Microsoft on Tuesday announced several new features that will become part of its Windows Phone 7 platform. One of them is better integration with the Web, including a remote find, lock, and kill feature.
Apple first introduced the Find My iPhone application to users of its (subscription-required) MobileMe service in 2009. Users of lost iPhones could log in to MobileMe and find their lost iPhone through its GPS system. Research In Motion announced a similar tool for consumers on Monday, and now it is Microsoft's turn.
Microsoft said that the new Windows Phone 7 operating system, set to debut later this year, will be much more tightly integrated with Web services, including a new Windows Phone Live site. Through that site, users will have access to a number of new tools to control and/or interact with their Windows Phone 7 device.
The first, and most important, feature is the Find My Phone application. The Find My Phone service will allow people to find and manage a missing phone with map, ring, lock and erase capabilities from the Windows Phone Live web site. Microsoft is happy to point out that this feature will be free (unlike Apple's version of the service, which costs $100 per year).
The Windows Phone Live Web site will also by used as a place to sync user data online. Microsoft said that the site will let users publish pictures, sync Windows Live contacts, sync OneNote files, and so on. Because Windows Phone 7 will also play better with Gmail, Windows Live Mail, and Exchange, users can sync their calendar, contact and other PIM data as well.
The Web site will serve as the place where Windows Phone 7 users can search the Zune Marketplace for music and videos, and search for XBox Live content. That's key. One of the iPhone's major strengths is its ability to sync seamlessly with iTunes for music, movies, apps, and games. Speaking of apps, Microsoft also noted that Windows Phone 7 will support push notifications, so applications can be updated in the background.
Another great feature that Microsoft was sure to tout is Windows Phone 7's ability to sync with Zune wirelessly. Users will be able to sync and transfer content from Zune to their devices via Wi-Fi, rather than have to plug their phone into their computer. That's one less cable to carry around.
Microsoft rep Aaron Woodman said, "The bottom line is that we believe it’s not enough to have exciting games, intuitive email, rich music, extensive social networking tools or even beautiful hardware to house it all. The magic comes when all of these things work together to bring the people and things you care about closer, while smoothing out your everyday tasks so that your day is a little bit easier. That’s what you’ll see from Microsoft this holiday; connected entertainment that’s bigger than any single screen."
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