Windows Phone 7 Now Has Visual Basic, Does It Matter?

Microsoft is betting that its new Windows Phone 7 operating system for smartphones will help the company become a player again in a market that has mostly passed it by. Its newest tool to recruit interest in its WP7 smartphone operating system? Visual Basic. Yeah, this one of the first smartphone operating systems to officially support more than one programming language. With the popularity of Visual Basic and Microsoft Windows in general, we might see a huge surge in companies jumping onboard simply because of compatibility with existing software and infrastructure.

The only problems with WP7 right now? Besides the Wi-Fi and supply problems with Dell’s Venue Pro and the ‘Antennagate’ like problems with HTC’s HD7, the overall sales numbers of smartphones running WP7 are somewhat of a mystery. A mystery that points to an embarrassing figure for Microsoft I might add.

Besides the questionable number of 40,000 WP7 smartphones sold on the first day, nothing else has been reported on sales figures. The minimum number of WP7 smartphones out in the hands of users however is at least 135k. That’s the number of WP7 devices using Facebook right now using the integrated Facebook application. I’d assume that most people who are early enough adopters to jump on WP7 would Facebook, so the number of WP7 device owners is probably not much higher than that. Even if the real number of WP7 owners is twice or three times the number that activated the integrated Facebook app, that’s still way way below the 30 million WP7 users Microsoft wants by the end of 2011.

Sure, the holiday season is upon us right now but even RIM’s faltering BlackBerry smartphone line has more credibility than Microsoft’s efforts at the moment. The BlackBerry might be stuck with older hardware and a slower internet browsing experience (not to mention no Flash support until the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet debuts in early 2011) but it’s still far more popular than Microsoft’s Windows Mobile and WP7 combined. Microsoft has a huge uphill climb to achieve anywhere near relevance in the mobile market, which is the exact opposite of what it has enjoyed in the PC world.

Think the addition of Visual Basic to Microsoft’s WP7 arsenal matter? Sure the programming language is popular but are there simply enough WP7 devices in circulation to make the platform cost-effective when Android and iOS have so many device in the hands of users? Let me know what you think.

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