Windows Phone 7 Series – the balloon just went pop

I’m currently a Windows Mobile user, and whilst the platform has serious shortcomings and annoyances, I’ve been happy to persevere with those due to its openness. Anything I haven’t liked I’ve usually been able to tinker with and address via my own tweaks or third party ones.

Like most WinMo users, I’ve been looking forward with great anticipation to Windows Phone 7 Series which Microsoft recently announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. This was the brand new platform that everybody has been hoping for; a complete break from the past, and hence an opportunity to put everything right. From initial impressions, not only had it put those things right, but it actually exceeded all expectations! Microsoft receiving plaudits for their mobile platform, seriously?!

But of course, as ever, the devil is in the detail, and that detail has been gradually trickling out during their MIX conference this week. And whilst much of what they’ve had to say has been very impressive, sadly a lot of the detail is downright depressing. From what I’ve gathered so far there will be no support for:

* It will be possible to side-load applications to your own phone if you’re a developer enrolled in developer program (which costs)

Spot the pattern above – these are all features that WinMo had that other platforms didn’t. This is what prompted people to stick around and use it despite the flashiness of the iPhone. Substance over style. And what are these loyal users getting in return for keeping the platform alive? Two fingers.

Microsoft are basically ditching the entire WinMo community and going chasing after the iPhone users who, ironically, have been gradually receiving many of the much-lacked features like copy and paste that have been the cause of much of its criticisms! It seems to me that Microsoft have basically taken a near-perfect OS and thrown in all the iPhone’s bad points. Consequently I for one no longer feel inclined to buy one when it comes out, and it seems that many others agree. Even though Microsoft have said that some of these issues will be addressed in future versions of the product, are power users really going to wait another year or more for that? Haven’t we had to wait long enough already?

The question is, can anything be done about it? A petition has been set up in response to these problems, but will that be enough? One suspects not. Yet if Microsoft loves its designer and developer community as much as it’s been claiming to at MIX this week, you’d think they’d respect their input. Sadly though, it seems that disenfranchising the people who kept WinMo alive during these last few torrid years is a price they’re happy to pay as they rush to market and  go seeking after the “dumb” consumer.

I thought Microsoft had redeemed themselves with WP7S. Seems I was wrong.

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