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Microsoft executives used the second day of the company s Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles to offer a few glimpses of upcoming Windows Phones.

Acer, Fujitsu, ZTE, and Samsung had manufactured the devices on display for part of the July 12 keynote speeches, all of them embracing a thin-and-light design style that will apparently drive the Windows Phone franchise going forward. Although executives have spent the conference highlighting Microsoft s partnership with Nokia, which will see Windows Phone ported onto the latter s devices, no smartphones from the Finnish manufacturer have made an appearance.

Microsoft also offered attendees a glimpse at its wide-ranging Mango update, which will appear on Windows Phones later in 2011. New features include a redesigned Xbox Live Hub, home-screen tiles capable of displaying up-to-the-minute information, the ability to consolidate friends and colleagues into groups, and visual voicemail a supposed 500 elements in all.

According to some outside analysts, Microsoft s smartphone ambitions face some serious headwinds. For the three-month period between the end of February and the end of May, research firm comScore estimated Microsoft s U.S. share dipping from 7.7 percent to 5.8 percent. If accurate, that comes despite the marketing push behind the Windows Phone platform.

However, Microsoft seems to be readying to push back hard. Andy Lees, president of Microsoft s Windows Phone Division, told the audience assembled to hear his July 12 keynote that advances in technology would halve the price of a smartphone capable of running Windows Phone to between $100 and $150.

We re at an inflection point in Moore s Law where you can put everything needed to run a computer on a single chip, he said, which in turn is bringing PC-level power to a variety of form-factors. There won t be an ecosystem for PCs and an ecosystem for phones, one for tablets; they ll all come together. Devices within the resulting stack will prove capable of swapping key pieces of technology; for example, the version of Internet Explorer 9 running on Windows Phone has the same software underpinnings as the browser running on PCs.

We can take the advantages we provide the PC and immediately provide those across devices, he added. That being said, there will be separations: producing a tablet that dual-operates as a phone would be in conflict with this strategy since Microsoft views tablets as sort of a PC with a need to connect to networks and the like.

To read the original eWeek article, click here: Microsoft’s Windows Phone Focus of Big Plans