Next week at Mobile World Congress Steve Balmer is going to hop up on stage and introduce Windows Phone 7 (maybe the Zune Phone…who knows). Right now MS is completely behind in the smartphone arena. Their aging Windows Phone (Windows Mobile) platform is the whipping-boy of the blog-o-sphere and Redmond has been slow to respond. Hopefully, we’ll see an “about-face” from the giant software company and I’m going to throw out my predictions of what might come out of the MWC announcements on Feb 15th:
- Zune Integration – thankfully, no more “Windows Mobile Device Center.” All syncing will be done through the Zune software. This will mean USB, WiFi, and Bluetooth synchronization of files, contacts, music, videos, applications, etc.
- Windows Marketplace – Current 6.5 phones already can buy and download applications from the Marketplace, but because of the Zune Integration, there will be music, videos, and apps.
- Application Framework - All Applications will run off the XNA Framework, like current Zune applications (and Xbox Community Games *hint hint*). This will facilitate a clean break from older applications – which is why they will announce hardware for the 3rd-4th quarter 2010.
- Xbox Integration – they are already hints that Gamercards, Gamerscore, and Achievements are going to be present. I am going to go one step further and say that all of the new Xbox Game Room games will run on the phone. Microsoft has already announced that all games purchased will have the ability to run on the Xbox or on the PC and since they have been pushing the “Three Screens” vision this is the next logical step.
Microsoft needs a real “win” to get back into prominence with smartphones. I guess we’ll see next week.