Microsoft on Wednesday announced the launch of its latest version of the Windows Phone operating system, Mango- for India, in a bid to claw back into the smartphone arena that is dominated by Apple and Google.
The Windows Phone 7.5 operating system is considered a major update for Windows-based phones.
The company announced the release of the HTC Radar smartphone, based on the new operating system, for Rs 23,990. This would be followed by devices from Samsung and Acer, and subsequently, Nokia.
Analysts say the Windows operating system would become the second-largest player in the global market by 2015, said Bhaskar Pramanik, chairman, Microsoft India. “But we don’t aspire for the number two position. We want to be the number one,” he added.
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On whether Microsoft’s late entry in the market could act as a deterrent, Pramanik said, “It’s never too late in a market like India, where the smartphone segment is growing by 60 per cent.” Currently, according to industry estimates, there are 10 million smartphone users in India.
Smartphone shipments in India are poised to jump almost eightfold, or an average of 68 per cent a year, to 81.5 million units by 2015, according to IDC.
Leading operating systems in the smartphone market are Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, BlackBerry OS from Research in Motion and Symbian from the Symbian Foundation.
On whether increased competition would lead Microsoft to ask vendors to reduce the cost of devices, Pramanik said the company does not want to enter into a price war. For Microsoft it is more about the “consumer experience,” he said
“With Windows Phone, we have looked at the consumer experience in an absolutely fresh way, and the end result is an operating system that is stylish, innovative, and one that seamlessly integrates the most sought after user experiences such as search, gaming, email and social networks across Bing, Office, Xbox LIVE, Facebook, Twitter and more,” he said.
The Windows Phone 7.5 version has a new rich user interface of live tiles and hubs, which would help users to quickly find the information required and connect.
The conventional application icons have been replaced by live tiles on the Windows Phone start screen. The live tiles come to life with real-time updates from the web, such as news, appointments or the status of friends. New live tiles can easily be created from content that a consumer wants, for applications, websites and music.
The phone is preloaded with Xbox LIVE and mobile versions of Word, Excel, OneNote and PowerPoint for working on the go. These can synchronised with SkyDrive, Office 365 or SharePoint sites. Every Windows Phone device is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile processor.
The phones would also have a dedicated hardware button for Bing, the search platform from Microsoft, which would provide one-click access to search from anywhere on the phone.