Microsoft wants Windows Phone 7 users to have it fast and fun. The new mobile operating system swaps static homescreen icons for "live tiles" - self-updating buttons that aim to speed up phone interactions. All Windows Phones will have a dedicated hardware Bing Button, another intended time-saving tool. The Bing screen has three search options - Local, Web and News - for specific and fast queries. Themed hubs collect "related content from the Web, applications and services into a single view to simplify common tasks." These hubs are titled as follows: People, Pictures, Games, Music + Video, Marketplace, and Office. These hubs are filled with intuitively relevant content - People provides live feeds from social networks, and a central updater for Facebook and Windows Live. Pictures shares images and video with social networks and connects with the Web and
One hub that makes use of a preexisting Microsoft Community is Games. Users can connect with Xbox Live and access games, feeds, and gamer avatar, profile and game achievements. The network already has 23 million active members, so this connection could be a potential draw to phones with Windows Phone.
Music + Video integrates Zune, Zune Social and FM radio to the handset. Marketplace is an application hub, and Office brings Microsoft productivity software to Windows Phone 7, including Office, OneNote and SharePoint Workspace.
Announced today, the OS will not be available until the holiday season of this year. Committed manufacturers of Windows Phones so far include Dell, Garmin-Asus, HTC Corp, HP, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Qualcomm Inc. US carriers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless have already partnered with Microsoft.
According to Engadget, this ambitious rebranding completely replaces the old interface with one much like that of the Zune HD. The system code is also brand new, and the required specifications for hardware are more specific and uniform for the intended devices.