A lot of hype attended the launch of the Windows Phone 7 when it did last year, but the Windows name attached to a smartphone continues to turn off markets that have gotten used to the iPhone, Blackberry and Android handsets. There’s just nothing new or better that the market sees on it over these three smartphone platforms.
But gleaning from recent glowing reports about the latest Mango iteration of the OS, it still has a long way to go before it can be in striking distance of any of the three popular Operating Systems. While it promises to do a lot, it still falls short of what can give the competition something to worry about.
Overall, there’s many to like in the Mango upgrade. Among them, there’s the improved People hub where you can now set up groups, and Email now enhanced with a conversation view. There’s now a closer semblance of multitasking starting with simple application switching, but should improve further with more apps taking advantage of its superior multitasking prowess. It also has a new Bing Vision which gives information about products when you scan their bar codes, a good copy of a popular Googles app. Even the user interface gets less cluttered, incorporating voice control, a better IE9 and a host of other improvements to make WP7 significantly better than the launch OS.
Unfortunately, being competitive is not enough, not when Windows smartphones are so far behind either Android or iPhone in the markets it wants to compete in. For a start, its biggest shortfall is the lack of apps that are known to sell smartphones. Cost is another. Everyone knows that the hardware to run WP7 can’t be less than 1GHz machines which now occupy the upscale price points. Adding insult to injury is that salespeople aren’t well-informed enough to push it. Ask about iPhone or an Android and they’re more than happy to give you a sales pitch. But hardly WP7 phones.
So what can we expect when Mango hits the markets this fall? It will be competitive alright, but when you’re so far behind, with no outstanding feature or killer app that only comes with it, WP7 phones will just continue to lag behind.