It's official. Microsoft has finally announced Windows Phone 7, although much of what they announced has been a pretty well-known fact for some time now. Much of the announcement event centered on showing just how radical a change Windows Phone 7 is from previous Windows Phone devices-and indeed it is. It's far sleeker, friendlier to users, and shows almost no sign of being a Windows derivative like the previous versions did.
But will this be enough to make it a success? I won't get into all the nits of hardware and software, as this has been done in great detail in other reports. However, I see a number of winners and losers in this announcement (and some too close to call at this time).
First, the winners list:
Microsoft has specified the hardware that all manufacturers of Windows Phone 7 devices must have as a minimum. It has specified that the processor must be the Snapdragon 1GHz chip from Qualcomm. If Windows Phone 7 does well, Qualcomm stands to sell tens of millions of its Snapdragon chips and cement its substantial lead in powering the smartphone (and, potentially, tablet) markets. This is particularly detrimental to NVidia, whose Tegra chips (a competitor to Snapdragon) powered the now-defunct Kin devices and had a shot at being the engine for Windows Phone 7.
2. Xbox gamers
Since one of the primary ways to get any content on the Windows Phone 7 device is through using the XNA, any gamers developing for Xbox have a direct and easy path to the Windows Phone 7 devices. And with direct connections via Xbox Live, this should be a boon to game companies and gamers, although this segment of the market is too small to directly fuel the success of Windows Phone 7 all on its own.