NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Windows 7 phones are sharp and the operating system is a gem, but three years on the sidelines, Microsoft (MSFT) needed something tremendous to make the world forget all its stumbles in mobile.
Microsoft's Windows Phone 7, unveiled Monday in New York, almost hit the mark.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer kicked off the first part of an all-day Windows Phone 7 show in New York. After the rundown, a demo of Windows 7 features and a brief hands-on with one of the phones, it became clear that Microsoft is very much back in the mobile game.
That game has two lead players -- Apple (AAPL) and Google's (GOOG) Android operating system -- and Microsoft's Windows 7 puts it squarely in the pack. But instead of one brilliant thing -- an application or some flash of originality -- Microsoft rolled out a hodgepodge of features that seem oddly familiar to anyone who's used an iPhone or an Android device.A short test drive of the HTC Surround, which lands at AT&T (T) on Nov. 8, proved Windows 7 to be easy and pleasing. Windows 7's identifying feature is its home screen, which has tiles instead of icons. As an alternative, you can press the arrow at the top right and get an application view, or icons arranged in a vertical roster. When you touch a tile, it turns over in sweet animated fashion like a leaf and starts you on what Microsoft calls a "hub." There are six hub tiles: people, pictures, games, media, Office and Marketplace. In "people," you are given a picture list of your contacts. Open a contact and you get a list of options including call, email, text and Facebook wall writing. In Office you get a roster of applications and an option to create a document. Touch "create" on the screen and you get a choice of what application you want: Excel, PowerPoint, Word. Clicking on Word opened a Windows Phone 7 version of Word and allowed typing and saving pretty simply. The virtual keyboard that comes with Windows 7 is very similar to SwiftKey, a popular mobile phone keyboard application available on Android phones. As you type, the software predicts the word you want, offers suggestions and corrects your spelling as you go. It certainly wasn't perfect, but it did cut down on backspacing and typos -- a step forward for the mobile typists of the world.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV