Windows Phone 7 will be available to the vast majority of the global population by the end of the year, the company has told The Daily Telegraph.
Andy Lees, President of Microsoft's Mobile Communications Business, said that “we will go from addressing 42pc of the world’s smartphones to in excess of 88pc this year”. He added that problems experienced in some countries, such as Poland, with availability of specific characters will also be fixed this year.
Mr Lees made the announcement after Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s Chief Executive, used his keynote at Mobile World Congress to demonstrate a future release of Windows Phone 7 and to further emphasise the value of Microsoft’s recent partnership deal with Nokia.
He said that Windows Phone 7 users told their friends to buy one in nine out of ten cases.
New versions of WP7 will include hardware acceleration for a mobile build of web browser Internet Explorer 9, access to documents stored on Microsoft’s cloud-based Skydrive, and will also be compatible with the company’s popular Xbox Kinect video games accessory.
In a “technical preview”, Mr Ballmer showed a Windows Phone being used to control balls on a screen that another Kinect user had to try to block with his body.
Twitter will also be integrated with WP7’s ‘People Hub’, and the software’s multitasking will be improved. The new update will be made available in the first two weeks of March.
On Friday, Microsoft announced a deal with Nokia making Windows Phone 7 the operating system for the Finnish company's smartphone handsets. Nokia said the deal could be worth "billions" over the coming years.