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Doug's Mailbag: Windows Phone 7 Cheers and Jeers

While it's still too early to tell if Microsoft's newest phone OS is a failure or success, here's some of your thoughts:

The submerged part of the Win Phone 7 iceberg may be the deal available for software development tools. Too cheap to pay over $1,000 for Visual Studio 2010? No problem. Download it for free from the Win Phone 7 Web site. Visual Studio 2010 is arguably the best proprietary software development platform and there are a LOT of developers out there who know how to use it. We will see if this advantage helps Microsoft overcome the five-year head start the other smartphone competitors have. Obviously developers are having no trouble developing iPhone and Android apps so this may not be enough of an advantage. Time will tell. Meanwhile, I now have the perfect way to upgrade to the latest and greatest version of Visual Studio. My chances of purchasing a Win Phone 7 are greater as a result.

I am an application developer that already knows Silverlight. The tools for creating apps on the device already way outpace what the competition has, so my hope is the number and quality of apps will get better over time.

Microsoft needs to be patient and jump ship in two years if the platform is not top dog. This could take three to five years to really catch on.

Sent from my Windows Phone.

Well, it ain't your Windows Mobile 6.5, that's for sure... ;-)

The user experience, for those unfamiliar with its predecessor, is really good. But for those of us that bought the very first Windows phones and have stayed with the platform through thick and thin, this is really a change!

First the technical issues: AT&T is advising its (few) customers that SD memory cards can't be added to the phones yet because Microsoft just advised that the OS won't initialize or use them.  A software fix is on the way. Also, turning the various connections (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and sound) on and off for meetings is anything but an in-and-out experience. Also, there's no such thing as "etiquette mode," unlike 6.5, which allowed you to simply place the phone face-down on a surface and the phone silenced itself.

What really haven't been covered in the media are Microsoft's two really big bets with Phone 7: The first is that synchronization really, really provides most of us with our first (and only) reason to install and use Zune. If Microsoft can make the case that Phone 7 is the best mobile client for corporate Exchange installations, the increased use and traffic through Zune will be astonishing.

The second bet is less all-in but is definitely all-inclusive. Unlike 6.5 which synchronized documents and spreadsheets with the desktop, Phone 7 only syncs with and SharePoint sites. This is a huge push to cement and leverage its advantage in SharePoint and tie it to Exchange through the Phone 7.

These are really the strategic bets Microsoft made with Phone 7 -- all the whoopla about the interface notwithstanding. The media has been paying so much attention to the Great and Magnificent Wizard of Oz that these critical strategies (and what they mean for the enterprise) have gone as unnoticed as the old man behind the curtain pulling all those levers.

I just bought an HTC HD7 and a new account with T-Mobile. I've been an iPhone 3G and 3GS user for a long time. iPhone 4 wasn't really worth it to upgrade, and I'm a long time Microsoft supporter so WP7 got my vote. I'm keeping two devices for now, but will see how it goes before moving permanently to one. So far though, phone good, T-mobile -- not so much.

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Posted by Doug Barney on 12/08/2010 at 1:18 PM


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