Microsoft has launched Windows Phone 7, its latest attempt to break into the lucrative smartphone market.
So far the company has failed to provide a credible challenge to rival operating systems from Apple, Google, Research in Motion and Nokia. Mobile phone operators predict smartphones will have a 70% market share in just three years. Microsoft says it has rebuilt the user interface from the bottom up, making Windows Phone 7 more user-friendly.
While Nokia's Symbian operating system is still the market leader, Apple has rapidly gained market share with its iPhones, while phones using Google's Android software are forecast to overtake Apple soon. RIM, meanwhile, has seen its Blackberry phones gain popularity beyond its stronghold of business users.
"There's a huge amount resting on the launch of Windows Phone 7 for Microsoft, its device and operator partners, and for the ecosystem market in general," said Tony Cripps of technology consultants Ovum. "If it fails to claw back market share lost to iPhone and Android, then Windows Phone 7 may well mark the point at which Microsoft turns its back on smartphones forever."
Well, it's only taken them 6 years to finish it, and it's only 3 years late, it's not backwards compatible with Windows Phone 6.5 or previous incarnations of Windows Mobile, and it has some rather surprising and fundamental flaws...
But thats all forgiven since MS CEO Steve Ballmer admitted that Microsoft had completely "screwed up with Windows Mobile 7" and vowed "it would never happen again".
Ive been a user of Windows Mobile for the past 5 years, finding it to be an integral part of my business and thus far, not finding a mobile OS that is quite as powerful. But imho, Windows Phone 7 is a step backwards. Some of the feature omissions that were present in Windows Mobile are glaring to say the very least, no copy and paste, no Flash support, no proper multi-tasking, no support for external flash drives, no support for tethering, no Bluetooth transfers, no file-manager, all of which were present in Windows Mobile, it does not even support Silverlight, despite the core-OS being built upon the technology... and to top things off, because its a completely new OS unlike the Windows CE-based Windows Mobile, it will not support any of the tends of thousands of Windows Mobile applications.
Microsoft claim a lot of the overkill security features and feature ommissions are simply to target corporate sector demands, which is fair enough... had they not designed the UI around social-networking/Facebook, gaming (Xbox) and music (Zune)... I mean the whole interface looks like a Zune music player, albeit with the phone capabilities. It seems like it is to Zune players, what the iPhone is to the iPod. They are hardly considering the needs and demands of the corporate sector with regards interface or even core-applications, are they?! The fact that no WinMo applications will work on WP7 is a killer for the corporate sector alone, and that is before you even consider that there is no upgrade path for WinMo owners, not even the HD2 meet's Microsoft's stupidly high performance requirements for WP7.
I doubt the XDA Dev community will have much interest in porting it across to existing handsets, far too much work involved and a massively locked down code prevents this, not to mention a complete lack of demand.
Personally, im changing to Android on TouchPro2 next year, ive been running Windows Mobile 6.5.5 BETA since April and its as solid as a rock, it will be a shame to ditch WinMo because Windows Mobile 7 (not to be confused with the new Windows Phone 7), the original project following the same roadmap as previous Windows Mobile OS's looked like it was going to be amazing - it was never going to attract the masses, but it was still enough of what we have come to expect from WinMo, whilst being re-designed, to keep the WinMo faithful interested and happy. I know some features from the proposed WinMo 7 made it through to the final release of WinMo 6.5.5 BETA this year, but in reality the platform has been all-but-dead for 2 years now.
Bar a miracle, Windows Phone 7 will, imho, live a very short life and Microsoft will probably bow out of the mobile sector by 2013. Unless of course, they are stupid. Which we know they can be.
There's finally a fully-working and totally stable release of Android Froyo on the TouchPro2 (as well as Ubuntu), so for me, the Windows Mobile experience, will soon be coming to a sad end. Unless I buy a WebOS device first lol.BBC News Report