All the Buzz about Windows Phone 7

Just when you thought it was safe to talk about mobile phones again – the hyper-marketing(tm) machine (a.k.a the Microsoft Marketing department) is back and this time they’re trumpeting the Windows Phone 7 (is it just me, or is that a stupid name?).

Whilst Microsoft is no stranger to the Smartphone marketplace, their record is not inspiring.  I, like many other developers in the past, have been led down the garden path more often than not with Windows Mobile.

Can Windows Phone 7 (like it’s namesake, Windows 7 the operating system) deliver?

I’m extremely cynical this time around.  Despite there being (for years) a clear benchmark in the mobile phone marketplace (Apple’s iPhone), Microsoft has been the perennial loser in the mobile phone market.  There have been many reasons proffered, and most point to hardware as the main factor.  With Windows Phone 7, Microsoft apparently has outlined some very specific hardware requirements to Smartphone manufacturers:

“The phones must have at least a five megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash, a fast ARM v7 Cortex or Scorpion processor, a minimum 3.5 inch capacitive multi-touch screen with 800 by 480 megapixel resolution, A-GPS, a compass, an accelerometer and proximity and light sensors as well as WiFi and Bluetooth.”

The question  we are left with is – is hardware alone enough to turn the corner?  Windows Mobile as an operating platform has been very weak historically, the main bugbears being dropped calls and unresponsive handsets which would point to a software issue.

Don’t get me wrong, I want to like Windows Phone 7.  I want to believe that this time around Microsoft has finally built a platform for mobile phones which will work.  The attractiveness of building my own applications for the Windows Phone 7 without the ridiculous approval process required by the likes of Apple is a big factor.  The fact that the application marketplace for Windows Mobile applications is a barren wasteland when compared to Android or Apple’s App Store is another large benefit.

Over the past eight years I’ve used Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition, Windows Mobile 5, Windows Mobile 6 and Windows Mobile 6.5 (current handset).

Will I buy a Windows Phone 7 handset? Past (bitter) experience has taught me not to trust – that, and Microsoft’s paltry 5% stake in the mobile phone market – therefore this time I will not be an early adopter, consider this a vote of no confidence from me.  In fact, my next handset is likely to be either an Android or an iPhone 3GS predominantly because I’ve run out of patience with Windows Mobile.

If I get a chance to see a handset (and I’m open to reviewing a handset should one come my way), I might do a review, but this time around it’s a case of (once) bitten, twice shy – where once equals four times.

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