Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 has already launched outside the US, and if supplies there are any indication, the US launch could be in trouble according to Business Insider. Carriers are reporting shortages of many of the smartphones, and have taken to offering vouchers to interested customers. Both the HTC Mozart and Samsung Omnia 7 are in short supply across Europe.
This wouldn't be the first time we've seen new hardware plagued by shortages. Many of the components used in these handsets have been in short supply for months now. Need we remind you of the AMOLED shortage that brought Droid Incredible sales to a grinding halt last summer? HTC eventually switched the super TFT screen in that case, but the WP7 launch doesn't need any obstacles.
Of course, it is possible that this is an engineered shortage. You know, the OEMs make just slightly too few to drum up interest in the hot new hardware people can't get. Well, that may be a little to conspiratorial a theory to hang our hat on, but you never know.
Amazon on Thursday announced that its upcoming Kindle for Windows Phone 7 app will be the first major eBook software available for WP7 devices. As with all Kindle apps, WP7 users will be able to sync their downloaded books to multiple devices.
"When you buy a Kindle book, we make it easy for you to get your books on all of the devices you want to read on - your iPhone, iPad, Android-based device, PC, Mac, BlackBerry, and of course your Kindle, Kindle 3G and Kindle DX," said Dorothy Nicholls, Director, Amazon Kindle. "Kindle for Windows Phone 7 extends our vision of 'Buy Once, Read Everywhere.' The app is optimized for the unique user interface of Windows Phone 7, and will include our Whispersync technology, so you always have your library with you and never lose your place in a book as you switch between devices."
Kindle for WP7 will launch later this year. You can sign up for email notifications here, and in the meantime, catch a quick demo of Kindle for WP7 below.
Apps are vital to a modern smartphone platform’s fortunes. If Microsoft hopes to turn the corner with Windows Phone 7, it will need an unabated supply of quality apps. While it is way too early to pass a verdict on Windows Phone 7 Marketplace, the app store is looking well-stocked ahead of the US launch of smartphones running WinPho 7.
The app count has now breached the 1,000 app mark – Apple’s App Store debuted with 500 apps. But if Microsoft needed a reminder of the very long, treacherous road that lies ahead, the Android Market delivered it by crossing the 100,000 app mark just around the same time as when Microsoft’s app store reached its first milestone.
Windows Phone 7 is a completely new system. Microsoft is taking a risk ditching the mass of (admittedly poor quality) Windows Mobile apps out there. They need developers to step up to the plate to make the system viable. While there are about 1000 apps available as the platform launches, developers are finding some things to complain about. One of the first issues: the SDK does not let developers have full access the camera hardware.
Developing an app dependent on a particular piece of software relies on the SDK having the necessary APIs. Right now, image sensor access on Windows Phone 7 is limited. The makers of popular apps Layar and Fring have both put their WP7 plans on hold due to this issue. Microsoft has indicated that they are happy to have developers use the camera for picture taking, and APIs do exist for that. But the sort of "viewfinder" capability that video calls or augmented reality would need is not available.
It's unclear if Microsoft plans to add this feature in a future version of the SDK. It might be a small omission in the grand scheme of things, but when Microsoft is starting at a disadvantage, they shouldn't be limiting developers.
Microsoft is at a key juncture in its history as a consumer tech company, with two high stakes launches scheduled for next month. It will be rolling out Windows Phone 7 on November 8 (in North America) as it looks to atone for the sin that was Windows Mobile. At stake is a respectable position in the increasingly important smartphone market.
The North American launch of Kinect is also scheduled for November. Here too the stakes are high as the company is looking for a magical moment that could see its console take a clear lead in what has been a keenly contested console generation.
It's already a new week, and time for another fun-filled dose of the Maximum PC No BS Podcast. This week, the guys talk about Windows Phone 7, Google TV, and a possible Aol/Yahoo merger. A brand new catch phrase is invented and subsequently run into the ground faster than the Exxon Valdez. That's a little environmental disaster humor for all of you.
Also, we're giving away some more sweet loot from Asus. Listen in to find out how you can win. Hit the jump for full contest rules.
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are not standing by.
I’m going to avoid using any obvious jokes by asking you to read the headline, then look at my post, then back at the headline. Okay, so I couldn’t resist torturing an obvious Internet meme, but in my defense neither could Microsoft. As part of the new Windows Phone 7 rollout marketing dollars are starting to flow, and it looks like Old Spice You Tube star Isaiah Mustafa will play at least some role in the new campaign.
You can see the first clip prepared for the Australian market after the jump. Should Microsoft have come up with its own idea? Or was it only a matter of time before more companies tried to cash in on an ad campaign that generated tens of millions of free views?
What would you do if we told you old Stevie-boy was so enamored with Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform that he decided to show up at the launch event to show his support? You'd call us liars, that's what. Yet that's exactly what happened.
Granted, we're not talking about Steve Jobs, but Stephen Fry, a noted English actor, writer, journalist, and Apple fanboy, among other things.
"No I'm not being paid to be here," Fry told the audience at the event. "My name has been associated for some time with Apple. I made no secret of my dislike of Microsoft over the years. I never thought the day would come when I would stand on a stage and praise Microsoft for doing things they can be proud of."
Fry said the real test will come when decides whether or not to transfer his SIM card from his iPhone to the Windows Phone 7 device, adding "I think I probably will, at least for awhile."
So there you have it. One Apple user down, scores to go.