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10
Mar
2011

Can Microsoft pull a "Windows" on Apple - yet again?

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Written by Vedran Dakic   

AndroidAfter switching phones last week - went from good old Nokia E90 Communicator that served me to absolute perfection for some five or so years - to HTC Desire HD. I also used Blackberry - both devices and the service itself (on BB devices and E90 as it's one of the last Symbian-based phones with BB client) - for six or seven years, as well. I gave it all up so I can have one decent phone that can do everything that I need - browse with Flash, have good UI, music capabilities, radio, apps and, on top of that - have a good camera. Desire HD checks all of those checkmarks and then some. So, having had a chance to play around with Android-based phones and, especially - HTC Desire - I think that it's an universally good move. Then I met a couple of local HTC representatives and got the HTC HD7 for a review (to follow up shortly) and - the plot thickens…

HTC HD7 is - for all intents and purposes - like a "bit stripped down" Desire HD - same CPU (1GHz), a bit less memory, 5MP camera (DHD has 8MP) and bits and pieces here and there. And, of course, the name kind of "says it all" - it's a Windows Phone 7-based smartphone.

Putting these two things one next to the other and then adding iPhone next to them is a perfect basis for this semi-rant as… Some things really make you wonder what's the deal here.

I mean, Android is now, as a platform, growing faster then WP7 and iOS-based devices. No question about it. Even with the superb Apple infrastructure - good deals with factories and mobile carriers and retailers, excellent stores all over the world etc - it's just not good enough to push iOS-based devices faster out the door. Motorola, LG, HTC - all of them and more partners are selling Android-based phones like bread and butter. And there's a reason for that - they just work, no "strings attached" (hint - Flash), no forcing, no strange dealings with app developers, nothing. It's just working and - Apple, at this time, can't do much about it. Except maybe introduce some kind of iPhone nano and hope it will sell hundreds of millions of it. But that's beside the point.

The point is - if you can judge the day by the morning, as we say here - then WP7 has a pretty good future. HD7 is a very, very sleek device - it's elegant to absurdity, both in build quality and interface design, it's fast, the screen rotation is much more fluid then with Desire HD and - it's just kind of surprising. Yes, the OS definitely feels unfinished, but this is not "Vista unfinished". This is more like "Windows 7 32-bit" unfinished, if you know what I mean. Copy/paste, not a lot of apps, this is all crippling WP7-based market and if these problems are solved soon, then there will probably be another market shift. Maybe not a huge one, but still a shift.

Can this really be a sign of things that are gonna happen in the future? Can Microsoft really pull a Windows on Apple again, the same way they did it to Apple 20+ years ago? I mean, the "Wait, let them innovate, copy, upgrade, innovate a bit, adjust" strategy workout out perfectly for them back then. Can they really do that again?

In a way, Nokia's WP7 move makes some half decent sense. But I'd still go either with both (Android and WP7) or with Android, if I had to choose only one of them. Time will tell…

 

 

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