Can Windows Phone 7 save Microsoft's mobile bacon?

Microsoft is turning up the volume on its upcoming phone, Windows Phone 7

Windows Phone 7 is inching closer to market. Microsoft has sent the operating system for its brand of mobile phones to the labs of carriers for testing, as well as to developers of applications for the phones, which are expected to reach the market in time for holiday shoppers.

According to one report, the so-called "technical preview" version of WinPho 7 is pretty much what Microsoft promised earlier this year at the Mobile World Conference in January and its own MIX Conference in March.

(See Related: Windows Phone 7: An In-depth Look at the Features and Interface )

After its attempt to create a unified experience for its mobile users, a la Apple, with its own hardware ended in disaster, Microsoft has decided with this version of its mobile operating system to achieve that goal by getting tough with hardware and software makers, making them conform to a basic set of standards for the new WinPho ecosystem. Applications, for example, must be sold through the Microsoft Marketplace, just as iPhone apps are sold only through the iTunes store.

There are hardware requirements, too. Phones must have a minimum of 256MB of RAM, 4GB of flash memory storage, WiFi (b/g) support, capacitive touchscreens and GPS, accelerometer, compass, proximity and light sensors. All the phones will have the same buttons in the same places, including a Bing button for encouraging anyone buying the phone to use Microsoft's search engine to find things.

In attempting to emulate Apple and Research in Motion by encapsulating its new ecosystem in a silo, Microsoft apparently hopes to emulate the success of those other vendors in the mobile market. That could be shortsighted. Some analysts believe the reason phones based on Google's Android operating system have surpassed the iPhone is because that ecosystem is open. They argue that semi-closed systems like Apple's will have to open up to stay competitive. If that's the case, the WinPho paradigm may be a step behind the market before it's even out the door.

In addition, no matter how spiffy Windows Phone 7 mobiles turn out to be, Microsoft has some serious challenges facing it in this market. First, it has to overcome its reputation as a bumbler, based on past failures and poorly performing products. Second, it's facing two very formidable market leaders who know how (at least until the latest antenna fiasco with the iPhone 4) to get things right the first time. Microsoft has a reputation of requiring numerous iterations of a product before getting it right. And third, there's an 800-pound gorilla named Hewlett-Packard in the wings that, with its newly acquired Palm platform, could be a wild card in divvying up market share.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftAppleoperating systemswindows phone 7softwareWindowsPhonesconsumer electronicsWindows Phone 7 SeriesHandhelds

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John P. Mello Jr.

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

PC World Evaluation Team Review - MSI GT75 TITAN

"I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it."

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?