Windows Phone at Mobile World Congress 2012

Since CES we’ve been showing people how Windows Phone is simply faster at the everyday stuff that real people do on their smartphones.  And we’re doing it again here at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Rather than doing the same old trade show booth, we are taking on the competition on the show floor with our €100 challenge: #SmokedByWindowsPhone.

In the US so far, we’ve won the vast majority of these challenges against all the “top” smartphones, like the iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, DROID Bionic, Motorola Razr, and more. Mobile World Congress is the world’s biggest smartphone conference, so we consider this to be the “pro challenge” and expect the experts to take us on.

One of the things we know people want to do on their phone is Skype. Today we’re sharing a beta of the much-anticipated Skype app for Windows Phone, bringing communication with Skype’s 200 million users to our platform (access the beta here). The Metro design in the new Skype app for Windows Phone makes Skype shine in a whole new way, delivering a clean and simple experience. Check out the video below.

We’ve also just announced that we’re bringing Windows Phone to new markets and affordable new phones by expanding hardware support and regional availability. Our engineering team did the work to optimize how Windows Phone runs on lower-cost hardware, bringing the high-end smartphone experience to more affordable devices, while still running nearly all of the applications available in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Windows Phone 7.5 now enables our partners to deliver phones using a lower cost processor (the Qualcomm 7x27a “system on a chip”) and reduced memory (256MB on-board memory)—while still delivering the buttery-smooth Windows Phone experience.

Not all platforms can make this claim about lower-cost models. People who have opted for other low-cost or “free” smartphones have found out the hard way that some of those smartphones won’t run all their apps or do everything they want. On Android, it’s not a given that your lower-cost phone can do what the phone in the commercial can. With Windows Phone, we’ve done the engineering so that nearly all of the current apps will just work on these new phones. Those apps that do need more power are flagged in the Marketplace so if you have one of these new phones with less memory you won’t unknowingly download an app that won’t run well.

The Nokia Lumia 610

Taking advantage of the expanded hardware support, the new Nokia Lumia 610 (above) is Nokia’s fourth and most affordable Lumia smartphone. ZTE has also unveiled their second Windows Phone, the ZTE Orbit (below), which will be available in the second quarter of 2012.

ZTE Orbit 1_cropped

In terms of reaching new countries, we now have new language support for Malay and Indonesian, and technology to support network requirements in China. We recently brought Windows Phone Marketplace to five new countries: Argentina, Indonesia, Malaysia, Peru and Philippines. In the coming month we’ll be adding 23 more markets—more on that and things we’re doing to make it easier for developers to build and test apps for these new lower-cost phones from Joe on the developer blog.

You can see why we’re pumped about the momentum behind Windows Phone and the potential ahead of us as we bring Windows Phone to people in new markets around the world at a range of prices. We think 2012 is shaping up to be a great year for the whole Windows family, and Windows Phone in particular will show people they won’t have to settle for anything less than a phone that is simply faster.

Terry Myerson

Corporate Vice President, Windows Phone