As Windows Phone 7 gets closer to release we keep hearing more and more about what Microsoft’s Phone operating system will and will not do. For the first time that I can remember, Microsoft appears to be incredibly focused on released a product that simply works and if that means not releasing features that everyone else has in 1.0 then so be it. And I applaud them for doing so.
Not everyone feels the same way however, pointing out some of the features Windows Phone 7 will initially lack such as copy and paste as well as multitasking. Although both are important features, neither are required for Microsoft to release a successful product.
It’s hard to argue that when the iPhone was introduced back in 2007 it destroyed everything else on the smart phone market, despite not having copy and paste or multitasking. It also didn’t have any way for developing native applications and developers were expected to build web applications to be run on the iPhone’s web browser. Speaking of the web browser, the iPhone still doesn’t have the ability to run flash which so many people claim is simply required for a proper web experience.
Apple’s iPhone of course has been a run away success, despite missing all of these “required” features. What the iPhone lacked in features it made up for with an as yet unseen level of polish, responsiveness and thoughtfulness in the smart phone market. With just two physical buttons it was incredibly easy to use and understand compared to other smart phones available at the time.
Unlike Google’s Android, which was already in development when the iPhone was released, Microsoft’s mobile phone OS was in no condition to compete with either and for Microsoft to compete properly in the smart phone market they really had to start from scratch. Windows Phone 7 is that from scratch effort and it makes sense that they’re going to have to cut some features in order to release a solid mobile OS in a timely fashion. Microsoft is always accused of simply buying or copy features from someone else and this time it is no different. Microsoft is clearly running the same plays from Apple’s play book and I don’t see anything wrong with that. When Microsoft releases Windows Phone 7 they’ll have a product that is neatly situated right between what iPhone OS, now known as iOS, offered initially and what it can do today. It should also be able to more quickly adapt and even out do its competitors in future releases. My only remaining concern for Microsoft is whether or not hardware makers can create new devices that can match or even rival that of Apple. That I think, will be the key to it’s success.