Welcome to the 411, my column dealing with all your questions about cell phones and cell phone accessories. At times, I might solicit answers from readers if I'm stumped. Send your questions and comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you prefer to remain anonymous, let me know.
Because of the Mobile World Congress 2010 coverage this week, I thought I would dedicate this edition of The 411 column to the big phone show in Barcelona. I received a few questions and comments about the week's announcements through e-mail and my Twitter account, so I thought I would address them here. I've also decided to expand the column beyond the simple Q&A advice structure to allow for more opinion-based answers.
Do u think it'll be a race for 3rd place between Win 7 phone & WebOS devices? - TypeZero3, via Twitter
This was in reference to an earlier post I had written saying that I was glad that Microsoft had finally released Windows Phone 7. To me, it looks like what Windows Mobile should have done all along. It's clear this is Microsoft's response to both the Apple iPhone and Google's recent efforts with the Android operating system. Finally, it seems, Microsoft has managed to make Windows Mobile--oops, I mean Windows Phone--seem cool. The design bears more than a passing resemblance to the Zune HD, with a menu interface and navigation that really nails the look (and possibly feel) of the Zune's finer elements. I'm also intrigued by the "live tiles" feature that gives you a quick view of various applications and functions.
Further, Windows Phone 7 will integrate services from both Zune and Xbox Live. This means you will be able to access your Zune Marketplace and subscription music, and Xbox Live gamers will be able to see their gamer tag, achievements, and more on the phone. Both Zune and Xbox platforms have been a huge boon for Microsoft, and it's heartening to see Microsoft finally incorporating all of its many eggs into one basket.
But your question does remind me that we were once this excited about a mobile operating system before: webOS by Palm. I was definitely a sucker for the deck-of-cards feature when we first saw it at CES 2009, and I was excited about Palm's brave new effort to revitalize a tired brand. But it seems our excitement was premature; Android grew in dominance last year and phones like the Motorola Droid and the Nexus One have effectively pushed it aside. Palm still has its fans, of course, but Android's prominence is undeniable.
So will the same happen to Windows Phone 7? Perhaps, but I think Microsoft's previous successes with the Zune and the Xbox will push them over the edge.… Read more