Microsoft has unveiled its Windows Phone 7 Series, a new mobile platform. The phones will bring Microsoft's XBox Live service and its Zune music and video experience together on phones. Perhaps more interesting, at least to enthusiasts of the search industry, is that Windows Phone 7 devices will come with "a dedicated hardware button for Bing."
Microsoft says this will provide one-click access to search from anywhere on the phone. A special implementation of Bing search also provides intent-specific results, depending on the type of query, the company says.
"Today, I'm proud to introduce Windows Phone 7 Series, the next generation of Windows Phones," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said at Mobile World Congress today. "In a crowded market filled with phones that look the same and do the same things, I challenged the team to deliver a different kind of mobile experience. Windows Phone 7 Series marks a turning point toward phones that truly reflect the speed of people’s lives and their need to connect to other people and all kinds of seamless experiences."
Of course Windows Phone 7 devices won't be the first to incorporate one-click search hardware buttons. There are already Android devices that have buttons, which will take you to Google search. Android's popularity is growing though, and that can only help Google' search market share. With Microsoft's Bing button, the company could get a significant boost to an already growing market share itself. That of course depends on how popular Windows Phone 7 devices become. Regardless, it's a smart move by Microsoft, and shows that they are going to continue the aggressive push of their search engine they've spent so much money promoting. Google's relationship with Apple as the search provider for the iPhone has recently come into question, although Google maintains that the relationship is stable.
Microsoft partners have already begun building the phones that will feature Windows Phone 7 Series. The devices will be ready for the 2010 holiday season. So far, partners include mobile operators AT&T, Deutsche Telekom AG, Orange, SFR, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telstra, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone, and manufacturers Dell, Garmin-Asus, HTC Corp., HP, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Qualcomm Inc.
The real question is whether or not these new Windows phones be able to compete with other established smartphone OS brands like iPhone and Android devices.