BARCELONA: Microsoft has announced new features that will be added to Windows Phone 7 this year during the company's traditional keynote slot at Mobile World Congress.
Chief executive Steve Ballmer said that Microsoft was very pleased with user feedback on the platform, noting that apparently 93 per cent are "delighted", although he gave no hard figures on sales.
Ballmer explained that a series of new developments will be launched starting in March, several of which were demonstrated by Microsoft's director of Windows Phone programme management, Joe Belfiore.
These include the availability of Internet Explorer 9 for Windows Phone 7 running the same hardware acceleration capabilities of the desktop version to provide a desktop-like experience when browsing the web on a mobile device, including HTML5 video.
"HTML5 supports a wide range of things, including native support for video. Often people use plug-ins, but we don't support many of those. But with IE9's support for video tags [in HTML5] it enables us to support native video," Belfiore said.
Belfiore also explained that Windows Phone 7 will support Microsoft's SkyDrive online storage tool so that small companies and consumers can access cloud-based Microsoft Office products.
He also highlighted new multi-tasking capabilities, including a task-switching feature that keeps numerous previously used applications open so that they load instantly.
No dates were given on any of the updates, except that they will occur at some point during 2011.
Ballmer was also joined on stage by Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop to talk about the benefits of the new partnership. Elop argued that it will help operators to provide wider choice.
"Our belief is that the partnership is good news for operators because we can create a third ecosystem and create a different dynamic to the one that appeared to be forming," he said.
"It's important that we have that balance to give consumers and operators more choice, as Nokia has a long-standing relationship with many of them. By contributing our strength and knowledge we can help Windows Phone 7 become the most operator-friendly operating system that exists."
Elop also claimed that the mobile industry had indicated that the deal was the right decision for both companies.
"There's been a lot of commentary from the press and analysts, and the theme emerging is that people understand that Microsoft and Nokia represented a natural partnership," he said.
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