Ina Fried

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Ahead of New iPhones, Microsoft’s Smartphone Boss Finds Reasons to Smile

While Microsoft knows it still has some catching up to do when it comes to Apple’s iPhone, Windows Phone boss Andy Lees takes some pride in knowing that Cupertino’s operating system takes some cues from things his team has done.

In the first release, Microsoft integrated with Xbox Live, which was followed by the announcement of Apple’s Game Center. This time around, with the just-released Mango update, Microsoft has added Twitter integration, a feature also found in the forthcoming iOS 5.

“What we did on the camera is another example,” Lees said in an interview in San Francisco on Monday. From the first version that came out last year, Windows Phone has had a dedicated camera button that lets users go straight from behind the lock screen to taking a photo with a single finger movement. Apple has promised such a feature with its forthcoming iOS 5.

And while Apple is largely praised for its software-hardware integration, Lees says Windows Phone, including the recent Mango update, shows just how much integration is possible even when working with other hardware makers.

“We don’t do the hardware and yet our browser is fastest because of hardware acceleration,” Lees told AllThingsD.

That said, iOS already has lots of features that aren’t found in Windows Phone, not to mention hundreds of thousands more applications. And, more than that, it has a huge customer base. That’s something that remains on Lees’s to-do list, though he says the new features in Mango should help, as will the arrival of lower-cost devices, support for more languages and the first phones from Nokia.

Plus, Mango is already out there and Apple will doubtlessly have some new tricks up its sleeves when it hosts its “Let’s Talk iPhone” event tomorrow. And, unless I am much mistaken, Google also will have a thing or two to say next week when Samsung is expected to tout the next version of Android at an event in San Diego.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus