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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

March 15, 2010 at 12:35 PM

MIX10: Anna and Miles, the Adam and Eve of Windows Phone

LAS VEGAS – Anna and Miles are the Adam and Eve of Windows Phone 7 Series. She’s a public relations pro in Evanston, Ill., who commutes to Chicago by train. She just went part-time to spend more time with her kids.

Anna wants take photos of her son and share them with her parents in Europe. Miles is a startup entrepreneur who also has to take care of his company’s IT. The two are a fictional couple that the Microsoft design team built the phone for.

The audience for the phone is the “lifestyle maximizer,” average age 38 years old, Some 76 percent of them are employed and 78 percent are in a partnered relationship, said Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president for Windows Phone product management, at the MIX conference for Web developers on Monday.

“They care about their work e-mail, for example. Because they have jobs, they have money and are more likely to buy a more expensive phone and load it up with apps,” Belfiore said. “They’re very demanding in terms of broad expectations. They want it to be great at talking to Exchange server but also want to be able to play games.”

Belfiore said Microsoft created personas when it started to design the phone. “We want to make sure both these people can be happy and excited,” he said.

The design was driven by three principles, Belfiore said:

  • The end user comes first. Rather than building features based on requests from phone makers or wireless carriers, Belfiore, Microsoft made the end user the guiding light.
  • Building a platform for “richer, deeper, easier” apps. Microsoft is trying to catch up to the Apple iPhone and its broad array of apps.
  • Microsoft wants to have a more standardized hardware — it will come in two screen sizes — so developers have predictability and phone makers don’t have to worry about building software. In the past, phone makes had to build the software for a keyboard and for phone dialing. Microsoft is building that software for the Windows Phones.

Some other highlights from Belfiore’s session at MIX:

  • The user design is called “metro” and Belfiore described it as “clean, light, focused on typography, not on rich imagery.”
  • In the touchscreen typing feature, the software automatically corrects words as they’re typed. After you finish typing, it will offer alternatives for each word,
  • In a demo, Belfiore pulled up an Excel spreadsheet from the Office Docs hub, and was able to pan around, zoom in and out, search for specific word or number, and do basic management, such as send, save and saving to the phone’s memory.
  • When the phone gets plugged in to charge at night, the phone checks whether it’s on a home Wi-Fi network. If it is, the phone will automatically upload photos from the phone to a PC and download music and video that’s been ordered.
  • The three devices shown were an Asus touchscreen device, an LG touchscreen device with a slide-out landscape keyboard, and a Samsung “slate” device with a higher-end camera built in the back.

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