft's market share losses accelerating. What it will do is decimate the market for current Windows Mobile 6.5 devices. At the same time, the new platform will not attract OEMs, and it will not attract developers. Without either of these, the platform is doomed.

    The Zune music player demonstrated that Microsoft can make a decent product that matches the competition, but when it arrives years late to market, and the competitors (Android / iPhone) are already established, the product will fail.

    1. whiteafrican

      @ IT specialist

      "The Zune music player demonstrated that Microsoft can make a decent product that matches the competition, but when it arrives years late to market, and the competitors (Android / iPhone) are already established, the product will fail."

      ...except that your argument in no way reflects the facts. When the Zune HD hit the marketplace, the iPod had a massive, dominant share in the MP3 player market. In the Phone market, it's much more open ( By far the largest segment belongs to Symbian. The iPhone has less than 14% of the market, and Android has less than 3%. WinMo has 9%.

      So MS is competing against what you call "established competitors" where it is currently beating Android by over 6% and trailing the iPhone by less than 5%. And that's with its current version of WinMo...

      So, yeah, if WinPhone7 is as good as it looks in the preview, it will take a massive chunk of the market.

  13. Ian Michael Gumby
    Jobs Horns


    Is it just me, or does the over use of the term 'Super!' remind anyone of the

    South Park character 'Big Gay Al'?

    Sorry to anyone who doesn't grok 'South Park'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I was thinking of 'The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin' myself

    2. Anonymous Coward


      No, it's not just you, I was singing all the way through the article- the only thing that kept me awake..

      "Everything is super when you're-

      Don't you think I look good with this chair?"

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Its a pitty

    "We won't know how easy that will be until we see the SDKs next month; but it's unlikely 7 Series is going to be backwards compatible, and pissing off your developer community, by making them rewrite everything, isn't a great way to start out."

    The fluffy stuff around the UI is great, looks great and is exactly whats needed, the statement above is in my opinion the worst possible thing to do, WM is a success dispite what people seem to believe because of the massive ability to customize and install just about anything you want, take that away or make folk jump through hoops will kill hte platform as far as im concerned. WM 6.5 with or without sence will likely stay for quite a long time!

  15. CalmHandOnTheTiller

    Right That's It...

    I'm off to get an iPhone after all... I certainly don't want BING as the hard coded, can't get away from it, search engine in my SmartPhone.

    Mine's obviously the one that will no longer have a Windows Mobile in the pocket.

  16. QI

    Rewrite doesn't piss off developers...

    ...if they are for the right reasons. I've done windows mobile development in the past using .net compact framework. I can tell you from experience that the single most difficult thing to acheive was/is a good UI, by no means I am saying it wasnt' possible but it was time consuming.

    I hope Microsoft support Silverlight in Windows phone 7 so it is possible to create nice UI without that much effort as it is currently.

    As far as the article is concerned I must say it is boring, you could have at least added couple of images or a youtube video to support it-may be???

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Microsft is waking up at last

    Having the demo on Gizmodo 2 things - 1 Joe Belfiore should take over Balmer and 2 Microsoft are at last waking up

  18. Tankut Erinc


    Backwards compatibility: double edged sword..

    It ain't the Windows Mobile we loved to hate anymore. It's a new beast from Microsoft in its effort to remain relevant in the mobile area.

    Microsoft does have a lot of functional stuff. But they are not as well linked as the stuff from Google or Apple.

    Take the Live Mesh, My Phone, Outlook, Live Calendar, Live Sync, Skydrive.. A lot functions overlap, but some don't, some do sync, some don't, some combinations are compatible others aren't.. a flickr uploadr and a twitter client does not a mobile platform make.

    A lot of WinMob devices are "deployed" because of all the .Net code that runs on them. It is clunky and slow, but it also makes sense from a corporate standpoint.

    And now we will have "the lack of legacy apps" issues. However funky the new devices are the accumulated "wealth of software" that used to be available all over the net for the ye olde Windows Mobile won't exist anymore. It'll be something like the Palm Pre, only worse. Nice system, no software.

    So we'll see. I want a python interpreter on the thing. With the old WinMob I do.

  19. Charles Manning

    Pissing in their own soup

    WM has never gained traction as user-buys consumer phones. They have always been business oriented phones bought by corporates. IIRC, Ballmer even predicted that the over-cute iphone would never be used as a serious phone by serious business types because of its flair.

    Adding all the consumer-oriented eye candy might slightly increase appeal to the Xbox brigade, but that's surely going to erode any market share they had in the serious phone space. Business users will surely switch in droves to RIM (if they want standardised email etc) and iphone or Android or Symbian if they want turnkey or specialised applications as well.

    This is a really poor attempt to rebrand and relaunch WM into a different market. It scews their current market and is insufficient to make inroads against existing players.

    Chalk this up as another cock-up on Ballmer's watch.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      unique selling point

      This is all very true, but I have one unique selling point for you:

      Business managers are gonna read "Sharepoint integration" in the WinMob 7 leaflet

      That's all it will take to make sure Microsoft gets the business market back from RIM and the IPhone.

      It would be of course the worst business strategy, if they choose the phone for that purpose. Because then it will be every difficult and expensive to get away from complete Microsoft lockin.

      1. The Other Steve
        Thumb Down

        Mission statement function creep

        "Because then it will be every difficult and expensive to get away from complete Microsoft lock in."

        True as far as it goes, but outwith the odd soon to be historical freetard startup - who can't afford MS' wares anyway - very few businesses have "get away from complete Microsoft lock in" as a strategic goal.

        Most businesses will be only to happy to source from a single supplier if all their stuff works together. Rather than lock in, they call it 'integration'. It is a business asset.

  20. John 62
    Gates Horns

    the names get worse

    Windows Phone 7 Series

    It's not a BMW. The word 'series' is part of the OS product name but applies to the hardware, not the software. You don't actually get windows in Windows Phone 7 Series.

    I reiterate that if Bing is Not Google, then the new OS should be something like Tina Is Not Apple. Even Zune would be a better name.

    I look forward to Microsoft Windows Live Phone IV Hyper Fighting Turbo.

  21. informed


    Microsoft needs to piss off it's developers or rather make the device attractive to developers. The iPhone & Google phones started from ground zero and left Microsoft standing when it came to the apps that people wanted to use. 99% of users care nothing for legacy.

  22. Haydies
    Gates Halo

    Customisable by extention

    I don't know why people keep saying its not exstensible, when asked the question the reply was that it will not be possible to replace the gui, but you can extend it. This is fairly much the best way to do it, why on earth would you waste time redeveloping the entire gui when you just want to change the layout.

    With a standard platform and hardware it will be easier for developers. So they might have to use some new SDK, but the new features in the OS need to be supported and lets face it, I'd expect most people developing apps will use Visual Studio they will just be able to recompile their code, maybe change some calls and off they go... how much work that is depends on the app I guess but at least they will know that if they access the GPS or bluetooh on one phone it will work on all the 7 series phones

  23. Matthew 4


    as an X1 owner i can say that the whole panel thing is useless. you end up choosing one home screen and stick to it. Im sure this will be the same.

    All they really need to do is upgrade everything to a touch UI and it will be sweet.

  24. Dana W
    Jobs Halo


    Sounds like he is trying his best to make the phone he was laughing at just a few years earlier. Fancy that. Another "original" idea from Microsoft.

    And hes copying everything the Widows fanbois claim to hate about the iPhone.

    They just never learn.

  25. Iain Gibson

    Service Unavailable

    "though if you've got Silverlight installed you can get a taste of it now."

    Clicking the link gives the best user experience ever.....

    Service Unavailable.

  26. Mikel
    Thumb Up

    Microsoft needed a product launch today

    By summer at the latest. By year end at the current trend Windows Mobile will be well under 5% of sales. That niche market won't draw developers. Even if they ship on time, have an oustanding UI and reliability is flawless - three things they've had trouble with in the past - it's too little too late.

    It's fabulous news for Apple and Google.

  27. Fran Taylor


    Why would any manufacturer use software like this in their phone? It is explicitly dictated by MS that you can't do a thing to differentiate your phone from the others.

    Why even bother producing a phone unless you can make it different from your competitors? The only reason to make a clone phone is that you are shooting for the lowest price. But you can't do that on a phone that has the Microsoft tax, you will phone will drown in a sea of $20 clones.

  28. SlabMan

    Whelm-o-meter reading

    In the direction of 'under'.

    Phones on the market by Xmas 2010?

    Tell us more about the Android-goodness announced at Barcelona that I can buy today.

    Interface that can't be customised?

    'Thanks Microsoft', say the phone vendors. 'We'll gladly pay you fat licensing fees and cut our own margins to sell commoditised, identical products. Maybe we should look into free mobile OSes that WILL allow us to differentiate from our competitors.'

    Typography heavy interface?

    Sort that bloody kerning out! Employ a real designer for goodness sakes.

  29. Anonymous Coward


    The Zune user and the Windows Mobile user should get together and have kids- it might actually expand the user base.

    Sorry, it's really hard to care- to get excited, cross or anything else. I wonder when Redmond will get the hint that they're not getting anywhere in certain markets?

  30. Sean Timarco Baggaley


    Who the hell's writing apps so badly that they have to rewrite all their code just because an API changes? If WinMo developers are having to "rewrite" their apps, they're doing it wrong.

    Modify? Absolutely. Adapt to new UI features? Certainly. But underlying logic shouldn't need to change. A media player will still need stream data through a codec and get the resulting frames onto the display. A word processor or photo app will still have he same underlying core. Only the GUI code changes, but that's *normal* in development.

    Adapting an existing application is par for the course in situations like this. Nobody who is any damned good at programming will need to rewrite their entire application from scratch—for this, or any other OS, mobile or otherwise.

    1. Will.

      @ Rewriting?

      Separation of concerns? What the hell are you talking about? I love to write all my program logic directly in the user interface class :)

  31. hammarbtyp


    They seem to have taken a modern approach of the desktop metaphor that the previous WM OS was so rightly criticised for. Basically your phone becomes a huge screen.

    But what will make or break the phone is the apps and it is not clear how they will fit into this new paradigm. Presumably all the old WM apps will have to be rewritten and with WM current market share it is not clear how much incentive there is to do that. Another intresting feature is they have finally got round to tying the bits together with Bing and xbox live integration. Whether this is good is arguable

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lock - in

    "They will be allowed to preinstall tiles, and (probably) add hubs of their own, but only within the user experience defined by Microsoft." this at all like the so-called "iPhone lock-up that Apple have done with their store?

  33. Rattus Rattus

    So it has

    Windows Mobile, Zune and Bing... awesome, you can have three different flavours of fail all in the same box. I'm sure phones with this will be flying off the shelves.

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