IE9, multitasking goes head to head with Windows Phone 7 -

Steve Ballmer takes to the stage at the Hotel Somethingorother here at Mobile World Congress. We don't even attempt to make it and sit on the floor at the MWC booth - watching on with increasing leg cramp as the shy and retiring salesman of Redmond tells us, mostly, what we already knew.

Ignoring the going forwards and the ecosystems, which Ballmer has a bad case of, here is what we can expect from Windows Phone 7 at an unknown date this year. 

The much lauded Internet Explorer 9 is coming to Windows Phone 7. There's a demo. It looks good. Microsoft shows as the usual fish in a barrell to demonstrate - a metaphor for something, we're sure, but no idea what.

While your fish swim around on your Windows 7 Phone, you can exit super quick and do something else too. That's because there's now multitasking. It too is demo'd and it looks good: third party music apps are able to keep running while you can switch, seemingly effortlessly, between games and even run two at once, if you're mad. Jumping in and out isn't instant but near enough in the demo. You can hold down the "back" button and it'll bring up all your running apps, supposedly while being mindful of power. 

Hubs are getting a new coat of paint. Now there will be Twitter and other third party integration so you know more about your friends with less time and effort. As the speaking developer suggests, you can now put your wife on your home page - it's stalking made easy.

Other stuff: essentially it's Microsoft continuing to push its cloud service. Taking photos go up to the cloud real quick and likewise with a small overhaul of Office on the phone. 

Swingin' Stephen Elop popped up towards the end to re-hash everything he said at his own conference yesterday evening. Microsoft doesn't have us bent over, this is mutually beneficial! And a third ecosystem.

Ballmer was a little more forthcoming, citing the Windows Phone 7 updates as a great step in helping Microsoft's partnership with the many many manufacturers involved - adding Nokia, at the end, as an afterthought. Perhaps.