Microsoft has an interesting challenge at a conference like MIX10. The event, now under way in Las Vegas, is aimed at an audience of Windows Mobile developers, who are packing into conference rooms for deeply technical nuts-and-bolts sessions on new programming tools and platforms. But there’s a second, larger audience looking over their shoulders. This constituency, represented by a large corps of bloggers and analysts (and a few traditional media types), is looking past the tools and code-writing tips for clues about what Microsoft’s next generation of gadgets will look like.
Apps are crucial. Just making a better Windows phone isn’t enough. Apple already defined the standard with its “There’s an app for that” mantra. That’s why Microsoft is giving away its new developer tools for the Windows Phone 7 platform and trying so aggressively to have lots and lots of apps and games available at launch.
The Windows Phone isn’t for everyone. According to one slide in Microsoft VP Joe Belfiore’s presentation, the Windows Phone 7 design is aimed at a group they call “life maximizers.”
A little variety goes a long way. In his overview of the Windows Phone 7 platform today, Belfiore described the chaos that is the current Windows Mobile ecosystem. Most current Windows Mobile devices, as he explained it, were designed by a handset maker and mobile provider trying to serve a narrow slice of the overall market.
You don’t have to copy Apple to succeed. Yes, there are places in the Windows Phone 7 Series platform where you can see features that are clearly from the same gene pool as the iPhone.
Some sacred cows are being sacrificed.