Microsoft’s great hope for the phone business – Windows Mobile 7 – will be released to phone companies in September and could appear on devices by Christmas, according to a report in Taiwan’s DigiTimes, which has sources at phone manufacturers.
It’s no secret Microsoft will talk up WinMo7 at the Mobile World Congress conference starting in Barcelona on Feb. 15, but the actual release date has been vague – perhaps because Microsoft is giving itself wiggle room to get everything done.
But DigiTimes reports that Microsoft’s sharing a roadmap for the software’s release with partners.
The software’s expected to have an entirely new interface and, as noted in the DigiTimes piece, will incorporate Zune, Xbox Live and the Silverlight presentation platform – implying the phones will support music, movies and games available through Microsoft’s online services.
Based on the roadmap, WM7 will be available to Microsoft’s handheld hardware partners in September 2010, allowing them to roll-out WM7-based devices in the fourth quarter 2010 or early first-quarter 2011, the sources indicated.
However, only English and common European languages will be available initially, with the availability of the Asian localizations slated for 2011, said the sources, noting that the late availability of the Asian versions has been interpreted by some market watchers as a delay.
Companies building Windows Mobile 7 phones include Samsung, LG, Toshiba, HTC, Asustek and Acer, the report said.
I wonder if any of them will use it for a tablet-sized media/browsing device …