Steve Ballmer took to the stage for the first major keynote of Mobile World Congress 2011, and announced... not an awful lot, actually.
In part running through many of Windows Phone 7's general features, and in part expanding on what we'll see in future updates to the platform, there was precious little wow factor to the Microsoft boss' big MWC address.
Among the more interesting nuggets we did get were confirmation that the first Windows Phone 7 update will be coming early next month, and the revelation that an update later in the year will bring full Internet Explorer 9 integration to the platform. Oh yeah, and Twitter will soon be baked right into the People Hub.
That aside, anyone expecting something dramatic were left disappointed. Ballmer talked up Windows Phone 7 at considerable length, largely covering features we all knew about anyway. Things did pick up a little when he got into more detail on next month's update, showing us exactly how the forthcoming multitasking feature will work.
Running apps will appear on screen as a series of cards accessible by pressing the Start button. Simply pick the card you want to launch the app you're interested in, and it'll pop up on screen exactly where you left it. You can even multitask between two games, with entering into the multitasking screen automatically pausing things just where you were.
The biggest news of all from the keynote was undoubtedly that IE9 Mobile will offer a WinPho 7 browsing experience every bit as good as on a PC, an exciting revelation offset by the reality that it'll only be arriving in the promised second update to the platform, coming well into the second half of the year.
We saw a couple of early demos of the browser on screen, one of which showed the iPhone 4 a clean set of heels in a fairly big way, and we can't wait to see it in action.
There was little surprise in seeing Nokia's Stephen Elop make a cameo appearance on stage, and even less surprise that it was simply to rehash just how chuffed both companies are with their buddying up.
And that summed up most of the 50 minutes Ballmer was on stage – reinforcing the same message we've heard before: that Microsoft is happy with the way Windows Phone 7 is developing, that there's plenty more to come in forthcoming updates, and that the company insists its mobile OS is a viable “third ecosystem” alongside Android and iOS.