Microsoft may have finally just confirmed when we’ll see a new iPhone rival from its Microsoft Mobile subsidiary running the Windows Phone operating system. This afternoon Microsoft sent out invitations for a press event at Mobile World Congress 2015, a European trade show where it’s made big Windows Phone announcements in the past.
Cnet reports that it received an invitation for a Microsoft event taking place at Mobile World Congress 2015 today. It appears that Microsoft will have news to share about its mobile efforts during the event that runs from March 2nd to March 5th. Typically, Nokia Devices and Services – now Microsoft Mobile – drops hints about what it’s going to announce in invitations. If that’s true here than it’s possible the company has plans to talk about a cloud service of some sort. The only thing on the light blue invitation is an empty hot air balloon floating among the clouds. The company is inviting industry insiders to “come along for the ride.”
Some outlets, like CNet are already wondering if Microsoft will use this Mobile World Congress 2015 event to announce an iPhone rival, a true alternative to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus running its Windows 10 operating system. It’s a fair question given Microsoft Mobile has shipped a lot of low-end and mid-range alternatives to the iPhone 5c and the now old iPhone 5s.
Smartphones buyers in the United States only have the Lumia 830 to choose from. The rest of Microsoft’s line-up is filled with budget smartphones. These devices have helped Microsoft grow Windows Phone sales, but they’re meant as entry-level devices for users to purchase without a contract.
Rumors early this year pointed to Microsoft Mobile revealing two new Windows Phones at Mobile World Congress 2015. Reportedly, neither of these devices will sit atop the Windows Phone thrown for long. Allegedly, a high-end Windows Phone created to compete with the iPhone 6 and whatever devices Apple announced next will come later in 2015. Oddly enough, Microsoft itself confirmed that it has plans to launch a flagship Windows Phone sometime this year. That confirmation came during its Windows 10 Media Briefing.
Windows 10 will act as the replacement for multiple Windows operating systems that Microsoft offers to users today. Most people have heard of Windows 10, a replacement for Windows 8.1 on notebooks and tablets. Another version of Windows 10 for mobile devices is coming to. This version will effectively replace Windows RT for tablets that battle the iPad and run on all of Microsoft’s smartphones. It’s this version that’ll replace Windows Phone 8.1 and take on iOS.
Apps will link the different versions of Windows 10. So will OneDrive, the company’s cloud storage and syncing service. Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 use OneDrive to sync files, backgrounds and settings. Perhaps, Microsoft’s cloud-filled Mobile World Congress 2014 invitation is a reference to the different cloud services that’ll make Windows 10 for phones worth buying for Windows users. It’s already publicly revealed a new version of its Xbox Music app that’ll stream music from OneDrive. The timing fits, we know that app upgrade is part of the Windows 10 experience overall and due for testing over the next few months. Microsoft said as much at that Windows 10 Media Briefing.
We should get another look at Windows 10 for phones and tablets during this Mobile World Congress briefing. It would make sense that whatever iPhone rivals are announced by the company run Windows 10, but it seems a bit early for that to be the case. Windows 10 for phones and tablets hasn’t even entered public beta yet. It’s more likely that these two rumored Microsoft Mobile handsets will act as the final two Windows Phones running Windows Phone 8.1 and get an update to Windows 10 later this year.