I’m pleased to announce that today we’re launching a new line of Windows® phones around the world that are available in a broad range of styles and prices. With a Windows phone, you can navigate easily with the touch of a finger and browse the Internet on a great mobile browser. You can also connect to two new services that allow you to back up and share data from your phone to the Web and buy a variety of useful applications from the Windows Marketplace for Mobile. Microsoft expects partners to deliver more than 30 new phones in more than 20 countries by the end of 2009.

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One Phone for Work and Play

With a Windows phone, people can rely on their phone to balance their lives, from work to home to play. Whether it’s editing a document or sharing several vacation updates through a social networking application, Windows phones help people stay connected to the people and information they care about most. Because people’s phones often match their personality and unique needs, Microsoft now offers the Windows phone Custom Theme Creator. People can create personalized themes for their Windows phone by choosing the color and design that suits their style at http://www.windowsphone.com/theme.

With a Windows phone, people will have familiar work and play experiences right from their Start button, including these:

• A new enhanced Windows Live experience with What’s New feeds and improved Windows Live photo sharing across major social networking sites (such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Flickr)

• A best-in-class e-mail experience and the ability to manage multiple accounts right from their phone with Outlook Mobile and Exchange Server synchronization not to mention Hotmail

• The ability to use PowerPoint and open and edit Word and Excel documents from their phone with Microsoft Office Mobile

• The power to sync files on the phone through Windows Live Media Manager and play media files seamlessly with Windows Media Player

• A redesigned Windows Internet Explorer mobile browser with Adobe Flash Lite that brings the mobile Web browsing experience closer to what people have come to expect from their PC

Powerful Mobile Services

With the launch of these new Windows phones, Microsoft debuts new services that bring added value to people.

My Phone is a free service that helps people manage and back up the invaluable information stored on their phone and provides peace of mind and an easy restore option in the event of a lost or damaged phone. My Phone automatically synchronizes the specific types of a phone’s content the user chooses — from contacts and appointments to texts, photos and more — to a password-protected Web site. People can also publish their photos from the My Phone Web site or their phone directly to Windows Live, Facebook, MySpace and Flickr. As part of the free service, people can go online and map the last known location of their phone from when it was last synchronized. In addition, a set of more advanced “lost phone” features are being offered as a premium package that people can activate as needed. The My Phone Premium package includes the ability to immediately locate the phone’s current location on a map (in the U.S. only); remotely lock a phone and post an “if found” message to its screen; loudly ring the phone even if it is set to vibrate or silent mode; and ultimately, if needed, completely erase the phone to protect personal data from falling into the wrong hands. People using My Phone on their phone running either Windows Mobile 6.0, 6.1 or 6.5 can access the premium package free of charge until Nov. 30, 2009. After that date, seven-day access to the premium package will be available for purchase for $4.99 in the U.S.

Also launching today is Windows Marketplace for Mobile, which offers people an easy way to find and purchase high-quality mobile applications for both work and play, while creating a new opportunity for developers to reach millions of people using Windows phones worldwide. Microsoft is pleased today to introduce 246 quality mobile applications initially in Windows Marketplace for work and play, with more than 753 ISVs worldwide on board to continue building out the catalog. People will have access to not only important line-of-business applications for work, but also popular mobile applications for play such as Facebook, MySpace, Netflix, Twikini, WunderRadio and ZAGAT, as well as leading game titles including Sudoku, “Guitar Hero World Tour” and the “PAC-MAN” series, all of which can be easily purchased and installed directly on a Windows phone. All purchased applications are certified by Microsoft to run on Windows phones and are backed by a simple return policy. Over the next few months, Microsoft will continue to evolve Windows Marketplace for Mobile to bring to market a fresh take on the app store that delivers strong value for developers and a great shopping experience for people.

Choice and Availability: A Phone for Everyone

Windows phones give people the power to choose the phone that best fits their style and budget by offering phones with a full physical QWERTY keyboard, others with just a large touch screen, and some with both touch screen and keyboard.

So what’s new for Developers?

Web developers can now target Internet Explorer Mobile for their applications.  Not only does this browser provide full desktop fidelity, but it also includes the fast IE8 Javascript engine to speed up code execution, DOM manipulation and Ajax calls.  Don’t take my word for it, test it out over at http://asp.net and watch it accurately render all the Ajax controls.

Both Native and Managed code developers get to take advantage of the new Gesture API to add panning and flicking to their apps.  The built-in physics engine allows developers to add smooth, finger-friendly scrolling.

For developers that are more at home with Cascading Style Sheets, HTML, Javascript and Ajax, Windows Mobile 6.5 introduces Widgets as an alternative to C++ or .NET.  These programs take advantage of the new Internet Explorer Mobile to render Rich Internet Applications that run outside the browser but take advantage of the power of the Web.

Any changes under the Hood?

Yes, since the launch of Windows Mobile 6, we’ve been progressively enhancing the Windows CE 5 kernel that powers the Windows Mobile platform.  You should expect better application stability, much more virtual memory available to running apps, and faster execution.

Have fun with your new phones!

- Rob