Skip to main content

BARCELONA, Spain – It’s not just news from Nokia that we’re tuned into here at Mobile World Congress. One of the most interesting announcements has come from our new strategic partner, Microsoft, and the evolution of the Windows Phone mobile operating system. It looks like the wish-lists of extra features for Windows Phone that a number of readers posted following the decision to work with Microsoft that was announced last Friday might come true sooner rather than later.

Some readers were understandably anxious that they would lose functionality present in Symbian devices during the move to Windows Phone, such as Twitter integration, copying and pasting and multitasking for third-party apps, to name just a few. Currently, Windows Phone 7 doesn’t have these features, but they will do shortly. Over the course of this year, and starting just next month, Microsoft will be updating Windows Phone to include some of the things you want, according to the company’s press release.

So what’s new for Windows Phone?

  • The first major update to roll out from Microsoft will take place during the first two weeks of March, and will include copy and paste functionality as well as faster application performance.
  • Support for CDMA networks will be added in the first half of 2011 to give more people on mobile operators such as Verizon and Sprint access to Windows Phone. This wasn’t on the press release, but was written by Andy Lees, President, Mobile Communications Business on a blog post named Accelerating the Windows Phone Ecosystem.
  • Twitter fans will be happy to hear that the network has been integrated into the People Hub, similar to the way Facebook is already. Will be available in the second half of 2011.
  • Sharing of documents will be made easier via Windows Live SkyDrive, using cloud-based technology. Think of it as a type of online folder, but for Windows Phone.
  • Internet Explorer 9 will be added to bring you an up-to-date Internet browsing experience. Featuring HTML5 and the same hardware accelerated graphics you’ll find on the PC version, the experience from PC to mobile should almost be identical.
  • Multitasking will be added to allow for the simultaneous running of third-party apps, flicking from one to the other when needed.

All of these features will be added over the course of this year, enriching the user experience as it does so.

Although it isn’t mentioned on the Microsoft press site, on stage at Mobile World Congress 2011, Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President of Windows Phone Program Management demoed Kinect being used on a Windows Phone device. This isn’t something that’s going to be included in the announced updates, but it’s a good example of what can be accomplished by the programmers. It doesn’t mean something like this will never be included: just not right now.

Multitasking on Windows Phone video.

Xbox Kinect video with Windows Phone.

These updates will be available to all Windows Phone users and further updates are promised. Have you used Windows Phone 7 yet? Will these updates make an improvement? We’d like to hear from you, below.