Windows Phone 7

Chris Nuttall

For a company rebooting its mobile phone strategy, the simple building-blocks look of the home screen on Windows Phone 7 is an apt visual metaphor for the extensive reconstruction work under way to rebuild Microsoft’s smartphone reputation.

In this week’s Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section, I reviewed one of the nine launch phones sporting this refreshing new interface – the Samsung Focus. 

Paul Taylor

Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer was in fine (fighting) form on stage at the annual Gartner Symposium in Orlando today, punching his hands for emphasis and positively bristling at the suggestion that Microsoft should split its consumer and corporate businesses.

He described a recent Goldman Sachs idea to spin-out the consumer unit as “nutty” and  “the second most crazy idea I have ever heard.” Unfortunately he did not tell his audience of about 5,000 senior IT executive what was the craziest. 

Paul Taylor

Windows Phone 7 is probably Microsoft’s last chance to remain relevant in the increasingly competitive smartphone operating system marketplace.

Over the past few weeks, I have had the chance to test out several of the new handsets based on Windows Phone 7, including models from Samsung, the Korean electronics group, and HTC, the Taiwanese smartphone maker, which has been a longtime Microsoft handset partner. 

Chris Nuttall

Microsoft and Intel’s close bonds on the operating system and processor that dominate PCs became known as the Wintel partnership,  but Wincomm is now the name of the game on mobile phones.

All nine Windows Phone 7 smartphones announced globally on Monday will run Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipsets and the two companies are making much of the exclusivity. 

Joseph Menn

Hewlett-Packard is announcing an entertainment-oriented  refresh to its notebook computer line today–and the most notable addition comes with its own 3D glasses.

The HP Envy 17 3D’s glasses automatically turn on when the user is watching a 3D Blu-ray DVD on the machine and then turn off again, giving the glasses a projected year of battery life.

In a test, I found the background shapes to have distracting shadows, but HP said it is tweaking the technology and will ship before the winter holidays at $1,600 or more. 

Joseph Menn

Hewlett-Packard will bring out a tablet-style computer running Windows after all.

That was the word today from HP’s third-quarter earnings call, which should reverse speculation around the time of HP’s Palm acquisition–and its accompanying enthusiasm for Palm’s WebOS mobile operating system–that the company was killing the Windows slate.

“You’ll see us with a Microsoft product out in the near future and a WebOS-based product out in 2011″, said HP personal computer division head Todd Bradley. 

Richard Waters

Would you have wanted to be the manager whose job it was to persuade Steve Ballmer to keep investing in Kin?

Thought not. The writing has been on the wall for this smart-ish phone for some time. The Microsoft CEO – who took direct personal responsibility for the company’s mobile business six weeks ago, on the early “retirement” of consumer products chief Robbie Bach – has now delivered the coup de grace (the story was broken today by Ina Fried at Cnet, and Microsoft confirmed to us that there will be no future versions of the device).

One message from this: Microsoft’s period of experimentation in consumer gadgets is coming to an end. Mr Ballmer is doubling down instead on the main battle ahead as he looks to buttress the Windows platform against Apple and Google. 

Richard Waters

Finally, after all the vague feel-good comments, a real fact about Android phone sales to sink your teeth into. Speaking at the big mobile industry bash in Barcelona today, Eric Schmidt said handset makers were currently shipping 60,000 units a day with the Google software platform installed.

If that figure is sustainable, it adds up to nearly 22m a year. Compare that to Microsoft, which said that “more than 20m” Windows Mobile phones were shipped in 2008.