Windows Mobile 7, Microsoft's Attempt to Leapfrog iPhone 4 -- The Competition

zune phone

Rumors about Windows Mobile 7, or Seven as our sibling site WMExperts is calling it, are near-iTablet level over on that side of the smartphone space. If you read my Windows Phone (based on 6.5) review, you know I had only questions and no answers for Microsoft when it came to what they could do to become competitive in the increasingly important consumer space.

Well, Mal over at WMExperts has put together a ton of whispers, mixed it with keen insights, and unleashed a Windows Mobile 7: What we expect and what we are hearing article of epic proportions. Here are some highlights, but you need to go read the whole thing:

  • Two versions, stripped-down Business and pimped-out Media.
  • Business Edition will be more like current WM, skin-able by HTC Sense UI and the like, and is more complete right now.
  • Media Edition (yes, ME is back, baby!) will be the closest thing possible to a ZunePhone without being a ZunePhone, with maximum Microsoft Experience, but it's not yet as far along.
  • Office 2010 super-integration
  • Silverlight (Microsoft's inversion of Flash), Mediaroom (Microsoft's TV center), Xbox Live (possibly gaming!), Facebook and Twitter, and Zune Music integration.
  • New "Orion" platform to do GPS faster and better.
  • 720p (!!) 1280-720 resolution screen on LG "Apollo" handset.
  • Dieter and Phil should get the first glimpses for us at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona next month.

Again, go read the full article and then hurry back an let us know if you think this is finally Microsoft getting Xbox 360 and ZuneHD serious with Windows Mobile/Windows Phone, and if it's enough to make them competitive -- or more than competitive -- with the iPhone in 2010.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Windows Mobile 7, Microsoft's Attempt to Leapfrog iPhone 4 -- The Competition


I'm exceptionally skeptical at this point. Specs are nice. Smooth connectivity (like iTunes, App Store, etc) even better. Excellent functionality even more important.
If you separate out what of this is hardware (read- what HTC has done) and what part if Microsoft, the only thing that really beats iPhone 3OS is possible fake Flash via Silverlight. Other than that, I think my iPhone already does all this and more (again, from a software perspective).

Count me skeptical on the 'Apollo' specs. However, a 'Zune Phone', if that's what this 'Media Edition' actually resembles, would definitely be a serious competitor to iPhone much as Zune HD is a worthy competitor to the Touch.

MS has a shot if they really integrate MW and the Zune OS. Many, many people own an XBox 360, subscribe to XBox Live, and access audio and video content from MS's digital distribution service. It's precisely the area in which Apple did not succeed with Apple TV, leaving a gap that MS has been able to exploit, gradually.
As a former WM and Pocket PC user, I can say that WM always had several good points about it. It was merely underdeveloped and stagnant for a long time. Most notably, there is a large collection of mature, high quality 3rd party software for WM, over which there has been no central control as there is now with the App Store and the Android Marketplace. The ability to install 3rd party apps without an app store could be a major plus, if that's how the WM7 works. We'll see if they lock it down or not.

Until I see one well-implemented Media Edition device, I'm just finding it hard to believe MS can smoothly (read "fast, reliable") integrate this list of technologies. Their ideas have never been bad, but their execution has been slow or sloppy or both for more than a decade. As for leapfrogging Apple - they should just try to get good stuff to market quickly in order to catch up in this space.

I would love to see a good looking device run Windows Mobile 7. I do not have a phone yet but I know I want either an iPhone or a Windows Phone. Mostly Windows because Microsoft rocks.

Dennis, agree. PocketPC was a remarkable platform in its early years but fell behind the times. Its handwriting recognition is still one of the best I've used. My biggest concern at this point is SilverLight, and the notion that proprietary standards by any one market leader are in consumers' best interests. As aggravating as the iPhone / Flash standoff is, I can understand Apple's position on this.

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