At long last, the Zune Phone is here. Microsoft isn't calling it that--apparently it thought the name Windows Phone 7 Series rolled off the tongue a bit more easily--but the next generation of Microsoft's smartphone software not only features the entire Zune HD software and services experience (just like the iPod became a component of the iPhone), but the entire user interface itself bears a close resemblance to the Zune HD.
To be clear, Microsoft isn't building the hardware like it did with Zune--rather, partners like HTC, LG, and Samsung will do that work. But a lot of what the company learned from several iterations of Zune design has been rolled into its mobile platform.
Microsoft introduced Windows Phone 7 Series Monday morning at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and there's a lot to wrap your head around. I'll leave the full rundown to others at CNET, but one of the most interesting aspects is the way Microsoft seems to be trying to get rid of the notion of "apps," which have become the iPhone's calling card and are widely imitated by every other smart phone OS out there.
I don't mean that Windows Phone 7 Series phones won't support third-party applications--of course they will. But you won't interact with those applications by selecting a specific icon, opening an app, doing whatever you want to do, then closing it and moving on to something else. … Read more