It was rather an odd occasion, the official Microsoft conference at MWC 2015. At the biggest mobile trade show in the world, attendance is functionally mandatory, and this is almost exactly how Microsoft treated it.
In a rather staid 40 min presentation, almost no new ground was covered. Stephen Elop, now quite advanced in his metamorphosis into William Shatner, began the proceedings. At no point was there any illusion that this event regarded anything other than Windows 10, placing the issue of mobile devices in soft focus.
Indeed, almost the very first thing to spring from the lips of the former Nokia supremo concerned the fate of Windows 10. As of this moment in time, there are 2.8 million 'Windows Insiders', those testing various beta versions of Windows on different hardware. Find out more here.
This is where Elop followed, talking about the benefits of the Windows ecosystem, and of the potential benefit that the wider Windows experience can deliver to the population at large. This of course included the business environment, with Elop keen to focus particularly on the potential benefits of Windows to Small and Medium Enterprises. To this end, he introduced the fruits of Microsoft's partnership with AT&T: the mobile office suite. Find out more here.
Eventually, there was some meat in the mash, with the introduction of both the Lumia 640 and the Lumia 640 XL by Neil Bradley. Both devices sport 720p screens, 1GB of RAM and Snapdragon 400 processors, along with similar price points. However, they are separated both in size and in camera power, with the latter being distinctly more premium than the former. You can read more about the Lumia 640 here, and the Lumia 640 XL here.
Bradley also took the time to give a public showing of Windows 10, working across various devices. From the desktop, to the tablet, to smartphones, he showed how universal apps worked seamlessly across various screens, providing context depending on their location. For example, maps, planning the route on desktop and then following it on a smartphone. Project Spartan, Microsoft's replacement for Internet Explorer was also featured, shown running rather nicely on Windows 10 hardware. More information about both of these developments can be found here.
Last but not least, Microsoft took some time to reveal some universal hardware, in the form of a Bluetooth foldable keyboard. Running across all operating systems that will support it, including iOS, Android, and the GDR2 release of Windows Phone that ships for the first time with the Lumia 640 and 640XL, the device allows a maximum of portability with a minimal loss of productivity. You can find more on that here.
In all, it was pretty apparent throughout this event that Microsoft is holding the true prizes for Build 2015 announcements, and onwards from there. In the quest to push Window 10 to an absolute maximum of functionality and consumer knowledge, Microsoft has had to make some difficult sacrifices along the way. To this point, there will be no flagships until Windows 10 is good and ready, as shown here.
To see more, you can find the live-cast on-demand here.
Did you enjoy the event? What development are you most excited about? Let us know in the comment below.Further reading: Microsoft, MWC 2015, MWC15, Spartan, Windows Phone