In the mobile business, all the talk surrounds the iPhone. Customers and industry insiders want to know what Apple is planning, what sort of innovations it will announce in its next installment, and whether or not any company even has a chance to compete with Apple's market-leading device.
In the past, the industry has been hard-pressed to find a real competitor to the iPhone. Several "iPhone killers" have come along, including the Palm Pre and BlackBerry Storm, but both devices have failed to live up to Apple's product on any level. Even Android-based devices like the Nexus One have come close but can't quite attract the kind of attention the iPhone does.
But there is a strong possibility that Microsoft's newly announced Windows Phone 7 Series will change that. The company has delivered software that looks nothing like the iPhone, even though it offers many of the same features. Perhaps most importantly, the software is capable of running on multiple carrier networks, which should only help its chances of attracting attention in the marketplace. By the looks of things, Windows Phone 7 Series is an extremely attractive option for consumers and the enterprise alike. And it beats out the iPhone in many ways.
Let's take a look at just how Microsoft's latest mobile OS bests the iPhone:
1. The interface
Unlike Android-based devices, the Palm Pre and just about every other touch-enabled device on the market, Windows Phone 7 Series doesn't follow Apple's recipe for touch-screen success. Instead, the software's interface includes a Zune HD-like functionality that should help users move around the display and more efficiently find what they're looking for. Plus, the software doesn't lock users into specific grids like the iPhone's software does, making it a slightly more fluid operating system. It seems that Microsoft looked at what was being done on the market and realized that there really is a better way.
Gaming is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the tech industry. And thanks to Microsoft's Xbox Live service, gaming online with friends is also growing at a rapid rate. Realizing both factors, Microsoft added a gaming element to Windows Phone 7 Series that could be the key application to differentiate the software from iPhone OS. Users will be able to communicate with their Xbox Live friends from their phones and even earn gamer points by playing titles on a Windows Phone 7 Series device. It's a nice addition that Apple's iPhone doesn't offer.
3. Built-in social networking
Although users can download social networking applications from Apple's App Store, Microsoft's OS comes with social networking built right in. After loading up the device for the first time, Windows Phone 7 Series users will be able to communicate with friends on Facebook, check status updates and add friends right from the device. The phones will even offer Twitter integration, making it easy to keep up with followers on that social network. Once again, it seems that Microsoft understood what its customers are currently doing and integrated that into its software.
4. A paid vendor model
Microsoft has caught some criticism recently over reports that it will be charging vendors to use Windows Phone 7 Series. Some have said that it's a mistake, since the competition doesn't charge vendors for use of their respective operating systems. I think that's a faulty belief. If vendors are willing to pay-which they seem to be-it could actually improve Microsoft's standing in the mobile market. Those vendors will likely push Windows Phone 7 Series devices harder, knowing they have more invested than they do in, say, Android products. By targeting vendor wallets, Microsoft might become the most important software provider to device makers. It was a smart move.