During the weekend rumors surfaced about Microsoft showing a revamped Windows Mobile OS platform next week at the Mobile World Congress. Generally considered a laggard in the smartphone space, Microsoft is expected to finally move forward with its mobile OS roadmap this year after a lukewarm reception to the 6.5 update released last October.
Among the most relevant tidbits of yet unconfirmed information is that Windows Mobile 7 will share a lot of interface elements with the Zune HD. Code-named Metro, the new UI should be very clean and feel "alive", it will be based on Silverlight, support multi-touch and other gesture-related features. The phone software is expected to integrate with the Zune platform seamlessly, have Xbox tag integration and other social networking features built in the OS. Multi-tasking support is said to be absent, instead background processes will pause and remain 'on hold'. The browsing experience is being defined as faster than the iPhone 3GS at this point, which seems to be the target at large.
Microsoft should continue relying on partners to deliver the hardware as usual, while holding a tighter control over the manufacturing process and end user experience. Next week's demo is rumored to be about the OS interface only, with devices not expected to show up in the market until the second half of the year.