2011 – A Year of Many Things: A recap of the big events of the year

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The Rise of Windows Phone 7

2011 saw the emerging popularity of Windows Phone 7. Even though it’s official launch was in 2010, we didn’t see a huge uptake at first. If you don’t know about Windows Phone 7, it was first launched in 2010, it was a major new release superseding Windows Phone 6.5. The first phone manufactures to release Windows Phone 7 phones where HTC, Samsung and LG. With phones including: HTC 7 Mozart, HTC 7 Trophy, HTC HD7, Samsung Omnia 7 and LG Optimus 7Q.

Nokia Lumia 800 Presentation

In Feburary, Microsoft had a big coup. They had signed a partnership with Nokia, a phone company who rejected Android in favour of Symbian, to start offering Windows Phone 7 as their primary phone operating system. However, we had to wait until November to get thee first WP7-powered Nokia phones – the Lumina 800 and Lumina 710. However, Nokia seemed to have special favour with Microsoft, as they have added some of their own exclusive apps. Along with Bing Maps, Nokia have released Nokia Maps which provides turn by turn navigation. As well, Nokia have introduced their own streaming music serviced dubbed, “Nokia Music” which is similar to Last.FM.

Two updates were released for the OS this year: NoDo and Mango. NoDo was the first minor update for Windows Phone 7. It’s release wasn’t feature packed but the main feature was the ability to Copy and Paste. Among numerous bug fixes, the update wasn’t very eventful.

Lumia is the first real Windows PhoneSteven Elop, Nokia CEO, announcing the Lumia 800

Mango, however, was the first major update to Windows Phone 7. It was release 7.5 and it included a lot of new features. Mango was available to a small amount of customers on September 27 as Microsoft released the update in chunks, instead of allowing everyone to update at once. Major features of the update included Office SkyDrive integration, threaded conversations allowing you to switch between communication mediums (SMS, Facebook, Windows Live etc), Visual Voicemail (carrier dependent), Custom Ringtones, Speech to Text, Facebook Chat, Multitasking and Internet Sharing (carrier dependent).

Other features included the ability to edit playlists from Zune, SmartDJ, subscribe to podcasts from the phone, ability to group contacts, Office 365 integration and much more.

2011 also saw a huge uptake by app creators. Many popular apps on iOS and Android have been recreated (or ported) over to the WP7 platform. Such apps include, Angry Birds, Flight Control, Foursquare, Doodle Jump, TripView Sydney and much more. Many app creators are now releasing apps for all 3 platforms due to the increasing popularity of Windows Phone 7.

But where does its future lie? Well, it is said that the next major update to the platform will be called Apollo but has been rumored to be released as Windows Phone 8. No words on its features, but we’ll have to see next year.

– SW

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