Microsoft Menlo: prototype phone or mobile OS?
The Microsoft Menlo project was thought by all to be a Windows tablet being developed by Microsoft as a viable alternative to the ill-fated Courier tablet. Now, if seeing is believing, we've been gifted with a glimpse of the device, and it’s certainly not a tablet, rather, it’s another type of Windows phone that sports a different OS/UI from Windows Phone 7.
Featuring a 4.1-inch capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 800x480, the prototype looks to be running what is being thought to be Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R2. The screenshots below show a Microsoft Research Silverlight app called Greenfield running, which using the phone’s most unique feature – a digital pressure sensor or barometer – is able provide much more accurate within-building navigation, along with the 3-axis accelerometer and GPS. Most useful for finding your car in a crowded mall parking lot...amongst other things.
So, while photos of the prototype device have appeared, ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foyle seems to have information that indicates Menlo won’t release as a phone, rather, its Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R2 operating system will be developed for future use on Microsoft tablets/phones (not unlike the Windows Embedded Compact 7 OS), or as an OS for third party phone manufacturers, capable of running either on ARM or x86 processors. The operating system’s heritage is also in question, with speculation pointing towards origins closer to Windows NT rather than CE, especially when one includes the fact that a cross-platform file system called Courier is being developed for easy transfers between PCs and mobiles.
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