Who will get the new software first? That’s one of only two real questions to emerge from the unveiling of an updated Windows Phone 7 operating system yesterday.
Nokia made no bones about revealing its first Windows Phone handsets will run Mango – the codename for the update -, but at the same time Microsoft announced that Acer, Fujitsu and ZTE have also signed on to run the software.
With their much hyped partnership you would expect Nokia to be top of the pecking order, but it’s not that clear cut. Microsoft has to satisfy existing partners HTC, LG and Samsung, which are all in line to receive the updated OS. However, those vendors have enjoyed muted success with WP7 with recent figures from Gartner showing that Microsoft’s share of global smartphone sales fell from 6.8% in 1Q10 to 3.6% in 1Q11.
Microsoft’s plan to launch the new OS in the fall tallies with the expected timing of Nokia’s first WP7 smartphone launch and, as ZDNet’s Larry Dignan points out, the 19 additional languages Microsoft plans to feature in the new OS match markets where Nokia has a strong presence.
Ovum principal analyst Tony Cripps told Telecoms Europe.net the new platform “still lacks the potential for customization and brand differentiation that some manufacturers are looking for,” and noted that Microsoft must address the role Nokia will play to ensure current device partners “stay on board.”
Regardless of which vendor is first, they will all use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor to power their devices, which was developed “in close coordination with Microsoft,” a spokesman told Telecoms Europe.net. For consumers, the new OS promises 500 new features including deeper integration of apps with core functionality, location services and the latest Internet Explorer browser.
I mentioned at the start there were two questions arising from this announcement. The second is this. Who made a rod for Microsoft’s back with the following statements in the official presser? “Windows Phone will challenge the way people think about apps,” and also “push the boundaries of the smartphone experience around communications, apps and the Internet.”
Bold claims indeed.