Cape Town - Microsoft says that its Windows Phone 8 operating system makes smartphones more personal by focusing on the user, rather than on the applications.
"We believe that rather than putting the application at the centre of all of this, we rather want to put the user at the centre of everything," Microsoft SA operator channel executive Anthony Doherty told News24.
The new operating system launched globally on Monday and marks the software giant's entry into the hotly contested smartphone space.
Microsoft said that the OS differentiated itself from competitors with fully customisable start screens that delivered content via live tiles and apps, similar to the Windows 8 operating system.
"We haven't developed the phone for everyone; we've developed the phone for each one of us," Doherty said.
In South Africa, manufactures are racing to have Windows Phone 8 devices ready and it is likely that HTC will be first to market its Windows Phone 8X in November.
Samsung and Microsoft partner Nokia will also bring their Windows-powered phones to SA.
Microsoft said that the range of hardware available will give consumers more choice in terms of smartphones.
"We believe with the hardware, people will have a lot more choice with the type of hardware they want: whether they prefer technical capability in the hardware, or whether it's more aesthetic appeal," said Doherty.
Microsoft said the OS remains important, particularly as consumers were more clued up on what the different platforms offered.
"The operating system is very important. If you look at consumers today they're becoming a lot more educated on what the opportunity really is. At the end of the day, people are not really choosing hardware for hardware's sake. They're choosing those devices to unlock a certain set of experiences," Doherty said.
"I do believe that people are becoming a little more savvy on what the ecosystems provide them," he added.
Microsoft unveiled key features of the Windows Phone 8 operating system that include tight integration with social networks like Facebook and SkyDrive internet cloud storage.
The Washington-based firm also said that using the OS is easy.
"People want to consume, communicate, create, but without technology being a challenge for them. Technology should just work in the background," Doherty insisted.
Microsoft is a relative latecomer in the smartphone space, but Doherty said the company has clearly set its eyes on taking on the major players like Google and Apple.
"We don't just want to show up as a row of applications because are applications the centre of our universe? No, it's our people, it's our family; it's what matters to us most."