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Last month, I argued that Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) ought to kill Windows Mobile. Readers disagreed, and they were right. Windows Phone 7, unveiled yesterday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, is as admirable an effort as its desktop cousin.
"Windows Phone 7 snuck up on the world today, but having played with it, I'll tell you Microsoft is putting all its muscle behind this. No matter who you root for, to be anything short of impressed is stupid," wrote blogger Wilson Rothman at Gizmodo yesterday.
He's right. Looking at the video demo of the phone's features at Gizmodo, it's plain to see that Microsoft hasn't left the hard work of recreating Windows Mobile to a weak-kneed developer contest, as it once did. Among the better ideas found in WinPho 7:
- One-click Bing. In order to better establish Bing as a mobile alternative to Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG ) search engine, WinPho 7 is built for one-click access on compatible handsets.
- Hubs. Microsoft says that its newest mobile OS organizes content, apps, and services into single views to "simplify common tasks." WinPho 7 has six hubs, including one for contacts and friends, another for business and productivity, and another for games.
I'm most impressed by how WinPho 7 uses a simple swiping motion from a hub to drill down to more specific views. Each screen delivers more data than the last, with everything organized in context.
More broadly, I'm glad to see CEO Steve Ballmer and his team refuse to concede the mobile market. Ballmer's Microsoft is supposed to be aggressive and pugnacious. That's what we like it about it, or like to hate about it.
And let's be honest: Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iPhone may be the apps leader, and Android may be flowing as Palm (Nasdaq: PALM ) and Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM ) ebb, but we're still in the first campaign of what's sure to be a very long smartphone war. With WinPho 7, Microsoft has built an important weapon for itself.
But that's my take. Now it's your turn to weigh in. Would you consider buying a new Windows Phone? Or does Microsoft need to move on? Please vote in the poll below. You can also make your voice heard by leaving a comment.