Microsoft promises 'biggest launch of the year' for Windows Phone 7

Microsoft is gearing up to take on the might of iPhone and Android devices with the next incarnation of the Windows smartphone operating system.

Microsoft is gearing up to take on the might of iPhone and Android devices with the next incarnation of the Windows smartphone operating system.

Due to launch in time for Christmas, Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 will be the "biggest launch this year" and the "next phase of smartphones", Oded Ran, head of consumer marketing for Windows Phone, UK at Microsoft, told Computer Weekly.

Microsoft's new phone operating system will have to compete directly with Apple iPhone iOS 4 and Google Android, but the company is confident it has a viable alternative, said Ran. "We have the benefit of hindsight of other platforms," he said.

The Microsoft OS offers customisation of the user interface, built-in integration with applications such as Facebook to form a central "hub" start-page, and an updated GUI from Windows Phone 6.5.

Microsoft is also making a big push to target the developer community to build progressive applications for the new OS.

"We want to create apps that are used just as much as Office," said Will Coleman, OS and mobile product manager lead at Microsoft.

LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, HTC, Dell, Toshiba and Asus have already signed up to build smartphones powered by Windows Phone 7.

Video: Windows Phone 7 first look >>

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