Woo! Developers! Yeah! Synergy! Steve Ballmer is sure to bring his characteristic enthusiasm to another MWC
keynote, though this one should be quite a bit different from the same presentation this time last year
. Microsoft is no longer just talking about Windows Phone 7, it's shipping it all around the world, and now it has a major new partner in the form of the world's foremost smartphone seller, Nokia. Stephen Elop might still be around central Barcelona and drop by for a chat, but we suspect Microsoft will have some more goodies up its sleeve. Join us after the break as we liveblog every second of it.
4:54PM And that's a wrap!
4:54PM "I thank you for the chance to speak with you today and I hope you enjoy the rest of Mobile World Congress."
4:53PM "Should be a great year for our company and our industry."
4:53PM "We have a lot of energy, optimism, and a sense of tremendous opportunity for everyone who participates in the wp7 ecosystem, and of course for every consumer that buys a Windows Phone."
4:53PM Also rehearsing the earlier announcements, Twitter integration, hardware acceleration, etc.
4:52PM Repeats that WP7 will be the most operator-friendly platform.
4:52PM "Not just good for Nokia, good for all of our partners."
4:52PM "Nokia's support with help Windows Phone overall."
4:51PM Warm applause and Stephen leaves the stage for Steve to return.
4:51PM Echoed a lot of what was said at Nokia's Friday event.
4:51PM "Nokia contributes things like operator billing" that are not available in other ecosystems.
4:51PM "Microsoft has a very modern collection of tools to help developers."
4:50PM "Unquestionably the most operator-friendly ecosystem today."
4:50PM "We understand what it means to be friendly to operators."
4:50PM Offers, and allows more choice to consumers, which is important.
4:50PM "Our belief that it is good news for operators."
4:49PM "To ensure that we deliver products that are more competitive, which of course is what it's all about."
4:49PM The third point of symmetry is in services, Nokia bringing mapping and other services, which melded with Msft's stuff forms that "third ecosystem."
4:49PM "A second point of symmetry" relates to their similar scale and global reach.
4:48PM "Between the two of us, we have the understanding of what it takes to take it even further" down the price range.
4:48PM "Nokia brings iconic hardware, incredible industrial design."
4:48PM "Microsoft and Nokia together represent a natural partnership. People are getting it."
4:47PM "A battle of devices shifting to a war of ecosystems."
4:47PM "It's truly a pleasure to address you here today."
4:47PM Stephen Elop introduced to the stage.
4:47PM It'll help consumers get new choices, fresh hardware, more services.
4:46PM Nokia's input will "accelerate the adoption of the Windows Phone platform."
4:46PM Ovi Maps integration in Bing services will be used everywhere - pc, phone, tv, wherever Bing goes.
4:46PM "We're sure from that base that Nokia will be able to deliver absolutely phenomenal Nokia (he stressed that word) Windows Phone."
4:45PM Microsoft is providing its powerful Windows Phone platform and its backend services, Nokia has a lot of strengths, like camera and sensor technology, broad, very efficient supply chain capabilities.
4:45PM "On Friday, we announced a very important new partnership with Nokia."
4:44PM He urges that innovation shouldn't lead to fragmentation for the consumer.
4:44PM WP7 will only thrive with scale, says Steve.
4:44PM "We're off to a strong start. We know we've got a lot of work."
4:43PM Over 1 million software devs have downloaded the Windows Visual Studio dev kit.
4:43PM "Still a lot of work to do, but today, four months after WP7 shipped, users can pick from 8000 applications."
4:43PM "We saw more applications on day one for Windows Phone than any other phone introduced at the time."
4:42PM Operators, too, have been important enough for him to name the majority of them -- Orange, Telefonica, Vodafone, etc.
4:42PM He namedropped all of Msft's current partners, saying they're "critical" to the success the platform has had so far.
4:41PM Users today aren't just picking a phone, says Steve, "they're choosing a platform."
4:41PM Steve Ballmer has returned after Joe left the stage to a round of applause.
4:41PM The flurry of balls looked terribly laggy, actually.
4:41PM Woah, they're bombarding him.
4:40PM The lady on the couch is controlling the balls that the standing Kinect player has to deal with. Looks slick.
4:40PM Xbox Live Kinect Windows Phone companion.
4:40PM "We're gonna show you a video now of real code, not a mockup video, that gives a tech preview of Windows Phone working as a companion to Kinect."
4:39PM Xbox Live and Kinect mentioned together.. what?
4:39PM "All of these features that I've described will be coming in a free update in 2011 to all Windows Phone 7 users."
4:38PM Today, if you exit the Slacker app, music would stop, but on his super-futuristic updated WP7 phone, it's still jingling along.
4:38PM Third-party multitasking, wehey!
4:37PM Joe's launched Slacker and is now playing some music for us.
4:37PM Joe got himself a chuckle by showing that you can multitask between two games.
4:36PM You access it by pressing and holding Back. And guess what, you get card previews of your last apps used.
4:36PM Task switcher!
4:35PM When he pushes Back to get back to the app, he gets back to it without having to wait.
4:35PM "But with multitasking, the user gets an instant resume to the game."
4:35PM Joe has loaded up "Rise of Glory" and is noting that resuming this game if you want to make a phone call takes quite a while, up to as much as 10 seconds.
4:34PM And now, evidently, Microsoft has figured out how to do it without sapping your cell.
4:34PM Saying multitasking isn't in WP7 because of battery life concerns.
4:33PM "Later on this year" is again repeated as the delivery time for the update.
4:33PM Let's give Joe the benefit of the doubt.
4:33PM Streaming HD video would be playing if we had a web connection.
4:32PM HTML5's native support for video is being touted. Erm, sounds to us like Flash isn't going to be part of this upcoming IE9 update.
4:32PM Still, the WP7 experience looks very smooth indeed, just as Joe says.
4:31PM The iPhone is chugging. Not exactly the fairest test, we all know GPUs handle multimedia much better than CPUs.
4:30PM Uh oh, iPhone 4 shows up with the current build of Safari. No hardware acceleration.
4:30PM "When website developers create a site, if it works well on the PC, it'll work well on the phone."
4:30PM "The same core browsing engine" will be on phones as is on the PC.
4:30PM Ooh, here it is on Windows Phone!
4:29PM Here comes a demo vid of IE9 performance. It's that familiar fish test along with hardware acceleration-friendly web pages.
4:28PM What we're about to see is the same hardware acceleration on phone as well as on the PC.
4:28PM IE9 on the PC has "fantastic standard support," including HTML5, CSS, Canvas, etc.
4:28PM "We will have support for IE9 on Windows Phone in our update later this year."
4:27PM "Instant and easy, no app download, no extra sign-in."
4:27PM Looks and acts quite a bit like Dropbox.
4:26PM Entering Joe's skydrive didn't require a login because he's already logged in on his WP7 device.
4:26PM "Over 70 million who are using SkyDrive."
4:25PM Ah, good to know that this will come to current users as well as prospective future handsets.
4:25PM "Update we'll making available later this year to all WP7 users."
4:25PM Here comes the "unfinished code" part of the demo, yay!
4:24PM The "what's new" feed is up on show, our buddy Aaron Woodman showed up on the list.
4:23PM We feel so proud. We've clogged up the airwaves!
4:23PM Hah, it did!
4:22PM Ooh, he's trying to connect to the internet, let's see if it fails.
4:22PM History lesson about "glance and go" continues.
4:22PM We've got like 6 different reviews of these handsets.
4:21PM Can someone please email Steve while he's off stage and show him our WP7 reviews?
4:21PM Deep integration of Facebook and Windows Live throughout the WP7 services. Oh, "we call these Live Tiles" ... yes, Joe, we know.
4:20PM He just took a picture of the front row, it looks pretty horrible.
4:20PM This is a great pitch -- here's our old stuff, not as good as the upcoming new stuff.
4:19PM Joe's recapping the "current Windows Phone 7 product" that we should all apparently go out and buy.
4:18PM Joe Belfiore coming right up to demo the new goodness.
4:18PM In 2011, it'll be "fully" integration into the hubs experience, just like Facebook has been already.
4:18PM Twitter integration coming to all these hubs!
4:18PM And Games, our favorite hub, and its Xbox Live integration get a mention.
4:17PM Music + Video. "Drags in music information from the cloud and integrates other music and video applications." You can sate all your musical needs without having to launch a special app.
4:17PM Pictures Hub. Honestly, can someone tell Steve we've seen Windows Phone 7 before?
4:16PM It's integrated into the Office Hub on WP7.
4:16PM "Customers are already taking advantage of this ability as consumers to roam information among friends through the clouds" via the OneNote app.
4:16PM Hah, "keep your team moving along even if you are *dramatic pause* I don't know, sitting at a keynote at MWC."
4:15PM The Office Hub brings together those applications for "the productive side of life."
4:15PM The People Hub, all your social contacts and interactivity options. Hey, didn't we get this demo last year?
4:14PM "We love our apps. We love our services. But it's often hard to find what you want." App discoverability is important, yes, but have hubs really helped with that?
4:14PM "A single integrates experience."
4:14PM The second emphasis point for WPhone: hubs.
4:13PM Sounds nice.
4:13PM "Later this year, we're gonna release a version of IE9 complete with graphics and other hardware acceleration to the Windows Phone."
4:13PM "This past September we released the beta version of Internet Explorer 9 for the PC." It became a release candidate on Thursday.
4:12PM The full internet, he says, does that mean Flash?
4:12PM 2011, he said, but nothing more specific.
4:12PM Multitasking coming "in the near future!"
4:12PM "We're gonna help customers move between their many applications very easily and very quickly."
4:11PM That was an example of voice-activated searching in Bing on Windows Phone 7. Why did nobody else laugh? It was funny.
4:11PM "Phone! How do I find coffee?"
4:10PM Little jab at the iPhone and Android there, not surprising.
4:10PM In describing the pre-WP7 situation: "Good phones, but all filled with a sea of icons."
4:09PM It's about "completing tasks more easily." Well, no kidding, Steve. What else you got?
4:09PM Smart design and hubs are the two pivotal topics he's about to start on. Smart design first.
4:09PM "Great products are really defined by the passion and the loyalty that they inspire from the people who've gone out and purchased them." Sounds like Symbian fans to us, hah!
4:08PM "93% of customers are delighted with their Windows Phones."
4:08PM "We knew from the reaction that we got here at MWC last year that we were on a right path."
4:07PM He promises to discuss how Microsoft will build its platform with its "new *and* old partners."
4:07PM "2011 will be at least as fast-paced, if not more so, as 2010." First mention of Nokia as well.
4:06PM That first WP7 update will be delivered "in just a few weeks, in early March."
4:06PM Now he's going through the chronology of developing and bringing WP7 to devices.
4:06PM "The past year has been very fast-paced."
4:05PM "Touch, feel and experience." That made us smile.
4:05PM Bing, Office, Xbox Live, Facebook, he's just rattling off features.
4:05PM "Windows Phone 7 was really more than the launch of a single new product."
4:04PM Hands on hips. "The last year has certainly seen a lot of change for our industry."
4:04PM And now, a hush. Here comes Steve Ballmer.
4:04PM The music's getting livelier and louder, but there are still no humans on stage.
4:02PM Lights coming down...
3:58PM Our MiFi is holding up fine, thanks for asking. We've also got a half dozen redundancy plans as well, including sending Myriam Joire out with handwritten missives, but let's hope we won't have to resort to them.
3:56PM The WiFi at this event is completely dead, by the way. As it has been at every event this year.
3:54PM Scratch that, the music just turned extremely lounge-y. And not even a classy hotel, more like a two-star hovel on the side streets of London. Can you tell we're bored yet?
3:51PM Now they're bringing flutes into it, Microsoft sure is setting a classical stage for itself. Think there'll be any news worthy of such a setup?
3:47PM Three screens behind a vast stage and soothing violin music. We're ready... to be rocked?