First generation Windows Phone 7s won't be on Verizon or Sprint

First generation Windows Phone 7s won't be on Verizon or Sprint

Summary: Verizon and Sprint won't be offering Windows Phone 7 CDMA models until 2011. That's not welcome news. What's worse, however, if News.com's paraphrase is on the money, is that Microsoft already is working on a "major rewrite" of the Windows Phone operating system.

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Word is out that the first Windows Phone 7 phones out this calendar year are going to be GSM models only (which means T-Mobile and AT&T will be the only carriers here in the U.S. out of the gate). GSM is what the majority of the worldwide carriers support. But that mean's Verizon and Sprint won't be offering Windows Phone 7 CDMA models until 2011.

That's not welcome news (at least for this Verizon customer)... What's worse, however, if News.com's paraphrase is on the money, is that Microsoft already is working on a "major rewrite" of the Windows Phone operating system. From Ina Fried's story from September 17:

"Microsoft has opted to delay until next year the CDMA version as it works to finish work on its major rewrite of its phone operating system."

What does this mean, exactly? Are we talking Windows Phone OS 8? Windows Phone 7.5? Will there be a firmware update coming for those consumers who do take the plunge and buy Windows Phone 7 phones in the next six months?

(I've asked Microsoft for clarification, but no word back so far.)

Update: Microsoft is saying the  "major rewrite" comment is nothing but a reference to the first Windows Phone 7 operating system release that just RTM'd a couple weeks ago and isn't meant to imply anything about a follow-on. I didn't read the September 16 story on News.com that way, but that is what they are saying...

Paul Thurrott, Windows expert and author of Windows Phone Secrets (Wiley, 2010), said I shouldn't read too much into the "major rewrite" comment. His guess is that any near-term rewrite might include multitasking support, among other new features.

"Microsoft has been very upfront about its need to continually update the Windows Phone OS to achieve functional parity with the competition and fill in the missing holes. The only thing major that needs to change in the OS, from what I can tell, is to add third party support for low-level features like multitasking, or perhaps sockets, or other non-managed code functionality," Thurrott said. "But the good news is that Microsoft has also been upfront about their desire to keep Windows Phone users up-to-date. So unless something awful has happened, any v1 Windows Phones will be upgradeable to whatever Microsoft comes out with next year."

We do know that the version of the Windows Phone 7 operating system which Microsoft released to manufacturing earlier this month is still running on the Windows Embedded Compact 6.0 R3 core -- not the Windows Embedded Compact 7 one. (Windows Embedded Compact 7 is due to RTM itself some time before the end of 2010.) Among the features in the Embedded Compact 7 release are support for "the latest" ARM processors, Flash 10.1 support, improved rich-media handling and more.

I'll give Microsoft a couple of kudo points for transparency. Unlike some other vendors, Microsoft's mobile team at least is admitting (when probed) that there's an operating system update coming. saying there will be updates coming to Windows Phone OS. But what's going to be part of these updates? If it is "just" the addition of CDMA support, then that's one thing. But we still don't know how and when Microsoft will be upgrading the OS to include the Embedded Compact 7 bits, multitasking, etc.

But the words "major rewrite" are definitely scaring me off from being among the first to try out a Windows Phone 7 Version 1.0 device. You?

I'll add more from Microsoft if/when I hear back about what "major rewrite" is meant to imply...

In related news, Microsoft officials said this week that the company has no plans to make another smartphone itself, after the failed Kin debut this year. Too bad no one asked whether Microsoft planned to make another portable media player itself....

Topics: Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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77 comments
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  • WP7 is a Major rewrite....

    But maybe the phrase ?Microsoft has opted to delay until next year the CDMA version as it works to finish work on its major rewrite of its phone operating system.? means that the rewrite (from mobile 6.x to phone 7) is not fully finished: no copy paste, no CDMA, etc, etc.
    kridek@...
    • RE: Microsoft already talking about a 'major rewrite' of its Windows Phone operating system?

      @kridek@... Totally agree. To me I think they were saying basically...."we delayed the CDMA version while we polished off WP7 which was a major rewrite of our phone OS".
      mobilepaddy
      • RE: Microsoft already talking about a 'major rewrite' of its Windows Phone operating system?

        @mobilepaddy I think this does sound certainly plausable with WP7 being 'the major upgrade' and the CDMA version will come once GSM is released and working in the field.

        WP7 is a major rewrite already and I don't think they would do it again as there would be a major backlash from the press and the public if that happened and it would probably cause a loss in confidence in Microsoft to deliver a mobile OS.

        An update to WinCE 7 would certainly be welcome but I don't think that Microsoft, who are resting their mobile future on WP7 would risk an upgrade to WinCE 7 without a decent bake-in and validation period.
        richardjgreen
      • Microsoft..

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        atrok
    • RE: Microsoft already talking about a 'major rewrite' of its Windows Phone operating system?

      @kridek@... agreed. I was going to say the same thing. WinPhone7 IS the major rewrite.

      I think the best person to ask BEFORE posting such a provocative blog post is Ina Fried, as those words are from the writer and not a quote from anyone at MS.
      ababiec@...
    • That is what I thought also

      @kridek@...

      MS seems to be jerked around by circumstances beyond its control. That is often what happens when you have not got a clue where you are going.
      Economister
      • Also, it means that early adopters will again be beta testers

        nt
        wackoae
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      @kridek@...

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    • RE: Microsoft already talking about a 'major rewrite' of its Windows Phone operating system?

      @kridek@... Microsoft is probably abandoning development for Sync/Mesh on Windows Mobile 6.x. From what we've already seen of Windows Phone 7, it has built-in support for Skydrive (similar to Sharepoint), so I don't really see the lack of mobile sync in Essentials 2011 as a big deal.<br><br>As you already know, Microsoft is abandoning Windows Mobile Device Center in Windows Phone 7, so it wouldn't make sense to make a mobile client on the desktop. <a href="http://www.arabaoyunlarimiz.gen.tr/beceri-oyunlari/dunyanin-en-zor.html">dunyanin en zor oyunu</a>
      Arabalar
  • RE: Microsoft already talking about a 'major rewrite' of its Windows Phone

    @Loverock Davidson Hahahaha major rewrite to a major FAIL. Not even released yet and as usual MS is talking upgrade.

    How predictably pathetic, just like you Lovey.
    cyberslammer
    • RE: Microsoft already talking about a 'major rewrite' of its Windows Phone operating system?

      @cyberslammer
      Hey the cry baby is back!
      WAaaah! Waaaah! waaaaah!
      Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Microsoft already talking about a 'major rewrite' of its Windows Phone operating system?

      @Loverock Davidson again, I challenge you. Post your IT qualifications...you can't and you NEVER will. You know NOTHING of IT...do you even have a degree in IT? Even have a certification?
      cyberslammer
    • Oh please... And no one else talks about updates coming down the road?

      @cyberslammer
      Pull your head out dude. Apple and Google both do it. You need to lay off whatever is impairing your short term memory. Seems if I recall correctly, Apple was talking update right out of the gate after their 4.0 iOS release... Something to fix those nasty little bugs with the proximity sensor and bluetooth issues.
      Wolfie2K3
    • ****NOTICE****

      @cyberslammer

      Cyberslammer also goes by the name "Ron Burgundy", and possibly even "Banned from ZDnet".
      trickytom3
  • RE: Microsoft already talking about a 'major rewrite' of its Windows Phone operating system?

    @Loverock Davidson and as usual, anything anyone posts to Loverock is flagged as spam and removed, but ZDNet doesn't remove his posts. It's clear to see Loverock is a paid ZDNet shill.
    cyberslammer
    • RE: Microsoft already talking about a 'major rewrite' of its Windows Phone operating system?

      @cyberslammer & @LoveRock

      The two of you should get a room. It's obvious you have a love/hate relationship with each other. Get a room and get it overwith, for all our sakes. Please.
      PollyProteus
    • RE: Microsoft already talking about a 'major rewrite' of its Windows Phone operating system?

      @Pollyproteus No, I'd much rather just curb stomp him ala American History X and put him out of his pathetic misery.
      cyberslammer
    • @cyberslammer: Loverock is the one curb stomping you right now

      You should get a WP7 and then you can practice curb stomping on Gears of War!

      PS Gears of War is an XBox exclusive so there is no "App For That" in Apple's application store. :) :) :)
      NonZealot
    • So you're using "Cyberslammer" today?

      @cyberslammer

      Good choice...it seems like a "Cyberslammer" kind of day.
      trickytom3
  • RE: Microsoft already talking about a 'major rewrite' of its Windows Phone operating system?

    @Loverock Davidson Oh dear. Mind getting over your fanboyism?
    tehpea