At Mobile World Congress 2010, Microsoft took the wraps off Windows Phone 7. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was in Barcelona for the reveal and also talked about how the OS came to be.
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New Start page
Windows Phone 7 looks like nothing past variations of Windows Mobile, which is a good thing. The new Start page features dynamic tiles that constantly updates information and is totally customizable. One of the key principles the design team kept in mind when creating Windows Phone 7 was making an OS that was elegant, simple, and relevant. Also of note, all Windows Phone 7 series devices will only have three navigation controls--Back, Start, and Search--and while OEMs can customize the OS, they won't be able to replace it. Microsoft wants to keep the user experience consistent on all its devices.
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Another aspect of Windows Phone 7 is that the user interface is chromeless. Microsoft stripped away everything you don't need, removing the borders and virtual Start button. Now, you simply have to swipe to the right of the Start page to get a list of all your apps.
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Here is a view of the new e-mail in-box. Microsoft has made it easier to perform simple tasks like deleting e-mail. You can simply tap to the left of a message and a check box next will appear so you can select one or multiple items for deletion. Another element the design team kept in mind with Windows Phone 7 is typography. Though it may not be at the forefront of many people's minds, Microsoft made type a strong element of the OS to help people navigate the phone. We certainly found it to be attractive and modern, making it a more pleasant experience to use the phone.
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Here is a view of the new Calendar. Across the top of each app you're in, you'll find what Microsoft calls Pivots, which helps you navigate to the various options of whatever program you're working in. There's also an app bar at the bottom within each hub or app to perform tasks.
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Microsoft created six "hubs" for the Windows Phone 7 series: People, Pictures, Games, Music + Video, Marketplace, and Office. Each hub brings together related content into a single view. For example, the People Hub brings together your contacts and integrates anything associated with them, such as updates from social networking sites and photos.
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There's also a section where you can update all your various social networking sites in one fell swoop.
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Xbox Live integration
Xbox Live integration will be on all Windows Phone 7 series devices. The Games Hub gives you access to Xbox Live games and the ability to see a gamer's avatar, achievements, and gamer profile, among other things.
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Music + Video
During the press conference, Microsoft proclaimed that every Windows Phone 7 series handset will be a Zune and will work just like a Zune HD. You'll get access to online music services, a built-in FM radio, and Zune Social, as well as third-party plug-ins, such as Pandora.
With the announcement of Windows Phone 7, Microsoft also revealed that it will take its Zune desktop software international and this will be the client for syncing your phone to your PC (both wired and wirelessly). No more ActiveSync.
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The Pictures Hub brings together all your photos and videos and allows you to upload them to your favorite social networking sites.
On a side note, the idea of motion was built into the Windows Phone 7 user experience, bringing turnstile animation as you go through the phone's various hubs and menus. It's quite attractive, but it also slows down the flow a bit.
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While Windows Phone 7 offers a much more consumer-friendly experience, it's still very much a business-capable operating system. The Office Hub provides the usual Office suite but also includes OneNote and SharePoint Workspace, allowing you to view, edit, and share documents.