WP7 clears the launchpad

Windows Phone 7 has cleared the first hurdle in the race back into the mobile game.
Initial reception to Microsoft’s latest mobile OS has been positive, much to the admitted surprise of pundits. Its tiled screen has won praise as the first to break away from the iPhone multi-icon model.
“Windows Phone 7 doesn’t feel like a cheap imitation of the iPhone. It feels like something different,” said Tech Crunch.
Ryan Kim GigaOm says Windows could break Android’s momentum “if Microsoft executes well – and that’s a big if.”
“WP7 got lots of little details right, and it’s those details that go a long way towards an exceptional user experience,” says the new Gdgt blog.
But it agreed with the dominant view that Microsoft’s main problem is “coming late to a very crowded party.”
MS is going to have to work hard to explain why punters should pick a Windows Phone over the alternatives, said Gdgt. “During the Windows Mobile days Microsoft generally stayed in the background and let the manufacturers do the messaging, but with so much at stake I don’t think they can afford do let anyone else define Windows Phone 7.”
On the downside, Taiwan OEMs are reluctant to shift resources back to Windows, reports Digitimes. Having spent the last two years gearing up for Android, vendors such as Foxconn, Compal and Inventec prefer open source Android to fee-based Windows OS.
The high hardware requirements for WP7 are also a deterrent to those making mid-range phones.
Now that WP 7 has got off the ground, concludes Tech Crunch, “they just have to run a marathon. Up a mountain. Against competitors that they gave a 20 mile head-start to.”