Windows Phone 7 Gets Reviewed—Microsoft Has a Chance but Initial Flaws Might Damage WP7 Brand

Windows Phone 7 is a dramatic change from the past for Microsoft. The only problem is, is it enough? Sure, the new operating system combines what Microsoft learned from the Zune and Kin with its experience from past versions of Windows Mobile and Windows, but besides that, it has little in common with what the company has produced in the past. What Windows Phone 7 (WP7) wants to be is the Xbox of the smartphone scene, but bringing that experience to your pocket is a challenge even for Microsoft.

Just to be clear, I am very familiar with Microsoft’s Xbox and Xbox 360 platforms. In fact, I would go as far as to say that Microsoft makes my preferred gaming console. However, when it comes to smartphones, I remain skeptical.

Ignoring the actual hardware running WP7, the new platform has gotten a hands on from a variety of reviewers so far. The result? WP7 isn’t bad, but it isn’t great either. Features like copy and paste have not made it into the first release. (Really, how does a company that has made the most popular operating system in history—Microsoft Windows—release a mobile OS without copy and paste!?) Sure, copy and paste will come out in a January update similar to a service pack that also brings turn-by-turn navigation software, but would you bother to put down cash on a smartphone that won’t be able to copy and paste for another two or three months?

Besides just the copy and paste woes of WP7, reviewers like Walter Mossberg from the Wall Street Journal are saying the new OS is simply “not fully baked yet.” Even the Xbox Live functions are having some trouble. To do anything with your Xbox Live avatar, you need Microsoft Silverlight (Microsoft’s answer to Adobe’s Flash if you haven’t encountered it yet) and a 1.6 GHz processor. Only problem is, no WP7 smartphone announced or even known to be in production has the technical specs to run it. You need a desktop computer to change your Xbox Live avatar and information. Summary? Even Xbox Live—the most anticipated feature in WP7—is still not ready to go mobile.

Yes, WP7 will be a player in the mobile market, but Microsoft still has a lot of work to do. What do you think? Going to snag a WP7 smartphone now or wait until at least the first update comes out? Microsoft expects about 1,000 apps on launch but you already know that iOS and Android have more than 350,000 apps combined. I have big expectations for WP7 and Microsoft but feel like the smartphone OS was rushed by a few months.

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