Microsoft shows off Windows Phone 7 Series handset from LG

During the latest Engadget Show, Microsoft showed off a prototype LG smartphone that will run Windows Phone 7 Series.

Microsoft’s Aaron Woodman said the handset is a pre-production model but I wouldn’t expect it to change much before its release (which could be as early as September). There are no finalized specs yet but Microsoft’s requirements mean it will have at least a 3.5-inch capacitive screen with multitouch, WiFi, 3G, Bluetooth and a beefy processor. This version obviously has a full, four-row QWERTY keyboard and Engadget said it was packing a 5-megapixel camera. There are dedicated hardware buttons for Bing, power, back, home, volume, and the camera. Having that keyboard means the device will be a bit thicker than the iPhone or the Nexus One.

The LG handset looks like a pretty nice device. The requirements from Microsoft means it will be tougher for handset makers to differentiate the devices but this shouldn’t matter much if the software is as good as it looks. We’ll be sure to get some more details on the OS at next month’s MIX conference.

The smartphone space is the next big battleground for many tech giants and Microsoft is lagging behind Apple, Google, Nokia and Research In Motion. Microsoft is taking a huge gamble with Windows Phone 7 Series because it is a complete break from its previous mobile offerings. The IntoMobile team had some hands-on time with Windows Phone 7 and it uses a new interaction paradigm that appears to be very promising.

The smartphone market is actually just in its beginning phases, so if Microsoft can execute properly, it can be a major player. It has boatloads of cash, multiple partnerships and a content ecosystem that is almost equal to Apple’s mighty iTunes. While it probably won’t ever get the market share it has on the desktop, I could easily see Microsoft’s mobile platform becoming the second or third-most used mobile OS in the world. A year ago, that statement would have been ludicrous.

[Via Engadget]

  • Katie Mansfield

    I don’t think Microsoft will be big in mobile. This WP7S device probably won’t be released until near the end of the year, at best. In the meantime, it has made all current Windows Phones obsolete. We can already see software vendors such as Skype, Adobe, Mozilla abandoning Windows Phone.

    And when this new WP7S device appears at the end of the year, it will have no software apps. Software developers abandoned Windows Phone, and most have moved to Android and iPhone.

    Basically the problem is Microsoft being too late to market. It won’t be any automatic success. Android and iPhone are already both too established.

    • Jonathan

      Also add the greed of remaining the only ‘player’ still leveraging licensing fees, and I couldn’t agree more.

  • Marin Perez

    You make excellent points Katie but I don’t know if Android and iPhone are too far ahead. MS has been losing marketshare for years but the overall growth of the market means it shipped more WinMo phones last year than ever. We’ll know a lot more about the apps environment at next month’s conference, but I actually dig the non-app approach they’re taking. As I mentioned, they do have a ton of cash to influence partners and they are the only ones with a content ecosystem that can be competitive with iTunes.

    You’re right about it being too far away though because by then the new iPhone may be far too good, Android gets more adoption, or Palm somehow comes back from the dead. Will be fun to watch.

    • Ratnok

      “They have a ton of cash to influence parnters..” What does THAT mean? The only way they make money is to CHARGE partners for their OS. Android is FREE for partners. Unless Microsoft starts bribing CEOs to use their late in the game OS, Android and the iPhone, and Blackberry will have left them in the dust. Palm is a dead man walking, and Nokia will shore up the foreign market with it’s new open-source OS. #2, Samsung is permanently done with Windows (and in bed with Google), so with #1 Nokia, #2 Samsung, #3 Blackberry, #4 iPhone, out of the picture, who do they have left? Motorola? Umm… in bed with Google. Sony? Umm… in bed with Google. HTC? having a runaway love affair with Google. The only real partner left is LG. Which of course is the first company to showcase a “Windows Phone.” So unless Microsoft’s strategy is to make the hardware and set up direct competition – even Google doesn’t do that- then they are as dead as Palm (another media and tech geek darling that the public discarded).

      • Marin Perez

        You’re right, MS continuing to charge for the OS in the age of the free Android and Symbian is silly. It’s in their DNA to charge so I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.
        I don’t think HTC is as in love with Android as it seems because they know they would still be an obscure player without MS. LG is still the third-largest handset maker in the world and it’s just getting started in the smartphone space (in the U.S. at least). Toshiba can make a decent phone too, unless they put their own software on it. I’m not saying it won’t be difficult for MS, but it does have the pieces in place to give it a good run.

      • Marin Perez

        And even though handset makers have to pay for the OS, MS’ money could be used in advertising blitzes, carrier deals, etc.

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