Microsoft announced the next version of its mobile operating system in Barcelona this week, named Windows Phone 7 Series. Although not the most pleasant sounding name, it is definitely the most pleasant looking Windows Mobile ever.
When Microsoft stopped calling it Windows Mobile and started calling it Windows Phone when 6.5 hit, we knew what was in store - a complete overhaul of the operating system - and that is exactly what we got. It's a smartphone, a Zune and an Xbox Portable (our name) all in one device.
The first thing to note is that the familiar Windows feel is gone, replaced instead with a more ZuneHD feel; multiple tiles on the Start screen, which are completely customizable. Similar to an Android home screen, but with a more widget feel. You can have Facebook status updates, Xbox Live, Internet Explorer, Zune, Pictures, etc.
While EPIX already has control over your television and computer, Adobe's
Open Screen Project has opened a door for their Big On Any Screen philosophy to make its way to mobile devices as well.
The Open Screen Project is based around Flash Player 10.1 for mobile, which some devices currently support. If the mobile version can keep up with the capabilities of its desktop cousin, there is a lot of possibility here. They will be working on a feature where you can start a movie on your TV or computer and finish it on your mobile, but there was very little information available on that.
We also have no release date, carrier partners or info on whether you will need to have your wireless and cable linked to use the continue feature, but if so I can certainly see a partnership with Verizon VCast or AT&T Uverse, though Sprint's media offerings and capabilities tend to overshadow the others.
Intel and Nokia have each been working on new Linux-based mobile operating systems. Neither is really finished and neither is really hugely innovative, but what they do have in common is that they no longer exist.
At Nokia's media presentation at the Mobile World Congress on Monday, Nokia and Intel announced that Intel's Maemo and Nokia's Moblin would be ditched and their joint Linux knowledge and development would be combined into a single product, named MeeGo. While their individual products were designed to be semi-device specific, the combined MeeGo is a "software platform that will support multiple hardware architectures across the broadest range of device segments, including pocketable mobile computers, netbooks, tablets, mediaphones, connected TVs and in-vehicle infotainment systems."
We expect to see the first MeeGo devices sometime this year, but we don't know exactly what types of devices they will turn out to be.
To start out the Mobile World Congress right, 24 of the largest mobile operators in the world, representing a total of 3 billion customers, have come together to create an open industry platform for app developers through the Wholesale Applications Community.
The companies include China Mobile and Vodafone, the world's largest operators (almost 1 billion subscribers just to themselves), Deutsche Telekom (which operates T-Mobile USA), Verizon Wireless (partially owned by Vodafone and now owns Alltel) and Sprint Nextel, covering all of the important US carriers.
In addition to the largest players in the carrier world, the group also has the support of 3 of the important handset manufacturers: Sony Ericsson, Samsung and LG. The WAC hopes to have a standard for working cross-platform within the next year.
Like many people who use Gmail, an interesting little surprise popped up in my account this week. Google's has decided to enter the social networking game with their new service known as Google Buzz. Not only was it announced this week, but if you have a gmail account, you were automatically set up with Buzz and are following people that Google has chosen for you. Google making decisions for you?
One aspect of video games that is near and dear to my heart is soundtracks. If
Bioshock 2 can deliver a soundtrack that is even half as cool as its prequel, then we will all be in for a treat. I have some exciting news if you were wondering what kind of music would be in Bioshock 2, because you can dial into the game's Rapture Radio RIGHT NOW and listen to swinging classics from the 30s, 40s and 50s. Tap your toes and waggle your fingers in the air with songs like Fred Astaire's We Saw The Sea and many other hits from decades past.
If you are interested in listening to Rapture Radio, tune in
via iTunes or Winamp or Windows Media Player.