If you missed it, I am sure you can find a few video links up online to watch it in reruns, but Microsoft has officially announced the release of Windows Phone 7 and a handful of phones for AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile here in the U.S., along with some international carriers as well. However, is it really that big of a deal? Is this something that Microsoft should have pushed harder for 2 years ago? Personally, I find this attempt at remaining relevant by Microsoft admirable, but it could be a futile effort to regain major market share.
First off, I know you are dying to know what are the phones being released. Here is a list of what phones are coming out, who is making them, and some basic specs and carriers.
- HTC 7 Surround -- The 3.8-inch T8788 with slideout speaker for AT&T and Telus
- HTC HD7 -- Schubert comes of age as a 4.3-inch HD2 cousin for T-Mobile and beyond
- HTC 7 Trophy -- the 3.8-inch Spark headed to international carriers
- HTC 7 Mozart -- another heavily leaked int'l player with 3.7-inch display
- Dell Venue Pro -- 4.1-inch portrait QWERTY slider for T-Mobile we broke as Lightning
- Samsung Focus -- AT&T's 4-inch Super AMOLED slate we broke as Cetus
- Samsung Omnia 7 -- the i8700 is a 4-inch Super AMOLED jobbie for Europe
- LG Optimus 7 -- the E900 is the official 3.8-inch global workhorse
- LG Quantum -- AT&T's 3.5-inch landscape slider first seen as the C900
- HTC 7 Pro -- a 3.6-inch QWERTY slider for Sprint (2011)
If you want to get a good look at a really indepth preview of Windows Phone 7, then read this Engadget article. There are also a lot of pictures that show off what the phone can do, along with videos.
So, is this all a big deal? Yes it is. It for one keeps Microsoft relevant in the industry. It keeps Windows out there. Not just that, but Microsoft is going a few steps to ensure that anyone with a WP7 phone will have ultimate connectivity between their desktop, laptop, XBox 360 and their smartphone. Microsoft wants to be, and always has wanted to be, the one company that you utilize when it comes to any and all of your computing needs.
Is WP7 something that Microsoft should have pushed 1 or 2 years ago? Definitely. WP7 has been in production for about a year or more now, but it is something that should have been released long before now. Smartphones are not just for savvy business users needing to be connected to everything. Savvy consumers are now just that. We want to have everything in our lives connected and at our finger times. We can not have that with standard cell phones or even the fancier “media phones”. Smartphones give us the reach, connectivity, and the involvement we desire, we demand. WP7 finally address these issues for the Windows platform. Maybe a little late.
I do stand by the fact that this release helps keep Windows and Microsoft relevant in the mobile industry. Do I see it overtaking the corporate side of the industry? No, RIM has that firmly locked down, even though iPhone and Android are chomping at the bits to push in. The consumer side is already a huge battlefield with the likes of iPhone and Android phones battling it out for supremacy and dominance. WP7 will have a huge uphill battle to win over anyone. What it looks like is Microsoft and Palm will be battling it out for 4th place, which Palm is readying its next iteration of WebOS soon.
What will ensure dominance for Windows Phone 7 is to be able to provide a strong corporate presence for the professional user, and an easy interface with social connectivity for the consumer. These are markets that have remained separate and RIM, Apple, and Google have struggled with. Palm still seems a bit lost in where it wants to go as it is to simple for the professional, and not connected well enough socially for the consumer.