With Windows Phone 7 officially launching on October 11th and with Microsoft‘s head expanding by the second, we thought we’d take a look at whether the new operating system can really compete in the smartphone market.
Well, it seems Microsoft are certainly sure of Windows Phone 7’s upcoming success. Their latest Lawrence of Arabia themed advertisement stated that WP7 will “bring a revolution”, and they recently held an extremely bad-taste mock funeral to ‘bury’ Apple and Blackberry, after labeling WP7 as the “iPhone Killer”. Quietly confident then, Microsoft?
Firstly, we must not forget that Windows Phone 7 is an update on Microsoft’s current Windows Mobile OS and that they’ve simply changed the name. It is widely acknowledged that Windows Mobile isn’t the best operating system on the market, and it doesn’t come close to competing with the likes of Android and iOS and Blackberry. One review site takes a critical look at Microsoft’s latest WinMo 6.5, and concludes by saying “If this is the best it can muster in the year-and-a-half’s worth of development time since Windows Mobile 6.1 appeared, we’ll be dramatically lowering our hopes for Windows Mobile 7”. It seems the name change may have been due to embarrassment, although Microsoft definitely to dissociate themselves from Windows Mobile, and need to wipe such comparisons from the minds of consumers.
Now, Windows Mobile OS may be a bit rubbish, but surely improvements will be made with the introduction of Windows Phone 7?
Microsoft will bring a new user-friendly interface, providing a customizable homescreen with large tiles and shortcuts to all of your favourite applications and web pages. Microsoft boast of their new social tool (People Hub), which gather all your friends from social networking websites and and brings them together onto your homescreen, so you can see new Twitter posts and Facebook photo uploads instantly. Office Hub meanwhile allows easy access to all the standard Microsoft Office documents and applications. WP7 will also enable you to sync your documents between your phone and your PC. One of its coolest features though is that it will come complete with Xbox LIVE, allowing you to challenge your friends to popular games, just like you would on your Xbox.
Despite their exclusive X-Box Live gaming, it doesn’t seem like Windows Phone 7 is providing us with anything revolutionary like they are promising, or really even that different. With no HTML 5 or multitasking support, they are already losing out to iOS and Android, and that bulky interface won’t do them any favours, either. Apple were heavily criticized for not supporting copy and paste before it was introduced last year, so there’s no way Microsoft are going to get away with that one, either. On the WP7 homepage, Microsoft seem very proud of WP7’s People Hub feature, although this is something which is available on both the iPhone and through Android’s friend feed – so they are not creating anything new. Other features include a music player, GPS and document viewing, all which have been around way since the announcement of WP7 was made.
Another thing that may shatter Microsoft’s confidence is some interesting figures which were recently released by Gartner, which seem to show that Windows Phone 7 may not “bring the revolution” that they were expecting. The figures state that Microsoft will only manage to offload 21,309 Windows Phone 7-based devices by 2011, which will increase to only 34,490 sales in 2014. This can be compared to 259,306 devices offloaded from Android in 2014, who look set to reign as the second most popular OS by 2014, just behind Symbian.
If correct, these figures would put Windows Phone 7 in sixth place, behind Symbian, Android, RIM, Apple iOS and Meego, despite Microsoft’s burial parade which saw two of these operating systems deceased. However, we must remember that Gartner’s projections may not be correct, but they are likely to show some accuracy.
Of course, I don’t think Windows Phone 7 isn’t going to be an outright failure. However, I certainly don’t think Microsoft will be wiping the floor with Apple and Blackberry as they expect to do, as they first need to prove to people that Windows Phone 7 can do the job as good, if not better than its competitors. Looking at what it has got on offer so far, I think it’s going to struggle.
Microsoft need to make people want a Windows Phone 7 device, not wind people up with over-cocky celebrations and advertising campaigns, that inevitably, are going to put some people off. They also need to encourage developers to create apps for their new platform, but I certainly can’t see the appeal…
I’m an iPhone user, and was excited to see what new developments Microsoft were going to bring to the table. However, they have created nothing revolutionary which would make me consider switching my phone, although I somehow hoped they would do.
Do you think Windows Phone 7 will be a success? Vote on the poll below!