Microsoft has been a major player in just about everything software and computer related for a long time, in fact for the longest time I thought there was only one company producing software for computer. One thing for sure though is Microsoft has never really tried to do much outside of the software and computer industry. Recently though things have been changing for the company and they are trying to really break out into the world of electronics, and their latest gamble is Windows Phone 7.
In October of 2001 Apple, Microsoft’s biggest enemy released the much loved and now legendary Ipod. It single handedly changed the way we listen to music forever. Apple invented a completely new product and created a completely new product segment, Microsoft did not really see what all the fuss was about and did not want to get involved, but as they sat back and watched at the Ipod explode they wanted a piece of the pie, but it took almost 5 years for them to release the Zune, it didn’t stand a chance. Apple continued on its great adventure up to the point of the Iphones release in2007. The Iphone is possibly the greatest ever handheld electronic device ever made, with major backers in all corners and has sold an estimated 51 million units worldwide, so where is Microsoft in the cell phone war? Is Windows Phone 7 Microsoft’s first attempt?
Actually Microsoft has been making software for cellphones for a long time. In 2003 Windows Mobile 5.0 was released onto phones and mobile devices, in 2003 it was seen as a must have, especially for business users, unfortunately, since then the mobile version of windows hardly changed, it has become a dinosaur by today’s standards. Microsoft has seen what Apple has done and the success it has had with the Iphone and is now just a few weeks away from launching the all new Windows Phone 7.
Microsoft has spent a lot of time developing this new platform. Windows Phone 7 is going to be released and will be in direct competition with Apple’s Iphone devices and Google’s Android Devices. Have Microsoft waited too long though? Apple has a massive user base and a huge backing from developers and software writers; Google’s Android platform is gaining ground on Apple all the time and is snapping at Apple’s heels. Will Windows Phone 7 go the way of the Zune? Has apple waited too long to get into the cell phone market? Only time will tell.
Windows Phone 7 will be launched here in the U.S in November. The operating system looks completely different from Apple’s and Google’s offerings. Microsoft are going in a completely different direction, gone are the gridded icons that we are familiar with on the Iphone and Android, they have been replaced with Tiles that allow you to view at a glance what is going on. For instance, the email app will give you a preview of your inbox without even having to open the app, the info is there for you to see on the home screen. Microsoft has really been pushing this as a phone what will make your life easier. Microsoft has the backing of the biggest cell phone producers in the world and the launch day lineup of phones is very impressive. However what will sell cell phones is the software. As of yet there are a lot of developers who are not going to produce on the Windows Phone 7 platform because they want to see how it will do in the market, many big names have declined to develop for Windows Phone 7 through fear of it failing. The Iphone and Android phones are tried and tested, and the amount of money involved in developing for a new platform is immense. Can you blame them for wanting to wait and see what happens?
3rd party software aside, the actual operating system looks good. It will not appeal to everyone, but Windows Phone 7 looks, slick, fast and uncomplicated, it relies heavily on the Bing search agent to perform many tasks and that is okay, Bing is fast becoming my favorite search engine. Another plus is that it will have full integration with the Microsoft Office Suite so it will appeal greatly to business users. Media playback looks like it is handled effortlessly and from the launch day line up, it looks like there will be some good games and applications available. Another big selling point will of course be the fact that it can connect to Xbox live, so this phone will appeal greatly to fans of the Xbox 360.
Overall I think that Microsoft will have a strong product in Windows Phone 7. Windows Phone 7 has the ability to compete with the competition and the hardware that rivals the best phones on the market; however I cannot help but feel that Microsoft waited just a little too long again, the same way that they waited too long with the Zune. Only time will tell if Windows Phone 7 will be successful.