Too many phones; it's a problem developers and journalists both face - juggling multiple handsets for testing. Why does Windows Phone limit how many you can juggle and how quickly?
We're hoping to take a look at a Lumia 900 soon, so I'm going to have to count my handsets again. When I picked up a test Nokia Lumia 800 last time I filled in my Windows Live account details, set up a Nokia account - a nicely seamless process where you can't see the joins between the Microsoft and Nokia services at all - filled in Facebook and Office 365 and went to install my favourite apps. At this point, the Marketplace complained that I was already using that Live account with five Windows Phone devices.
The good news: it told me exactly how to deactivate old phones. The bad news: you have to do it from Zune on your PC, not from the phone (choose Settings > Account > Computers and Devices). The confusing news: you can't clean out all your old devices at once, even in Zune.
Limiting you to five devices at once (and for music, those can be any combination of PCs and phones as long as one is a PC) is sensible enough; if you could have content on dozens of phones using the same account, you could share it with friends instead of everyone paying for their own content. For most people, a limit of five isn't much of a restriction. But in the many months I've been trying out Windows Phone devices I've been through several of them, in the UK and the US. Instead of just removing one old handset I thought I'd be efficient. There's only two I still have access to, I thought; so if I get rid of all the old ones now, I can test another three devices before I have to do this again. Except you can only remove one phone every 30 days.
Most people will never care, but these restrictions irritate developers and the people who ought to be evangelising products like Windows Phone.
Why the limit? I asked Microsoft and I'm only slightly clearer on this after the official answer. It's because of the DRM content you get access to on Windows Phone, through the Zune music and video marketplace, and because of pay-for apps. Apparently the music labels and video companies aren't comfortable with the idea of you copying content onto an unlimited number of devices one after another, in case you're using that to pirate content.
If that doesn't make sense (it's a pretty time consuming and inefficient way of doing it), you're not alone; I don't really understand the point of it either, but it's not Microsoft's idea - it's a standard limitation that has to be enforced to get licences for commercial music. It's no surprise the record labels and movie studios haven't quite got the hang of letting you enjoy the content you've paid for on the new device you just bought.