This Monday, Steve Jobsâ€™ equally balding, slightly larger nemesis Steve Ballmer unveiled Microsoftâ€™s brand new smartphone operating system, aptly named Windows Phone 7.
The new software is Microsoftâ€™s answer to the iOS and Android platforms, and itâ€™s actually a solid build. Where in past versions Microsoft would try to emulate their desktop computer experience, Phone 7 is an all-new user interface; one that feels more like a smartphone than a computer.
The overall feel is fluid, with screens rolling off to the sides. Theyâ€™ve also focused heavily on Facebook integration. Rather than opening a dedicated app, you can actually go to your contacts to write on someoneâ€™s wall.
Notably missing is multitasking and copy paste functions; things the iPhone was long criticized for not having but now does. Microsoft did promise to add this functionality by early 2011, which would be less time than it took Apple.
Microsoft teamed up with some major phone manufacturers to coincide with 7 Mobileâ€™s release and released 10 new phones into the that which run the software.
Of course, LG, Samsung and HTC were involved, but the unexpected addition to the list was a phone from Dell, so weâ€™ll start off there on our descriptions of the most interesting new critters.
Dell Venue Pro
Known as the cooler-sounding Â â€œLightningâ€ during development, the Venue joins the quickly procreating family of smartphones with screens larger than those on the iPhones. With a 4-inch screen and keyboard that slides down vertically, the fully-extended phone stretches almost all the way from the base of oneâ€™s palm to the tips of their fingers.
The Collegian budget doesnâ€™t allow us to buy each of these phones on release day for testing, but the folks at engadget.com do, so weâ€™ll rely on their opinion.
They think the Venueâ€™s a hit, and we think it could be too, as long as Dellâ€™s marketing can keep up with the industry veterans.
Youâ€™ll recognize this phone on the street due to its key feature: A horizontal slide-out â€œDolby Surroundâ€ speaker.
Weâ€™re a little skeptical of the â€œsurroundâ€ bit, but this phone is made for multimedia.
It also has a little kickstand for easy media viewing; no word from the Engadget guys yet on the sound quality. The 3.7-inch screen makes it a little less of a man than Dellâ€™s Venue, but you can think of that as extended battery life.
Other phones released include the HD7, Mozart, Trophy and Pro from HTC, the Quantum and the Optimus from LG, and the Focus and the Omnia from Samsung.
They represent the newest standard in smartphones. You can expect a big 3.5 to 4-inch screen on each, fast 1 Ghz processors and 5 megapixel cameras that match the iPhone in their ability to shoot 720p video as well.
Check engadget.com for more info and hands-on reviews, as well as carrier information.
Columnists Ryan Gibbons and Glen Pfeiffer just thought you might like to know that this was our 69th column. Send laughs to firstname.lastname@example.org.