Wait a sec...it's late, isn't this a bad thing? Well, yes, on the surface, but we're trying to be optimistic here.
There's no denying that Windows Phone 7 Series is late, or, I should say that Microsoft's next generation phone platform (previously Photon) was delayed over and over again. It should have been released many years ago. But in the last few years, Microsoft has had the advantage of watching the industry evolve. They've seen iPhone user's discontent grow with the app-to-app-to-app experience of the phone. They've seen BlackBerry users wish they had a better multimedia experience. They've seen how the limited carrier availability and number of hardware choices for WebOS is becoming a problem. Microsoft has had a lot of time...several years to be exact...to spot all of these weaknesses, and come up with a new product that addressed them all. Windows Phone 7 Series WILL NOT have an app-to-app-to-app focus. Windows Phone 7 Series WILL NOT have a poor multimedia experience. Windows Phone 7 Series WILL NOT be limited in availability on the carriers and will come in a huge variety of form factors. WP7 being late is an advantage that no other platform has today.
Ever hear the song Paradigm Shift by Liquid Tension Experiment? If not, I reccomend that you do. Very good song. But I digress.
Windows Phone 7 Series changes the way we think about a phone. No longer is it about an application-centric focus as found on the iPhone, WebOS, and even Android to some degree, but it's about having a data-centric, or task-centric focused. The Hubs of Windows Phone 7 series attempt to arrange various "experiences" (a word Microsoft LOVES to use) into various piles. You've got an experience for looking at your people WITH social networking, an experience for consuming multimedia WITH all forms of media, an experience for being productive WITH a one-stop location to see all of your notes, documents, etc, and so on. On the iPhone and the other aforementioned platforms, you have an app for people (then an app for social networking), multiple apps for consuming media, and multiple apps for being productive.
It's easy to see that this experience-centric approach (or whatever you want to call it) makes a whole lot of sense. Using a mobile phone shouldn't be like using a desktop computer where you're always jumping in and out of apps.
People like new. Sure, some are scared by new, but for the technology space in general, when something is new, it's exciting. People are going to take notice to Windows Phone 7 Series. People that have written off Microsoft as a player in the smartphone world have decidedly started to see and learn as much as possible about the new platform. In tech, people talk much more about what is new and coming than what we have now or had in the past. This is fortuante for Microsoft because for so long, Windows Mobile lacked of newness.
It's Not iPhone
Have you noticed a bit of anti-iPhoneism lately? I have too. People are bored of the iPhone. No longer is every new smartphone being compared to Apple's smartphone device because it's no longer considered "the" cutting-edge. Sure, it's very likely that by the time Windows Phone 7 Series is released, Apple will have already released the next-generation iPhone hardware and software, but for now, people want there to be something new and exciting. Microsoft is bringing it to them.
It'll Leverage Xbox and Zune
Duh! Microsoft is finally leveraging the huge success they've had with the Xbox and Zune brands. This immediately will drive adoption as hardcore gamers will say "Wow, I can get Xbox on a phone? Amazing!" and media enthusiasts will say "You mean my phone is ALSO a Zune HD? Holy cow!"
It'll Bring Great Hardware
Is it hardware or software that sells phones? Probably both. Windows Mobile has had some killer hardware in 2009 thanks to Samsung, HTC, and LG. Microsoft has formed partnerships with a lot of really great companies that want to make Windows Phone 7 Series devices. The full list includes HTC, Garmin-Asus, Toshiba, Dell (really? Dell's making a WP7 phone?), LG and Samsung. This means that come holiday 2010, there will be a bevy of hot hardware on store shelves from top-class OEMs.
Personally, I'm hoping we get an HD2 Pro running Windows Phone 7 Series =D.
It'll have the best Exchange Experience
For most, Microsoft Exchange integration may not matter. But for people that use Hosted Exchange (like me) or for business users on a corporate-issued devices, this is very important. Microsoft devices will always have the best Exchange experience, because they make the technology. The ActiveSync protocol (which allows the Exchange sync to happen) has been licensed to Google/HTC for Android and Apple for the iPhone (among others). I've used both a variety of implementations of Exchange, and I can tell you that it's not good on these other platforms. Sure, my calendar/contacts/email sync just fine, but I'm not able to sync SMS, search the server, look up an email in the corporate directory, and a lot more. Windows Mobile does Exchange the best, and Windows Phone will continue this legacy.
Microsoft is one of the richest companies on the planet. It has the largest market capitalization of any tech company at around $250 billion. They've got the staying power to continue to be invested in this space for many years, even if they're hemorrhaging money. They've done this with Xbox and Zune, and they can do it with Windows Phone. Microsoft is willing to stay in the red because they know that there are billions of dollars for the taking in the smartphone industry. Just a tiny fraction of handsets sold globally are smartphones. Apple, Google, Nokia, Palm, and BlackBerry all want to be the smartphone choice of the millions (or perhaps billions) of people that will, over the next few years, make the switch to a smart device.
Microsoft will spend big on marketing, acquisitions, research and development, and engineering talent to do whatever it takes to make Windows Phone 7 Series a big player in the mobile space. They can't afford to miss out, and they won't.
We reached out to our Twitter followers to found out why they think Windows Phone 7 Series will be a success. Here are some quotes:
@FollowLivven: The design is really unique and innovating, nothing like any other UI we've seen so far.
@webis_mobile: I think it will be a success because its unique in a good way.
@Arktronic: MS finally realized that tightening HW specs is better for both users (consistency) and devs (easier development+testing).
@kyaaaaaa: It's built from scratch and combines some powerfull features from Windows Mobile with the simplified iPhone experience.
@DavidMagnus: WP7S will be a succes because now they're now more consumer oriented...I'd say if you can beat them, join them.