Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Too late for Windows Phone 7

Things change. Some things change fast. Computer industry changes faster and mobile phone trends change at light-speed or beyond.
Just a few months ago I was excited to learn about the the upcoming Windows Phone 7. The demo's are awesome and it really looks like Microsoft is serious about building a real phone OS. They actually gave up on backwards compatibility with the Windows Mobile OS (codename Dinosaur..) and chose a combination of the Silverlight and XNA. Technologies that are both targeted at rich content and game development. And they are giving the development tools away for free. Anyone can start building apps using the free Visual Studio Express . All very exciting.


The first Phone 7 devices will not hit the market before September 2010..
And that is much too late. Googles Android has just hit release 2.2, making it an almost mature phone OS, and they will probably have release 3 by the time the first Windows phones are released. Development tools for Android are also for free, and maybe not as slick as Visual studio, Eclipse with the Android SDK comes pretty near. And it definitely beats the almost arcane development experience for the iPhone. But what is most important: the phones are already there. Some of the coolest phones of this moment (like the HTC Legend or Samsung Galaxy) run Android, and it is rumoured that the sales of Android based phones has just recently surpassed those of the iPhone. Which again makes clear how fast things are moving in mobile land. With the iPhone, Blackberry and Android firmly established when Windows Phone 7 arrives I give Microsoft very little chance of succeeding.

 And did I mention thinks change fast ? I just found that Paul Graham (who is supposed to know) mentioned in his essay of November last year:

The only credible contender [to the iPhone]  is Android. But Android is an orphan; Google doesn't really care about it, not the way Apple cares about the iPhone.

I don't think that is true anymore...