The big news last week was that Nokia was switching to Windows Phone as its primary smartphone platform. At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, however, Microsoft had a lot more to share regarding WP7's future. Here are several new features and capabilities coming this year:
- First Major Update: A free customer update will be made available for all Windows Phones in the first two weeks of March, which includes new capabilities such as copy & paste and faster application performance.
- Availability on CDMA Networks: With added support for CDMA networks, Windows Phone will be available to even more customers on mobile operators such as Verizon and Sprint in the first half of 2011.
- Twitter Integration in the People Hub: The popular social networking service Twitter will be integrated into the People Hub in the second half of 2011.
- Office Document Storage in the Cloud: Document sharing and storage in the cloud via Windows Live SkyDrive will be added to Windows Phone in the second half of 2011.
- Next Generation Browsing with Internet Explorer 9: A dramatically enhanced Internet Explorer 9 web browser will be added to Windows Phone in the second half of 2011. It will feature the same standards support (HTML5, etc.) and hardware accelerated graphics as the PC version.
- Additional Multitasking Capabilities: We will add the ability to switch quickly between applications, run applications in the background (such as listening to music), along with a number of other capabilities in the second half of 2011. Developers will learn much more about this during April's MIX conference.
Microsoft also took the opportunity to announce that it now has over 30,000 registered Windows Phone developers. They have built 8,000 apps to date, adding about 100 new titles every day.
In the video above, you can see how multitasking will work on WP7. Below, the image on the left shows how SkyDrive integration will look while the image on the right shows IE9 mobile running an apparent GPU acceleration demonstration.
"It was only a year ago that we unveiled Windows Phone 7 to the world for the first time," a Microsoft spokesperson said in statement. "It was more than the launch of a new product. Windows Phone 7 represents the best from Microsoft including Xbox LIVE, Office, Bing, Hotmail and Windows Live, adding to that deep integration of third party experiences like Facebook as well as thousands more from developers. For consumers, we set out to make Windows Phones the easiest to use and most delightful phones in the market. With Windows Phone, our top priority was to build phones that people love. Our phones are differentiated in the way they are designed, and the way that experiences are seamless and beautifully integrated. This focus on smart design makes it easier and faster to get to the information you care about. And with Windows Phone Hubs, we organize information, applications and services into one place."