We now have a confirmed launch date for Windows Phone 7 - October 11.
OK, so what's your plan?
We've known that this new platform has been coming for a while, but now that it's less than two weeks away there must be people weighing up their options. Will they be jumping onto the platform as soon as possible, or playing the wait-and-see game?
Today I've come across a lot of people asking questions about Windows Phone 7. For example:
- Will the new platform tank like Kin did?
- Can it compete against Apple/Android?
- Is Microsoft too late coming into the game?
- Can Microsoft woo developers to the platform?
None of these questions (or any answers given to them) matter. In fact, with this new platform only one thing really matters - Can Microsoft keep the current Windows Phone platform relevant long enough for people to take it seriously?
What do I mean here? Well, take Apple as an example. Apple managed to keep the iPhone/iOS platform going long enough, and offered enough hardware consistency, to get plenty of developers on board and given users confidence in the platform. Sure, older devices are no longer supported, but it's fair to say that the early iPhone and iPod touch devices have had a darn good run, and enjoyed plenty of software updates.
But can Microsoft do the same? Will OS updates be readily available to all Windows Phone 7 users, allowing everyone to be on the same page, or will OEMs each want to "fiddle" with the code and add its own branding (and crapware). I hope that updates to the OS will be going straight from Microsoft to the end users.
Then what about major OS updates and future products? Personally I'd like to see a situation where future products are compatible with the first-gen release for a few years. Again, the Apple model is a good one for Microsoft to follow. If we end up with a WP8 in a couple of years and that means having to buy brand new apps then Microsoft will have failed to create a platform and we're back to the messy days of Windows Mobile.
So, who'd going to be buying a Windows Phone 7 handset as soon as possible?