The long awaited unveiling of the latest Microsoft mobile phone OS is happening as I type in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress. Twitter is all excited, as you might imagine, with tech journalists and gadget watchers alike swooning over the flashy new additions which would seem to suggest that Microsoft has finally arrived in right place as far as mobile phones are concerned. However, just as many people would appear to be asking the rather pertinent question: does it matter any more? After all, with BlackBerry, Android and Apple already well entrenched it does seem to be a little late to be getting all excited over the Microsoft offering.
Talking of which, just what is it that Microsoft is offering. Forgive me for being brief, but consider this the clip-notes version with more in-depth analysis coming later at DaniWeb from our staff writer team. There's a 'Live Tiles' interface which is being described as putting super-icons on the home screen which connect to the Internet and pull data from disparate feeds such as email, social networking, calendars and photo sharing services according to Joe Belfiore, the Microsoft executive introducing Windows Mobile 7 Series in Barcelona today.
Then there is the X-Box Live integration, although I am not as yet sure exactly how this will work it would appear that Microsoft is intending there to be a level of integration between X-Box Live games and your mobile phone handset. More interestingly, especially from the 'is Microsoft too late' and 'does anyone really care' departments comes the announcement that "every Windows 7 Series phone will be a Zune". yeah, right, OK. Meh. Not that it isn't long overdue to make Zune functionality available as a service in this way, but it should have happened a long time before now, a long time before the competition was so, well, competitive, not a long time after anyone really gives a damn.
Same sort of goes for the news that all Windows Phone 7 Series handsets will come with multitouch (4-point) and compasses and acceleramoters.
I will, at the moment at least, applaud Microsoft for starting from scratch with Windows Mobile. It had to be done if it was to save anything from what has been a pretty disastrous foray into the world of mobile phones, but while there is no doubting that Windows 7 Series looks really good it will take a lot more than just a pretty face to make any real impact in the market as it stands today.