Microsoft has subtly rebranded its flagship mobile operating system from Windows Mobile to Windows Phone 7 and was officially launched by Steve Ballmer today at the Mobile World Congress 2010 in Barcelona, Spain.
The new Windows Phone 7 has a thoroughly redesigned user interface that should bring Microsoft the necessary features to bring its mobile offerings on par with the best from the competition.
Microsoft's latest mobile phone operating system seamlessly integrates the software giant's other services including Zune media service and Xbox LIVE gaming environment, providing some tantalising prospects.
Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, told an eager audience at MWC that "It's all about the phone and how consumers react to the device" and Windows Phone 7 marks a significant departure from how the company deals with its partners.
He added that "We wanted to take greater accountability for the end user experience", before adding that the company wants more consistency in the hardware platform and in the user experience.
More specifically, he mentioned the fact that Windows Phone 7 will not allow significant user interface changes like HTC's Sense UI. The new OS has brought in a new paradigm called "live tiles" which look like virtual post-its on the mobile phone's display.
There's also what Microsoft labels as hubs, which metaphorically resemble folders. They bring together content around six themes by default; people, pictures, games, marketplace, music and office.
The operating system will be available by the end of the year with several manufacturers having already confirmed that they will be releasing Windows Phone 7 smartphones in the second half of 2010. Will that be enough to stem the flow of consumers to other platforms?