MUCH has been made with WP7 (including by this Blog) of the far from ideal spread of features built-in to the WP OS for regions outside of the US or UK. Any number of my posts here have been critical of the need for MS to improve the range of full features and capabilities of their fantastic OS to international markets.
Now – on today’s Windows Team Blog – we have an official comment from Microsoft’s John McConnell, Principal Program Manager, Windows Phone Engineering on what is changing with MANGO.
As well as expanded language support;
“Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian (Bokmål), Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Swedish.”
there is also expanded Keyboard options for International users:
“The 20 new keyboard options are: Brazilian Portuguese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Swedish, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, and Ukrainian.”
The sections of the announcement I was most keen to see however related to Features of WP7 for non-US markets;
“Buying apps and playing games
I know many of you also want to know about our global rollout plans for services like Marketplace and Xbox LIVE.
As we announced last month, starting this fall you’ll be able to buy apps from Windows Phone Marketplace in 35 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and the United States. (The specifics of how you buy an app and which apps are available in Marketplace do vary by country.)
This fall you’ll see a significant increase in the number of new countries where the Xbox LIVE service for Windows Phone is available. The Zune Marketplace for music, video, and podcasts is also expanding to more markets. We’re not quite ready to announce specifics just yet—expect to hear more later this summer.
Finally, we get many questions about specific phone features—especially ones related to searching and mapping— and where they’ll be available. Here’s a list of ones we hear about most:
- Bing search (accessed from the phone’s hardware Search button) is available in 33 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and the United States. (Elsewhere, handset and mobile operators can configure the hardware search button to a locally-relevant search site).
- Local search results show up in 6 countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, United Kingdom, and the United States.
- Maps is supported in 19 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States.
- Voice-to-text and Voice-to-dial is available in 6 countries: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, and the Unites States.
- Voice search is supported in 4 countries: France, Germany, United Kingdom, and the United States.”
LINK to full post – HERE
SO – Australia gets Maps, Local and updated Bing search features – but continues to miss out on the Voice activated features in Windows Phone.
More exciting is the section above in red – where we have the first official comments that I can recall of imminent announcements (within ~6 weeks) of expanded Zune service to non-US markets. If this means Zune Pass for Australia – I will be over the moon!!!!
Now MS – if you can just make some leaps, not small steps, towards full-service WP OS in markets like Australia – you will make many of your fans and supporters very happy, and also go a long way to pushing the feature-set of WP compared to it’s international competitors!
- For more info on features of MANGO, WP7 NoDo etc around the world (including Australia) – check this great page over at Andrew’s site: LINK