Sep 07 2010

First Look: Windows Phone 7

Here are five ways your organization can benefit from Microsoft's new smartphone platform.

Does your organization run Microsoft Office, Exchange or SharePoint? If so, then you’ll want to know about the new features in the soon-to-be-released Windows Phone 7 that will let you collaborate across these programs. Here are five ways organizations can benefit from the new Microsoft smartphone:

Leverage existing infrastructure.

With approximately 300 million Microsoft Exchange mailboxes and more than 500 million Microsoft Office users worldwide, there’s clearly a need for a smartphone that can offer mobility to all these users. Windows Phone 7 will leverage existing messaging infrastructure built on Exchange and Exchange Active Sync. The Windows Phone 7 operating system enables new business scenarios for mobile users through document sharing and collaboration based on SharePoint.

Increase user productivity.

Earlier Microsoft smartphone platforms offered users mobile versions of Microsoft Office tools such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.

Windows Phone 7 integrates these productivity applications into a new user experience called the Office Hub. Built using managed code and the Microsoft Silverlight application development platform, the Office Hub makes it easy for mobile users to be productive. For example, using Office Hub, a user can quickly access, read, edit and share different Office documents from a single integrated interface on his or her smartphone.

Keep data secure.

Mobile devices always present security risks. Loss or theft of a smartphone can lead to data leakage and serious legal and financial consequences. Windows Phone 7 includes numerous management and security features to help prevent such data loss. The phone limits unwanted data transfers by denying access to data via PC tethering or support for removable Secure Digital cards.

Windows Phone 7 also makes it difficult for users to accidentally download and install malware on their phones while browsing the web. The phone uses managed code that isolates applications to prevent them from communicating with the phone’s OS and other running applications. Additionally, by deploying Microsoft Forefront Unified Access Gateway, organizations can let users securely access resources on the internal network from anywhere.

Build new experiences.

Organizations often build their own custom applications to meet specific needs that off-the-shelf applications may not address.

IT shops that build managed apps on the .NET Framework and Windows Communication Foundation, using tools such as Visual Studio and Silverlight, can leverage existing developer skills and tools to extend apps to Windows Phone 7.

Use the cloud.

You don’t have to host your own Exchange or SharePoint servers to take advantage of the messaging and collaboration capabilities of Windows Phone 7. That’s because Microsoft also offers hosted Exchange and SharePoint services to businesses through its Business Productivity Online Suite offerings. In other words, users can download and use web apps on their phone to work with business data securely stored in the cloud.

Mitch Tulloch is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional and lead author of the Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press.