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Windows Phone 7: the future looks bright

Until last week, lots of people probably didn't realise Microsoft even still made a smartphone operating system. But thanks to their tie-up with Nokia, Windows Phone 7 is a household name again - and it's soon going to have the support of the biggest phone company on the planet.

Which means the pressure is on Microsoft to make sure the OS - which is well-designed but still a bit feature-light - catches up with the competition. Luckily, Microsoft have just promised an update that'll fix much of what needs fixing.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer just gave a keynote address at Mobile World Congress, a big trade shindig. And he revealed some juicy details about an upcoming WP7 update. Some stuff - like a much-needed copy and paste function - we knew about. But Ballmer confirmed that multi-tasking will be coming to WP7 this year, letting users flit from app to app just like iPhone 4 users do.

What's more, WP7 will also be getting a mobile version of Internet Explorer 9, which Microsoft are getting ready to release onto PCs. It won't have all the bells and whistles of the PC version, of course, but it's set to have some of the same built-in hardware graphics acceleration, which is a fancy way of saying it'll show you flashy websites really fast.

And here's one more fun little detail - Microsoft are going to be integrating Twitter deeply into all WP7's features. Facebook support is already pretty well baked-in, but that's not surprising given Microsoft's status as an investor in the company. But Twitter support will be more useful to many of Microsoft's intended business customers.

No word on exactly when this update, but we bet it'll be just in time for Nokia's first WP7 handset later in the year...

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