It is just a week from the Mobile World Congress, the annual trade show for all things mobile that is held in February in sunny Barcelona, Spain. So of course the rumor mill is working overtime, and late last week some interesting rumors began to circulate about Windows Mobile/Phone 7.
As I previously noted, it appears that there could be too different versions of Windows Mobile 7, which is why we’re also hearing about Windows Phone 7. That shouldn’t confuse anyone in the future, so I say kudos to Microsoft for making that abundantly clear (and for the record I am being facetious).
But where I’m not joking in the least in is my concern that Windows Phone 7 might try to be far too social and entertainment-based. The handset sounds much like Zune (a product that didn’t actually leave the iPod in the dust), and it further will likely feature Xbox gaming compatibility. So this means – to me anyway – that Windows Mobile 7 could be the business line, while Windows Phone 7 is fun and games.
The problem, as I’ve previously noted, is that people don’t want such a break in their lives. I’m a 40-something (early 40 something I will stress) business writer, who covers the video game market. Microsoft should already know that the average gamer isn’t an early 20-something slacker, and that passing 30 doesn’t mean hanging up the gamepad any more. But creating a fun phone line and a work phone line sort of sends that message.
But back to the rumors, which are worrisome as well. On the plus side the Zune functionality is good, as is the user interface, which is likely named “Metro.” So far, so good. The social networking support, and Xbox integration is good too. But for a fun handset, the lack of Flash support (the big rumor that dropped last week) is not good. Nor is the rumor that apps can only be installed from the Marketplace, and not ported from an SD card, and worst of all, no multi-tasking. The thing that made the latest version of Windows 7 so great was that multi-tasking really worked great, but on Phone 7 it might not work at all.
At this stage it is just a rumor. We’ll know for sure in a week’s time. So stay tuned!
T-Mobile Future Not so Clear
What is a German telecom company to do when its American unit is lagging behind its rivals? According to reports circulating late last week, which were started by The Wall Street Journal on Friday, a number of possibilities could happen. Deutsche Telekom, which owns T-Mobile US, is considering a number of possibilities.
One of the most likely (at least in my opinion) is that T-Mobile USA would merge with another carrier – something I’ve said could be on the table for 2010. The most likely contender would be Sprint, which would create a Big Three situation in the United States, instead of the current Big Two, Small Three; as in Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile… and to a much lesser extend MetroPCS. A merger would of course come under the scrutiny of regulators, so it would likely have to be Sprint or not at all. It seems unlikely that the Feds would allow a merger with Verizon or AT&T – the later uses the same network protocols as T-Mobile.