Microsoft announces new additions to Windows Phone 7

Microsoft announced a series of new additions to its forthcoming Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system intended to make the operating system the killer operating system, with a killer app site to match.

Microsoft’s new additions to Windows Phone 7 (WP7) promise tighter cloud-based integration between the mobile devices and PCs. New features include Windows Phone Live, a companion site giving WP7 users a centralised hub to view pictures they’ve published, browse their Windows Live calendar and contacts, exchange OneNote files and access other information shared between the phone and the web.

Writing on the Windows Phone Blog, Microsoft director of mobile communications Aaron Woodman notes the Windows Phone Live site offers 25GB of free SkyDrive storage–it also hosts the new Find My Phone service, enabling consumers to locate and manage a missing phone with map, ring, lock and erase capabilities. Woodman additionally touted a WP7 push notification service enabling applications to deliver real-time updates via live Tiles on the device homescreen.

Woodman writes that Microsoft remains on track to introduce WP7 devices, adding that the platform will support five languages at launch: English, French, Italian, German and Spanish. Microsoft also launched the beta version of the Windows phone developer tools or as Microsoft put it “the near final version” of the tools for building applications and games for Windows Phone 7″ Additionally Microsoft also launched Windows Phone 7 JumpStart a FREE virtual live class for developers interested in developing applications and games for Windows Phone 7 – you can register here

Microsoft’s Windows Phone Marketplace application storefront will support sales in 17 countries: The UK, US, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, and Switzerland. “This is a fresh start for Microsoft’s mobile efforts; one in which we put the end user experiences at the center of every decision we make, from architecting a new design and integrated on-phone experiences, to taking more accountability for the hardware and application development platform,” Woodman states.

Speaking at Microsoft’s annual Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington D.C., CEO Steve Ballmer admitted that Microsoft’s hesitation in going mobile had lost a “whole generation of users” to Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android, but promised WP7 will put Microsoft back on track. Ballmer also said that Microsoft would aggressively promote WP7 across smartphones as well as tablets, with partners including Dell, Sony, Asus and Samsung committed to releasing WP7-powered products.

Tell us what you think? Is WP7 going to be a competitor to the iPhone IOS and Android? Will their marketplace work as well as Apple App store?

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