Actor Stephen Fry made a surprise appearance at Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 press conference in London this afternoon, promoting what he described as the underdog of the mobile operating system market.
The event, held at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, started with a live video link to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in New York, introducing the software giant’s latest smartphone OS.
Ballmer said the firm had “set out to build a phone that was thoroughly modern” in hardware, design and “the way that it embraces what people do today with internet services”.
The two main principles behind Windows Phone 7, he said, were ‘Always delightful’ and ‘Wonderfully mine’. The user experience is designed to be ‘delightful’ regardless of the handset or application, while remaining personal to the user, Ballmer claimed.
New features on the OS include easier syncing between the phone and the user’s home media collection, ‘Live tiles’ (icons that show the actual content of each application) and ‘Hubs’, which allow greater integration of apps, features and content across the device.
Stephen Fry, who kept insisting he was “not being paid to be here”, said that despite often being associated with Apple, he would now happily also carry a Windows mobile device alongside his iPhone and BlackBerry.
“Oh, what joy there is in heaven when a sinner repents,” he said of the new ‘Always delightful’ motto. “They now, I think, get it. That all human beings… are human beings first.
“You don’t judge the machines you use… simply by listing their functions.”
Microsoft also announced six Windows Phone 7 smartphones, which will be hitting the UK market later this month. The HTC 7 Mozart, Samsung Omnia 7, HTC 7 Trophy, LG Optimus 7, HTC HD7 and Dell Venue Pro will be available from October 21st on various networks, but Orange is the main partner for the new OS.