We heard news yesterday that Windows Phone 7 would not be available on Verizon until 2011. Now Microsoft has clarified the situation, and the reality is a bit of a bummer. There will be no support for CDMA networks in Windows Phone 7 until 2011. That's why Verizon is not planning for handsets.
A Microsoft senior product manager told Cnet, "We had to make some trade-offs. Even Microsoft doesn't have unlimited resources. We had to prioritize doing fewer things, really, really well." The two major CDMA networks in the US, Verizon and Sprint, will just have to wait. The GSM standard is much more common in the world, which is why Redmond decided to go that route.
This isn't the first time CDMA has been kicked to the curb. Until Android 1.6, there was no support for CDMA. In fact, when HTC launched the HTC Hero on Sprint (running Android 1.5) they had to roll their won code for the CDMA network. If you've been waiting for WinPho7, will you jump ship to a GSM carrier, or wait for it to come to you?
Verizon is the largest mobile carrier in the US, but subscribers to the network won't be able to get a Windows Phone 7 device until sometime in 2011. This news comes from a Verizon spokesperson who also said they would probably release a phone in 2011. When in 2011? We have no way of knowing, but this might be a tough pill to swallow for Microsoft, who is hoping to make a splash when the revamped Windows Phone 7 hits the streets.
Windows Phone 7 is a complete rewrite for the software giant intended to replace the aging Windows Mobile platform. Microsoft has been wooing developers in an attempt to make the platform more appealing to users at launch. Will the lack of Verizon support put a damper on that plan?
Neither side is talking specifics about who has the cold feet. It could have something to do with the Kin debacle. Verizon could still be a little sore about the poor sales, and quick cancellation, of Microsoft's pseudo-smartphone. What do you think is behind this? Will it hurt the launch at all?
Sources are indicating today that Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system will be launching on October 11. An event in New York is expected to be used to introduce the operating system to the public at large. Interestingly, this doesn't mean you will be able to head to the local mobile phone shop top buy one right away. Phones should be available to consumers later in the month.
Microsoft will presumably have final hardware at this event to best show off the new OS. At the very least, we should see a phone that consumers will actually be able to buy. We have previously heard that phones will come from manufacturers like Asus, HTC, LG, and Dell.
Since it's unveiling at Mobile World Congress 2010, development seems to have proceeded quickly. But will this launch happen in time to give Microsoft a shot in the mobile space?
Microsoft has announced today that the final version of Windows Phone 7 is complete, and has been released to manufacturing. According to Redmond, this new mobile operating system is the most extensively tested Microsoft has ever produced. The engineering team has thousands of devices running automated tests in-house, as well as preview units out in the wild.
In their blog post, the Phone 7 team discussed the process of integrating user feedback into the final product. For example, many reviewers and early testers complained that the Facebook integration just dropped your entire friends list into phone contacts. The development team took the hint and added filtering to the contact integration.
Now that the software is finalized, manufacturers can complete work on their retail devices. Get ready for an avalanche of leaked Windows Phone 7 handsets. Anyone looking forward to picking up one of these phones?
Microsoft has no intentions of letting its Windows Phone 7 suffer the same premature fate as its Kin smartphones, and to ensure that doesn't happen, the Redmond software juggernaut will spend $400 million just on marketing the launch of its new device, says Jonathan Goldberg, a telecommunications analyst at Deutsche Bank.
"This is make-or-break for them. They need to do whatever it takes to stay in the game," says Goldberg. "It's still wide open. They don't have to take share from Android or Apple, so long as they can attract consumers switching from feature phones."
That $400 million figure is just the beginning. Goldberg claims to have heard from Microsoft's execs that it will spend "billions" of dollars in the first year on marketing and development.
"We have a long-term view and Microsoft has been in this position before in other businesses where we've had to take a long-term view," says Microsoft senior product manager Greg Sullivan, who stopped short of commenting on Goldberg's estimates. "The mobile phone market is growing by leaps and bounds, but it's still in the early stages."
What's a couple billion dollars in fines among friends? Not much, and despite Microsoft's rocky relationship with the European Union, the software juggernaut plans on releasing its Windows Phone 7 device in Europe in October, one month ahead of its U.S. launch.
"Now let's talk about phones," Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner said during a recent presentation. "This has been tough. This is a low-light. For me, the company -- it's tough. But you know what? In the October time-frame -- in October likely across Europe, in November likely across the U.S. -- the game... we're back in the game. And this game is not over."
This isn't the first we've heard of an October launch for the Windows Phone 7, but there was no word on where that launch would take place. We now know, perhaps inadvertently, that Europe will get first crack at the device, which is somewhat surprising considering the EU's heavy handed fines against Microsoft in the past few years. Back in February 2008, the EU nailed Microsoft with a record breaking $1.4 billion for antitrust violations, and then a year later forced Microsoft into including a browser ballot with its Windows OS.
HP's tablet and smartphone strategy has been covered in haze ever since it acquired Palm. But a much clearer picture is beginning to emerge. We now know that although HP plans to launch a Windows 7-based tablet, it will be targeted at the enterprise market.
This has led many to surmise that the company wants to placate Microsoft while still leaving ample room for a WebOS-based tablet. However, the Palo Alto computer giant, renowned for its loyalty to Microsoft, will not be so accommodating when it comes to the smartphone market.
HP's Executive Vice President Todd Bradley, made it very clear in an interview with CNBC that Windows Phone 7 is not part of the company's plans. Instead, it will be relying solely on WebOS for its push in the smartphone market.
It looks as though Microsoft is determined to get its Windows Phone 7 device into more hands than the ill-fated Kin series, and one way to do that is to give the phone away. Lots of them.
According to reports, Microsoft went and announced at the MGX (Microsoft Global Exchange) conference it will be handing out Windows Phone 7 devices to all of its employees. That works out to over 90,000 units, folks.
"With all the buzz, a lot of you are asking how you can get your hands on a phone and get more involved," Andy Lees, senior VP of Mobile, wrote in an internal email. "So, I am thrilled to announce that a new Windows Phone 7 will be made available to every Microsoft employee as we launch in each market around the world. The process will vary based on your market, your carrier, and your launch date so stay tuned for more information closer to launch."
Microsoft is not averse to spending big in hope of making inroads into businesses where it has little say. It wants to be seen as a force to be reckoned with in the smartphone arena after it launches Windows Phone 7 later this year. As a strong developer community is critical to a modern smartphone platform, the company is doing all it can to lure application developers toward its upcoming mobile OS.
It is even willing to co-fund Windows Phone 7 projects. "We have a long history of engaging with developers to offer support in the creation of compelling apps. The limited use of co-funding to help initiate strategic projects is not new to Microsoft; furthermore, developers tell us that we do not engage in any co-funding activity outside the scope of our competitors," Microsoft said in a statement.