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2/15/2011
00:14 AM
Ed Hansberry
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Microsoft Announces Future Windows Phone 7 Enhancements

Microsoft has yet to release the first big update for its smartphone platform but that didn't deter CEO Ballmer from letting us know about more features that are already in the pipeline for later this year.

Microsoft has yet to release the first big update for its smartphone platform but that didn't deter CEO Ballmer from letting us know about more features that are already in the pipeline for later this year.Speaking of that first big update, Steve Ballmer confirmed today that it will be released in the first two weeks of March. Copy and Paste is the headliner of that update and CDMA support is close behind. We should see phones from CMDA carriers Sprint and Verizon before you fire up the grill for Independence Day.

Later this year though there are a slew of new features. Twitter integration directly with the People hub is coming. The phone launched with Facebook and many considered the omission of Twitter support an oversight. I'll be curious to see how it works though. On Facebook, most people are just friends with, well, friends. For Twitter though, many people follow dozens, hundreds or even thousands of people, personalities, sites, news outlets and more. Who wants all of that in their address book? Filtering will be key for this to be useful.

Internet Explorer 9, only now available as a release candidate for Windows 7, will be coming to Windows Phone 7 before the year is out as well. WP7's current browser has performance that matches any other smartphone platform out there, so moving to IE9 will keep the competition on its toes.

Microsoft will finally support its own cloud services like Sky Drive for Office Files. This is a huge oversight currently as the only way to get files on and off of the device if you don't have a copy of Sharepoint handy is to email them to yourself. This will be a welcome enhancement for smaller offices and individuals that use Office files on their phone.

Finally, much broader support for third party multitasking will come. Microsoft claims they have overcome the battery life issues caused by multitasking.

I don't buy that though, anymore than I buy that people didn't need copy and paste as Microsoft suggested more than once in 2010. The truth about copy and paste is MS just didn't have the time to implement properly before launch. Multitasking is the same. There were no epiphanies on how to make batteries last longer that hadn't been tough of the last fifteen years that mobile devices have been around.

I just wish MS would be open about this. "Yup, that is a great feature and on our list, just need to get the resources on it and hope to have it out in X months." However, there must be a code among mobile device makers to talk up their current device as perfect and claim other features just won't work without significant side effects. Palm did it all of the time and Apple does it as well. They aren't fooling anyone, it just insults our intelligence.

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