Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said Thursday that the software maker would release its next mobile operating system in the second half of this year.

Windows Phone 7, as the OS is known, will ship sometime in 2010, Ballmer told reporters at a news conference in New Delhi, according to the Dow Jones newswire.

Based on previous statements from the company, it's likely that smartphones based on the software will be available in time for the holiday season. Ballmer unveiled Windows Phone 7 in February at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona.

The software features a start screen that rejects static icons in favor of real-time feeds from the Internet's most popular social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter, as well as other applications. It also offers always-on access to e-mail, Xbox games, Bing search, and other tools.

Full story: InformationWeek