Windows Phone 7: Can it compete?

September 20th, 2010

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!

Will Windows Phone 7 be a success?

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  • Santhosh Sivajothi

    Hmmm….nnI dont know where to start. Reading through your entire article, i highly doubt you have even seen the OS in action or kept abreast of the latest information and opinion on the phone right now. nWindows Phone 7 is not "a mere rebadge of the Windows mobile OS" as you state. That line itself discredits your entire article and show that you do not know about Windows Mobile 6.5 or the new Win phone 7 OS. It is an entirely redesigned OS from the ground up and its user interface is really looking sharp. The goal is to provide a fluid user experience without having to jump in and out of apps for every single thing you do on a regular basis and it does it really well. nNext time you write an article please gather the right information about the product and not base your articles on hear say information. It will be really misleading for readers who do not have rior information about said topic.

  • Taulant

    Can Windows 7 compete? Are you really asking that? Unbelievable. rnrnIt amazes me how many fanbois are out there who love their iDrones so much and wish to hammer anyone who says anything that its not supporting the iCrap. rnrnYou clearly have no clue in what you're writing about do you? rnrnHere's some of the reasons as to why W7P will not only be able to compete but wipe the floor with Apple and Blackberry. rnrn1. Scale, style and apps are the key reasons. Not to mention Microsoft has one of the longest computing heritages and a suite of services that range from business to entertainment, browsing and searching.rnrn2. Tiles. – From the get go, this just looks better. The tile function of the screen replaces the icon displays seen on the iPhone and the Android with living breathing tiles. Just picking up the phone you can see what is going on in your world without opening any app.rnrnI know you can have push notifications on the iPhone and alerts on the Android but they both require some element of effort. The push notifications donu2019t always hang around on your iPhone and most Android phones require to slide the thing down and then read through the various bits.rnrnThis delivery of information is just one example of how Microsoft are looking to fully innovate with this phone, not just deliver a version of what the market is used to.rnrn3. The Hub – strategy is core for Windows Phone 7 and it makes a lot of sense. So, I will have a music hub in the shape of the Zune app. But this app is not restricted to content I have uploaded to, or bought in Zune, but all the music content on my u2018phone. rnrnTake the hub strategy across to other content, like business documents and Office becomes the business hub. This strategy gives me the best of both worlds, I can use my preferred app or I can find it in the main hub. Smart.rnrn4. A Great App MarketplacernOne of the initial stumbling blocks for Android was the Market. Not only did it not have as many apps as ITunes, the actual interface was horrible (thatu2019s a technical term.) The new market interface is better but still hard to find stuff. rnrnWhat about billing? iTunes billing is great, if you have a credit card and an iTunes account. Android again, you need a card and a Google Checkout account. So Microsoft will launch with credit card payments, operator billing, and try before you buy. The operator billing alone should extend the potential reach of app users (anyone under 18 for starters) and offer another convenient way to buy appsrnrnrn5. Email. The WP7 will have full capability to support not just Exchange accounts but all other major email providers as well. So, you donu2019t need to have an Exchange account to be using this for email. However, if you do have exchange, this will be a boon.rnrnRemember, the iPhone has Exchange support but the Android does not offer Active Sync. The 7 will offer multiple exchange account sync which will also be good for business users. Let us not forget there are still a lot more people running Exchange emails than Gmail or Apple Mail. Blackberry, are you paying attention?rnrn6. Mesh. FinallyrnRemember Mesh? Microsoftu2019s plans to sync your life across channels and platforms? It seemed a little ahead of its time back then but with the 7, finally everything comes into place. Music, work, games, contacts all come of age in one place.rnrn7. Developers, Developers – Just think about how many Microsoft .NET developers there are out there that can build the best apps by the millions, many more than Apple. So before you shoot Windows 7 phone down, stop and think there are way more Windows users in this entire world, and most of them will have the Windows Phone 7, expecially when it works along side of their PC. At home and at work.rnrnrnAnd many more, which I cant be bothered to write, because fanbois will not understand. rnrnOhhh, one last thing Multitasking, Copy and Paste will most certainly come with Software updates, so that's not really a strong argument. Remember it took your precious Idrone 2 years to support Multitasking, limited multitasking that is.

  • Anonymous

    This article is awful. I'm not even going to bother writing an in depth reply to this crap, as I am sure others will. WP7 is the new modern OS. No longer are the days of icon grids and constant app jumping necessary. Aggregated functions are the future. Do some research and write a decent article next time. This just plain sucks and reaks of fanboyism.

  • Hmmm

    "Firstly, we must not forget that Windows Phone 7 is an update on Microsoftu2019s current Windows Mobile OS and that theyu2019ve simply changed the name."nnI don't think you have enough credibility to write an article about Windows Phone 7 considering you did not even know that WP7 was built from the ground up, not a re-brand.

  • Anonymous

    Oh and another thing. The "funeral" Microsoft had that you seemed so offended by, was just an on-campus celebration of the completion of WP7 1.0. It was a parade, the funeral was a small portion of the whole thing. Let the people who busted ass to get this done do whatever they want on their own campus.

  • Shiva_pb80

    i came here to find some technical reviews…but thisnn"…Firstly, we must not forget that Windows Phone 7 is an update on Microsoftu2019s current Windows Mobile OS and that theyu2019ve simply changed the name…"nnis where i realized that this author has not done his research. and i lost complete interest.nni am neither an iDrone and nor an Phone7Zombie…

  • Joriginaloak

    this writer has obviously swallowed the apple inferiority pill and hasn't woken up from his fantastical sleep….wake up sleeping beauty….apple is over priced and inferior software…and I for one am baying for the end of the most annoying mismarketted product of recent times. Its almost as bad as Dyson.

  • Anonymous

    This article is almost completely garbage. Please do more reach before you post an article. I love my iPhone too, but don't count WP7 out just yet. Once again, please do more research on the topic before posting an article.n

  • Learn how to write

    Over cocky advertisements put people off? Where the hell were you when Apple was taking a stab at every other company with their ads? Or when the Droid X ads attacked Apple?nBoth companies seem to be doing well.nAlso, Gartner doesn't explain how he came up with those numbers, but it seems like he's using past trends to estimate future ones. That's all right, however MS isn't re-releasing Windows Mobile 6.5, they're completely overhauling it. nnAnd after reading this : n"Firstly, we must not forget that Windows Phone 7 is an update on Microsoftu2019s current Windows Mobile OS and that theyu2019ve simply changed the name."nnit further solidifies you don't research before writing your articles, because if you are aware even the slightest bit, you'd know that this isn't an UPDATE. It's a completely new OS. Just because 7 sequentially follows 6 doesn't mean this builds on what 6 was.nnSo please, kid. Go back to 6th grade and learn how to write a proper paper where you actually research and cite your sources, because you really need to learn that. Unless iPhone has an app for that too.

  • Trafcon

    Oh my God !!! Windows 7 Phone will not have multi-tasking or cut and paste and a limited app. market. Come on people quit beating the dead horse. nnNo multi-tasking: Who gives a rip. True multi-tasking is why if I am lucky I can get a full day use on a charged battery. The crap running in the background not only slows the phone down, but it kills the battery life.nnNo cut and paste. I challenge any iPhone or android user to log how many times a day they really use this feature. I will love to see it added since there will be Office integration but I have not cut my wrists over this not being in the first release.nnLimited application Market: I do not need 100,000 POS apps. I challenge any of the android users to check out 6 or 8 apps in a roll to see how "professional" looking they are. There is a lot of "crapps" in the "apps". Also not spurting blood or porn. Not even going to give a response to this other than REALLY ????nnI had an iPhone for 2 years and switched to android for budget reasons. I like my android MyTouch but really am looking forward to the Windows 7 Phone.

  • Sparkycarlo1

    "Firstly, we must not forget that Windows Phone 7 is an update on Microsoftu2019s current Windows Mobile OS and that theyu2019ve simply changed the name."rnrnstopped reading after this line…my time is too precious to be wasted, clearly this authors is not.

  • Anonymous

    The hidden reason why I think that WP7 will be a success is the thing that microsoft is good at (and is rarely talked about) The development tools for third party software are outstanding. Visual studio is the something power behind the throne for the windows platform, something which I think microsoft has done a good job of making true for windows phone as well.nnMy guess, and it really is just a guess, is that third party developers will prefer making apps for WP7 and thus it will be successful.

  • Richard

    "Gartner doesn't explain how he came up with those numbers, but it seems like he's using past trends to estimate future ones"nnThis is the interesting point to me. Gartner is of course not a "he", it's a huge and credible research company with over 1200 researchers on their 4300 strong staff. As for finding out their reasons, maybe that's in the document you can buy here for a mere $9995 (for 3 pages – so how much information can there be).nnNow Windows Phone 7 may not be just an upgrade from Windows Mobile, but it is a mobile phone operating system to replace their old mobile phone operating system; Windows Mobile is going, Windows Phone is replacing it. Perhaps it's the Windows 95 to their Windows 3.1, a hugely different system that could blow the competition out of the water. But let's please focus on the features, usability or development capacity that makes you think so.

  • Sitharth

    If you can't write something without your Apple fanboyism, better don't write..

  • verona

    I though it would be good article to mention mobile market, but I end up with a feel that it totally waste me time to read this article. the writer doesn't have basic sense of what WP7 is. Don't include windows phone 7 in the title so that people won't see the worst article.

  • Services

    Lets face it, Microsoft just can't get out of their own way. The last good common product was XP which we all know was developed what, about 15 years ago and has had several service packs that were larger than the original O/S! nnWP7 will no doubt take the same failed path as their trashy Windows Mobile. ME, Windows 2000 and VISTA are all failures to add to the list! nnRecently I considered placing my company on WIndows 7 but I found out I'd have to wipe the XP drive and reinstall everything on each workstation. nnThanks Microsoft, you can keep WIn-Hoze 7 too. Hey, I have mid-range servers that are 20 years old and the O/S on that hardware can be seamlessly upgraded. nnMicrosoft is nothing more than an out of control, belligerent cash cow!