Mobile World Congress round-up: day three

Microsoft gets us up close and personal with Windows Phone Series 7

Hola! On day three of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, we were shocked, surprised and genuinely mystified that Microsoft’s Windows Mobile platform got us excited. Yes, you read that correctly — we’re excited about Windows Phone Series 7.

Aside from the strange selection of name (what’s wrong with Windows Phone 7 or Windows Mobile 7?), Microsoft's latest mobile platform looks slick and innovative -- words never previously associated with any Windows Mobile phone.

Microsoft Australia’s Tony Wilkinson and Microsoft Asia’s Natasha Kwan took us through the basic user interface of the new platform. Though the demo device we played with seemed a little sluggish, it’s a very early version of the software — we expect the final product to be smooth and fast.

We also got a chance to have a wander around the rest of the show. After walking around for an eternity, we spotted two exciting products that are set to launch in Australia this year.

First, the INQ Chat — the third INQ phone. Pronounced I-N-K, the Chat brings a full sized QWERTY keyboard to this social networking mobile. Aimed at young people, the INQ Chat is set to launch in the second quarter of this year.

We also got our first look at the Garmin-Asus nuvifone A50. A combination of Google’s Android platform and Garmin’s GPS navigation software makes this a potent mix. In our brief play with the unit, we discovered some very cool location-based features, great looking maps and a functional user interface. Though it may struggle with the wealth of other smartphones already available in Australia, we’re excited about its release down under -- set to be mid-year.

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

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