Want Windows Phone 7 Series? You're Going to Have to Buy a New Device

Sometimes I just don’t get Microsoft. And by sometimes, I mean most of the time.

There’s been a lot of hype around the release of Windows  Phone 7 Series, mostly because it’s touted as yet another “iPhone Killer,” just like the Droid, Storm and G1 before it. We don’t know yet whether or not WP7S is going to win versus the iPhone, but one more thing just put another hiccup in the lineup.

There are lots of people who already own Windows Phone devices, and love them. Problem is, they can’t upgrade to WP7S, per a recent report in APCMag. From the article:

Despite the HD2 meeting many of the criteria laid down in Microsoft’s ‘Chassis 1’ spec – including a 1GHz Qualcomm processor, high-res capacitive touch display, 5 megapixel camera and 3.5mm headphone jack – the phone will be ruled out for the simple reason that it has five buttons instead of the three mandated for all Windows Phone 7 devices.

That’s the official line from Microsoft, at any rate. Natasha Kwan, General Manager for Microsoft’s Mobile Communications Business in the Asia-Pacific region, told APC that the HD2 “doesn’t qualify because it doesn’t have the three buttons.”
Not that Microsoft is singling our the HD2 as a phone or even HTC as a manufacturer. “Because we have very specific requirements for Windows Phone 7 Series the current phones we have right now will not be upgradable”, Kwan explained.

So one of the big new HTC phones can’t run WP7S because it has too many buttons. Alright, so that’s a bit whack, but whatever. The really interesting thing here though is how Microsoft is clinging to their roots like Coke and Coke Classic.

For its part, Microsoft says it will not abandon the current Windows Mobile 6.x platform once Windows Phone 7 arrives. The OS will be rebranded as Windows Phone Classic and retained for budget-minded smartphone buyers as well as business customers with 6.x-based apps.

“We think there are people who will want 6.5, and the 6.x platform has a lot of enterprise and line of business apps” Kwan says.

Windows Mobile 6.X has been disastrous as a platform, and an utter failure for Microsoft. Sure, there may be large corporations who prefer that OS to the BlackBerry, but they’re in the minority. Why not just push WP7S hard and make it the wave of the future?

This reminds me of Vista and Windows 7. Vista was/is garbage, and Windows 7 is leaps forward. Yet there’s no clear upgrade path for those still running XP on their computers other than wiping the OS. How is any IT department supposed to recommend upgrading to W7 when they’d have to reinstall everything?

Two steps forward, one step back.



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