May 25, 2011

Windows Phone Software Gets An Update

On Tuesday Microsoft Corp. revealed that it plans to give Windows Phone software a major makeover, which has been given the codename "Mango."

"Seven months ago we started our mission to make smartphones smarter and easier for people to do more," says Andy Lees, president of Microsoft's Mobile Communications, who presented Mango to reporters at an event in New York.

Lees said that "With 'Mango,' Windows Phone takes a major step forward in redefining how people communicate and use apps and the Internet, giving you better results with less effort."

But catching up to its rivals may be an uphill battle.

Figures from analyst firm Gartner say that Google's Android system has 36% of the global market, with Apple following behind with 17%.

Microsoft currently only holds 4 percent of the world's smartphone market.

Mango will offer about 500 new features that include Internet Explorer 9 as the mobile browser, integrated Twitter and LinkedIn feeds, automated Facebook check-ins, and access to more than 17,000 downloadable applications.

Improvements will also have Microsoft's distinct "live tiles" that will allow users to see real-time information on the phone screen without having to actually open an application, and allow users to have more than one application running at the same time.

Ovum analyst Tony Cripps says that the new updates may be worthwhile, but it won't be easy to persuade users.

Cripps told the Associated Press (AP) that "...Microsoft needs to do better if it is to persuade the market that it has the most user friendly - and desirable - mobile platform in the market today."

He also said, "New features...look set to deliver a deeper level of integration between different communication apps (and other apps on the device) than users are so far accustomed to. But integration is a tough concept to sell to consumers even if they may benefit enormously once they've adopted it."

Earlier Finland's Nokia Corp. announced that it would adopt Windows Phone and get rid of its current smartphone software. The move gained Nokia billions of dollars paid by Microsoft as the software company tries to buy into the market that is currently dominated by Apple Inc. and Google Inc.'s Android software, reports the AP.

Nokia holds 27 percent of the market share with its current Symbian software, which Windows hopes to gain once Mango becomes available in the fall.

In addition, Microsoft says that three other manufacturers would be making Windows phones "“ Acer of Taiwan, Fujitsu of Japan and ZTE of China, which is little known outside China, but is considered the world's sixth largest phone maker, according to Gartner.

With Nokia's support, Gartner predicts that Microsoft could increase its global market share to 19.5% by 2015.


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