Microsoft at MWC 2010

Yesterday I had the chance sit down with to Audrey Zolghadr, Windows Mobile Manager at Microsoft France, to discuss the Windows Phone 7 Series announcement and the company’s future in the mobile space. It wasn’t really an interview given that I knew that I wouldn’t get any answer if I asked question about all the features that were not shown yet. Instead we talked about how much of he UI design inspiration that came from the Zune HD and the fact that what we are seeing here was started only 18 months ago when Joe Belfiore joined the Windows Mobile Team (keep in mind the WM7 development started back in 2005/6).

At the beginning Windows Phone 7 Series will principally be aimed at the same users that are attracted to the iPhone that’s why Windows Mobile 6.X will continue to be licensed and supported by Microsoft even after the first WP7 handsets hit the market later this year. Microsoft’s answer to any question regarding business specific features in WP7 was always the same “We will talk more about it next month during the MIX Event” be she assured me that enterprise users won’t be left out. It will just take time for big business to drop their current fleet of Windows Mobile phones especially when they use custom build software.

She wouldn’t really tell me how OEMs will be able to differentiate their products, only that Microsoft is working really closely with them on this. As I found out before Microsoft has been working/helping on building customs UIs elements for OEMs and Carriers. But the whole UI (METRO) mechanism will never be changed so the user experience will be consistent on all Windows Phone 7 series phones. Microsoft wants to make it easier for somebody to switch from one manufacturer to another without having to re-learn how to use their phones.

With the Zune player and Marketplace now fully integrated into the WP7 devices, users outside of the US (and Canada) will finally be able to access and by songs & videos (movies/TV shows) in their country. Obviously each country will have a specific store (like iTunes) because of the deals signed with record labels may be slightly different from one country to another. Carrier will also be able to integrate their on Music offerings into WP7 handsets.

She wouldn’t give me any info on a potential WP7 update for the HTC HD2, only telling me that it depends on the OEM (htc) and the operators. There’s still some hope thought as seen in Microsoft’s latest tweet on that matter. Has we already knew Microsoft is now helping and providing the drivers to the OEMs so that what happened in the past with WinMo phones lacking memory, 3D drivers etc will never happen again. OEMs no longer have any excuse.

She finally told me to expect to hear a whole lot more about WP7 in the coming weeks and months (especially the MIX10 event) and more info will be provided once OEMs start to announce their Windows Phone 7 Series products.