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February 16, 2010

Windows Phone Excitement

Yesterday was electrifying for Windows Phones! At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Steve Ballmer and the Windows Phone team revealed Windows Phone 7 Series; finally the cat is out of the bag as we have been bursting with excitement to talk about this announcement for months. If you saw the press conference, or any of the subsequent news coverage, you’re probably aware of the fresh new approach we are taking to the phone. Not only is there cool new design throughout, but the experiences, like Zune for music and Xbox Live for games, will bring together the experiences people really care about from web, music, gaming, and applications. Being an avid Xbox and Zune user myself, I could not be more excited for us to incorporate these and other experiences on the mobile phone. It seems strange to be so excited for the holidays when it’s only February, yet here I am.

Looking back on the last few months, I must say that it has been a gratifying time to work on this team. Last October we released the first mobile operating system to be called “Windows Phone” and opened the doors on a new app Marketplace. Also at that time, we committed ourselves to delivering a regular drumbeat of noticeable improvements. Since then, we’ve teamed up with our partners and delivered some great new phones like the award-winning Samsung Omnia II and HTC TouchPro 2, facilitated a growing number of fun and useful apps, and released several important improvements to the Windows Phone software. The new phone that I personally use is the HTC HD2. For those in the United States who have been waiting for it, today HTC and T-Mobile have announced that the HD2 will arrive on US store shelves in a month! In recent weeks, several of our partners have announced new Windows Phones and it certainly seems like there’s something for everyone.

  • The “green” Sony Ericsson Aspen
  • The Garmin Asus M10
  • The HP Glisten
  • HTC HD Mini

In addition to offering some great new phones we are also delivering to our device maker partners a new SKU, the Windows Phone 6 Starter Edition. This new SKU allows our partners can keep up with the growing demand for smartphones in emerging markets and offer people a lower cost alternative for work and play. Check out Bsquare’s announcement here.

The excitement continues as we look at the Windows Phone Marketplace. We have worked hard to build a store that is not just focused on pushing apps, apps, apps (quantity) but is also focused on quality; both in the apps themselves and the experience you will have when you shop. I have a personal appreciation for the store’s refund policy (I am a fickle buyer). Since the day we opened our doors last October, only four months ago, we’ve grown to offer over 1245 apps for people to choose from. Some recent additions include Prince of Persia (yeah, I’ve played it. What?), Tony Hawk’s “Vert”, and my favorite free app, Personal Assistant. I’m a busy person, and the Personal Assistant app gives me the ability to see banking transactions, travel information, and more right from my phone.

For our developer fans, I encourage you to check out Todd Brix’s blog. He has announced several updates that will help the developer community create fresh experiences and bring them to customers. Additionally, Todd has announced the winners of our Race to Market Challenge; the contest to see whose app could generate the most downloads and revenue. The grand prize was a Microsoft Surface Table. Just imagine having one of those in your house… great cocktail conversation. Click here to check out who won. With all that’s being announced today, this is a great time to develop for Windows Phones!

Lastly, for folks that are kept up at night worrying about security, the Windows Phone 6.5 operating system has officially obtained Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level 4+ (EAL4+). this certification provides government and enterprise customers with definitive information about the security features in Windows Mobile 6.5, and assurance that mobile workers can securely access sensitive data on information networks.

2010 is going to be an exciting year with new phones and plenty of new experiences. Mobility is in the air! Buenos Dias!