Windows 7 Phone Challenges iPhone, Blackberry And Android
Microsoft, which has until now trotted along as the black horse in the otherwise fast smart-phone race, will be releasing its Windows 7 Phone Series officially on October 11.
This new series represents an attempt by Microsoft to make up for its last few models of failed attempts at competing in the smart-phone market.
Microsoft seems to be sure of itself, as pictures have arisen of a mock-funeral for the iPhone and Blackberry held at Microsoft’s headquarters held on the day that Microsoft engineers finished the coding for the new device line.
Several features of the new line bring an interesting light to an increasingly-standard smart-phone tradition.
For instance, you won’t see a 4x4 grid of applications on the home-screen of your brand new Windows 7 Phone. Instead, Windows 7 Mobile uses large, simple, 2-dimensional blocks that provide relevant information, such as the number of new text-messages and e-mails in your inboxes, in large, impossible-to-miss lettering.
These big tiles also happen to be “live,” which update as new information becomes available.
Want to know what’s going on with a special someone? You can place a brick linked to that person, always showing you your favorite picture of them, and updating you instantly if a change is made to their social-networking page.
Another challenge to the smart-phone stipend: Windows 7 phones scroll downwards, not sideways. This endless, downward-expanding home-screen is also completely customizable, down to even the bare-features.
It is in the subtleties that Windows 7 seems to inch ahead on the competition. Touch-screen responsiveness is the best seen on the market so far. The on-screen keyboard is also rated among the best in today’s available mobile gadgetry. The simplicity of the interface seems to be considered a strength, given that no matter what you are looking to do, it is simple and easy to figure out exactly where to go.
One feature that will have gamers perking their ears is the integration of a mobile version of Xbox Live--allowing users to see game stats, send friends a game challenge, get the latest gaming news and even play mobile games available through Xbox Live Mobile.
In a market dominated by the iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android platforms, Windows 7 will have to provide a truly revolutionary product to compete.
Six months into 2010, Windows only grabs 11 percent of new smart-phone buyers, compared to the 83 percent shared by the three dominant platforms.
What will either make or break the Windows 7 Phone platform is the availability of applications. Keep in mind: by the end of this year, users will have downloaded more applications from the iPhone App store than have downloaded music from iTunes, even though iTunes has been around for about 5 extra years.
This means that applications are a hot product, and Windows 7 needs to be able to compete with the Android Market and the iPhone App Store in order to have any chance.
It will be a tough battle for Microsoft to make a dent in Apple and BlackBerry’s massive market dominance. But with simplistic, intuitive, and powerful features, the Windows 7 Phone Series could eventually spell death for the iPhone: who knows, maybe that hearse that rode through the streets right outside Microsoft’s headquarters is a good indicator of what’s to come.
To reach reporter Devon Meyer, click here.
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