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Can we expect to see Windows Mobile 7 or Project Pink at MWC?

by Scott Bicheno on 19 January 2010, 12:41

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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Heard it through the grapevine

With the Apple rumour industry in full frenzy right now, we thought it only fair to offer a Microsoft rumour round-up to counterbalance it. Specifically: what has does Microsoft have in store for the mobile sector and how much of it will be unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month?

Microsoft is struggling in the mobile phone operating system market. Even after the launch of the iPhone it was able to maintain a decent share of the crucial smartphone sector, but the rise of Android and other Linux-based mobile OSs has seen that share erode. Even previously loyal partners like HTC are conspicuously siding with Google now.

One of the reasons for this decline has been the perceived poor user experience of Windows Mobile 6.0/6.1. Microsoft launched version 6.5 late last year and rebranded the OS Windows Phone. The user experience seems to be much improved over 6.0, but that's not enough to generate Android rivalling buzz.

With Windows 7 having been well received, there is therefore massive pressure on Microsoft to deliver a game changing OS when Windows Mobile/Phone 7 (WM7) comes out. Furthermore, it had better produce it soon, before the momentum around Android become insurmountable.

The word on the street is that we won't be seeing handsets sporting WM7 until late this year, but that doesn't mean Microsoft won't preview it at MWC. On the flip side, other parts of the rumour mill have Microsoft delaying the launch of WM7 until MWC 2011, with WM6.6 (codenamed Maldives) as the interim 2010 launch.