After Windows Phone 7 Series' grand unveiling at Barcelona's Mobile World Congress last month, Microsoft has circled back over the last several days during GDC and its own MIX10 conference to fill in many of the holes in this story -- in particular, details around the app development ecosystem and how third parties can take full advantage of it have been focal points. Of course, it makes sense: a modern smartphone is only as good as its software catalog, and Redmond's clearly keen to show that it knows how very true that is. XNA -- the technology that underpins Zune games and a host of Xbox content -- figures prominently into the equation, but Silverlight is a huge, unavoidable component as well, making development for WP7S devices a starkly different experience for studios and independent code monkeys than in versions prior. We're going to be periodically updating this post as we get new info on the platform, but for now, follow the break for everything you need to know -- so far -- about Microsoft's latest and greatest mobile platform.
Windows Phone 7 Series is the successor to Microsoft's line of Windows Mobile phone operating systems. It's based on the Windows CE 6 kernel, like the Zune HD, while current versions of Windows Mobile are based on Windows CE 5. Microsoft announced the new OS at Mobile World Congress 2010 in Barcelona, and says that the first handsets to run it are supposed to be released by the holiday shopping season of this year -- and the company is emphatic in saying that it doesn't mean December 24th -- you'll have time to place your order.
The visual and underlying differences in the operating system are almost too numerous to mention, including a completely (and we do mean completely) upended user interface, an emphasis on finger-based touchscreen input, deep social networking integration, fully branded and expansive Zune and Xbox components, and extremely strict hardware requirements for partners. A couple familiar touchstones from the past include plans for Outlook and Office support, as well as licensing to a wide variety of third party hardware vendors -- despite the name change, Microsoft still isn't building any phones itself. Microsoft says it's aiming the platform at "life maximizers," and it's come up with a fictitious 38 year-old couple named Anna and Miles who represent the target end users: people who need to get work done on their phones but still want to play games and don't want to fiddle around with settings. It's cute, we'll give them that.http://www.engadget.com/2010/03/18/windows-phone-7-series-the-complete-guide/