Many people have wondered what has taken Microsoft so long to update its lackluster Windows Mobile platform. It finally did it! At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Microsoft introduced the Windows Phone 7 Series, its latest operating system for phones. The Software giant’s Windows Mobile has been getting the short end of the stick and stood no chance to compete with the likes of iPhones, Blackberries and Android devices. It was also embarrassingly ignored by apps developers who spearheaded the success of Apple’s devices and now are bestowing their undivided attention on Android. Microsoft’s mobile system appeared in 13.1 percent of smart phones sold in the U.S. last year, according to research firm In-Stat making it No. 3 after Research in Motion’s BlackBerry and the iPhone. But Microsoft has been fast losing its relevance in the handset market with the unbeatable momentum of Google’s Android phones fast edging it out.
Seems like Microsoft has done its homework this time and has focused its efforts to make a more meaningful phone entry this time. It has gone out of its way to bring in more popular user concepts like social media site integration, video/picture sharing and updating, gaming and music. More thought also seems to have been given at last to what consumers of competitor phones take for granted nowadays like Maps, GPS tracking, Mobile Apps, business software access etc. The new operating system will integrate all of Microsoft’s possessions such as Xbox LIVE games, Zune music and video experience on one mobile phone. Bing will of course power the search and maps leaving the door open for potential mobile ads expansion. In short it has taken a page out of Apple and combined its media player, phone and desktop in one.
Instead of doing a Google and making its own handset, Microsoft is insisting on staying close to its roots as a software maker and having external manufacturers do the hand labor. Partners have already started incorporating the OS in new phones with Microsoft dictating specific CPU requirements like CPU speed, screen and memory requirements. The first devices are expected to hit the stores 2010 Holiday season.
How effectively the Redmond giant’s phone software will succeed as one of the final entrants to the Smartphone party remains to be seen especially since as impressive as the phone is, it does not really seem to be bringing anything new to the table except for the Windows phone branding. And what exactly is the Microsoft branding worth in the mobile world?