For the record, I’m not saying that WP7 will overtake iOS or Android in the immediate or not so immediate future but simply that it definitely has the potential to be one of the big operating systems, given time. Their recent tie up with Nokia only cements this theory even if Nokia does seem to be in a serious flux right now, what with them laying-off about 7000 of their employees and all. The restructuring of the company to this extent creates a rather disturbing view of the kind of dire straits the company seems to be in.
Perhaps Nokia had no real choice in the matter but irrespective of how badly the brand might be taking a beating, there’s no denying the kind of clout their devices, at least the hardware, carry with the mobile community. It’s just that we’ve evolved considerably since Symbian and we’ve simply moved on to bigger and better things.
That being said, Microsoft doesn’t seem to be one having any issues. Their moving on strong as ever announcing new handsets and updates left right and sideways. We can all expect to see Windows Phone 7 updates that will be rolling out soon. Their upcoming update, dubbed Mango, will ensure that the WP7 IE9 browser will offer mobile users the fastest, desktop-like web experience there is. The OS will see updates for copy-pasting text etc. soon and more. I’ve always said that the OS is a work in progress and while I’m not really a happy camper saying it, my belief is, it will have come a long way by the fourth quarter of this year.
If only Zune integration was not so uptight
What also leads me to believe that this OS is on its way up is the number of Windows Mobile users that existed before who have been eagerly waiting for a serious overhaul of the system. It was, once upon a time, quite a serious operating system for many business class users as well as those looking for a suitable desktop like mobile experience. Let’s also not forget the increasing number of high end WP7 devices that are being launched periodically. It’s highly unlikely an OS that was “doomed” to fail would see handsets like the Dell Venue Pro, HTC HD7, or Samsung Omnia 7 making it out.
I’m not going to say that I’d choose WP7 over Android right now. There’s still quite a bit of work that needs to go into the platform. Although as is, its fluid interface could be easily ranked in the same league as Apple’s iOS where even Android is having a tough time keeping up.
In many ways Windows Phone 7 is quite akin to iOS – they both require specific software for media/data transfer and even internal memory seems to be the way they prefer it with no support from the outside. The handsets developed for the OS are quite stylish as well and while iOS offers a very (very) limited amount of UI customization, at least WP7 is designed to offer users a bit more. The level of sophistication that WP7 brings to the table far outshines Androids funky, youthful appearance. Don’t get me wrong, it does wonders for Google, but for anyone looking for a more refined operating system, they’d probably want one that looked simple, easy to use and elegant enough to be impressive. Let’s leave functionality at the door for this moment.
Display resolutions are only getting better and WP7 enabled devices are no strangers to the technology. Even Microsoft’s Xbox Live functionality for mobile gaming has been thrown into the mix to sweeten the deal. I’ll admit, the Windows Marketplace is relatively poor in terms of content but Microsoft seems to be hard at work convincing developers to start contributing to the platform. While the iPhone will always remain in its own little creative niche with cult following splattered all over it, Android will remain a handset for the masses who can’t afford to pay for a premium product, WP7 will make its name somewhere in between.
Don’t expect the OS to develop overnight. Even Android has come a long way since its initial stages. With what used to be the biggest brand in the mobile world, Microsoft has obviously got big plans for this OS and I intend to watch them very closely. Maybe not two months from now or even four for that matter, but before this year is out, I see the Windows Phone 7 platform evolving to an OS that would be hard to ignore, but Zune has got to go!