With Mobile World Congress and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s keynote a few days away, one student asked a timely question of Microsoft Entertainment and Devices Division President Robbie Bach during a speech he gave this morning during the company’s annual Minority Student Day. [Update, Feb. 23: I’ve added the name of the student who asked the question highlighted in this post.]
The student, Najib Jigre of Kent-Meridian High School, asked about features in the next version of Windows Mobile. Microsoft is expected to unveil Windows Mobile 6.5 on Monday.
Bach didn’t disappoint, offering a set of features to expect on the next two generations of Windows Mobile, including better connections to services such as Facebook and Twitter.
“Windows Mobile, you’re going to see from us over the next 24 months probably more innovation than you’ve seen in the last, I’d say, three or four years in the Windows Mobile space. We’ll start announcing some of that next week.
“You should think that the next two generations of Windows Mobile are going to do some of the following things:
“One, you’ll get a different, what we would call a user experience, basically a different way to interact with the phone itself — things being much more touch organized, much better transitions, much richer. It will look a lot less like a PC and a lot more like a fun experience on a phone. I think that will be a pretty dramatic change.
“It will be dramatically better browsing — the idea that you can access the Web easily and literally look at almost any Web page on your phone, I think will be very powerful.
“You’ll also see us add — today, our Windows Mobile devices are pretty business-oriented. They look like something I would use, not something you would use — let’s say it that way. You’re going to see that expand pretty dramatically including music, video and some other capabilities in what we would call the consumer space, that I think will be super exciting.
“The final thing I’ll say, a bunch of changes in Windows Mobile aren’t going to happen on the phone itself. One of the biggest trends … it that people are going to be connected to services. Because the phone now has 3G, which is kind of broadband on a mobile phone, you can now connect to other services and have new capabilities. [He listed Xbox Live, Facebook and Twitter as examples.]
“You want to be able to connect to those things in a rich way. We’re going to enable those services in a very cool way on our future Windows Mobile technology.”
Bach covered a lot of ground in his Q&A with the students and in a round table discussion with reporters afterward. Please check back to read what he said about the future of Zune services, Microsoft’s move into retail and how students perceive Microsoft’s consumer brands.