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MWC 2011 - Windows Phone 7: Plans for 2011

The Press Conference

For the starters, I need to mention that Steve Ballmer has promised first updates for Windows Phone 7 within the next few weeks – that is about early March. Not let us get down to the system's new features.

They started with a boring story about how many per cents of users are absolutely happy with their Windows Phone 7 smartphones and how many yet wait to become just as happy, and about how great and mighty the new Microsoft OS is and so on and so on.

But then some really interesting stuff came along.

Shortly, usual for users multitasking will be added to WP7: you will be able to minimize any application to run on the background and smoothly resume it again. Also there will be a task manager that will allow you to browse quickly between the running applications.

The next piece of news is the updated browser – WP7 will see a mobile version of Internet Explorer 9. This is where it gets ambiguous. On the one hand, Microsoft has shown how quickly the new browser streams video (web video), on the other, they did not a say a thing during the press conference about whether the current "special features" will be fixed (like e.g. no auto text alignment to fit the screen) or about whether it supports Flash.

A Twitter feed will also be added to the People hub more precisely to its What's New screen. I will remind you that currently it displays messages from you Facebook and Windows Live accounts.

Another useful feature is the new utility application that manages your SkyDrive storage space. You can now view the contents of your SkyDrive account and manage it: upload files to the server and download them directly from the application.

Besides there was a lot of talking about Nokia and further cooperation of the two companies, we will skip this for now. Other news is – Microsoft reps have presented a great deal of new games but I do not think it is worth going deep into this.

So what do we have in total? There will be the first serious WP7 update that will also enable copy/paste. In 2011 with no precise date the system will also get proper multitasking and SkyDrive account management tools. I do not share any optimism about the new IE9 with hardware acceleration and new web standards like HTML5 – why does it need all this if it cannot even align the text to the screen width and does not display the URL line in landscape orientation? Though, I must say, the positive shift is obvious.

It is important that all the feature that have been announced today will actually make it to the system in 2011 – may be then the company will get to all the other drawbacks.

The Microsoft Stand

Here, alas, I did not see anything new, so I will briefly comment on a few models that I have found interesting and have not yet played with.

HTC 7 Pro

The stand guy had lost the key so I did not have a chance to have a look at the phone's QWERTY key pad. But even from distance the phone looks great: an interesting solution of covering the loudspeakers with grills on the upper and down sides of the front panel. And a metal battery panel which has become usual for HTC smartphones.

Dell Venue Pro

Apparently everyone interested have already had a chance to buy it. But in Russia this phone is not sold and I could not get it for a review. Meanwhile the phone leaves a strong impression. Surely in terms of size Venue Pro is comparable to shovels but this size has certain advantages: it is feels solid in hand and the sliding key pad is easy to use, though, at first, you suppose that one cannot possibly use it.

Besides the Microsoft stand also had Samsung, LG and a few HTC smartphones.

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Artem Lutfullin (artem@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Robert Mugattarov (mugattarov@gmail.com)

Published — 17 February 2011

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