Microsoft has announced the Windows Phone 7 Series, a new set of smartphones running a drastically reconfigured Windows OS and including Xbox Live-compatible avatars, achievements, and games as part of the new system.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer showcased the Windows Phone 7 Series set of phones at the Mobile World Congress 2010 in Barcelona, and announced that the new phones will debut by holiday 2010.
According to Ballmer, the new OS and hardware combinations, to be made by multiple third-party companies, "will bring together Xbox Live games and the Zune music and video experience", and a video showcase of the new OS
at Microsoft's Channel 9 website includes a longform look at new features.
The operating system is designed to be much more user friendly and touch-compatible than previous OSes, as Microsoft notes: "On the Start screen, dynamically updated "live tiles" show users real-time content directly, breaking the mold of static icons that serve as an intermediate step on the way to an application."
An extensive set of mobile operators -- including AT&T, Deutsche Telekom AG, Orange, SFR, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Telstra, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone -- and manufacturers, including Dell, Garmin-Asus, HTC, HP, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Qualcomm -- have signed up to support Windows Phone 7 Series.
As for games, Windows Phone 7 Series "delivers the first and only official Xbox Live experience on a phone, including Xbox Live games, Spotlight feed and the ability to see a gamer's avatar, Achievements and gamer profile."
Technology site Gizmodo had a more detailed look
at the game-relevant aspects of the device, noting that "there will be games -- 'premium titles' with achievements and multiplayer connected to other cellphones, PCs and Xbox 360 consoles."
Gizmodo also speculated on announcements to come for the Xbox Live-compatible mobile devices, imagining "Xbox 360 expanded titles, something unmentioned by Microsoft but that I see coming a mile away. Imagine a minigame accompaniment to Halo
that could unlock more content/resources/anything."