It looks like Microsoft is all set to finally reveal Windows Mobile 7, long-awaited cure to the ills of all the earlier WinMo OSes. The action’s due to happen at Mobile World Congress on Monday. When no one in the U.S. will care. Way to go MS!
Windows Mobile 7 represents a significant design change over the earlier WinMo issues, which superficially resemble Windows XP, and with their over-dependence on button/keypad control and inflexibility were looking extremely jaded. WinMo7, on the other hand, borrows many a design cue from the Zune’s UI, which is widely praised as being rather good and satisfyingly simple (dare we say “un-Microsofty”?). It’s extremely important for MS to maintain a grip on some of the smartphone market, since it’s designed to work with large-display touchscreen devices. And in an iPhone design-dominated cell phone world, that’s absolutely vital if WinMo isn’t to go the way of the dodo.
WinMo 7 will, of course, end up on a wide array of smartphones in the coming months, from a variety of manufacturers. So it’s pretty fitting that Steve Ballmer himself will unveil the OS at the enormous Mobile World Congress industry fair which is happening in Barcelona next week.
There’s just one flaw in the plan: Steve’s keynote is scheduled for Monday 15th February, at 3 p.m. Central European Time (11 a.m. EST). That’s right–MS is revealing its key element in defending its smartphone marketshare on a holiday day in the U.S., meaning very few people there are going to soak up the news. Hmmm. Obviously there’s a collision of timing here, and the European in me cheers “go Europe!” but doesn’t this initial stumble just make you worry a little about the entire future of Windows Mobile?