So last week Microsoft had a major event for their new version of their Windows PocketPC... I mean Mobile... I mean "Phone" operating system. Windows Phone 7 is Microsoft's attempt to play catchup with the iPhone and Android (who have effectively cannibalized a lot of Microsoft's mobile marketshare), and while it's an impressive offering, I find myself thinking "meh" at the whole thing.
Full disclosure, I've only seen the online demos of the OS, so my assessments may be incomplete - but in truth, I don't think it's a terrible OS from what I've been able to figure out. One thing I actually don't like though is the tile based home screen. The tiles are mostly customizable, but they are supposed to show information like your friends recent Facebook updates, weather information, etc. The problem is that the entire thing just looks too busy to me, and I can't see it being pleasant to look at.
Which, y'know, is not that great for a user interface feature designed to be looked at.
The OS will likely put off long time Windows Mobile users, as it's a complete rewrite from the OS. It also lacks features like copy/paste that Windows Mobile has had literally forever. I can copy/paste on my PocketPC from almost ten years ago, why can't Microsoft ship that on their NEW mobile OS?
And frankly the marketplace is crowded as heck. With the iPhone, Blackberry, Android and webOS devices out there vying for the same customers, it's hard to get people's attention. And it doesn't matter how good your OS is - I honestly think webOS is the best mobile operating system out there, and it has the smallest marketshare of all. And while a person like me will make choices based on comparing different OS features and use, deciding on my phone long before I go into a store - the average person doesn't.
They've heard of Android phones. They've heard of the iPhone. This is what all the "cool" phones are. And maybe Microsoft can capture the average consumer imagination, but they aren't going to be "cool" any time soon. Microsoft has tried to be cool, and the Kin flopped in two months. If they want this product to succeed, they have a massive hill in front of them.
And they better hope it isn't the same hill used by Sisyphus.