It took Android well over a year to start rolling out handsets that were truly worthy of the OS. But less than 24 hours after release, there are already a slew of Windows Phone 7 handsets priming themselves for smartphone battle. HTC has five in the pipeline, Samsung has the Omnia 7 and LG has the Optimus 7. And there are more to come.
Now, there’s no denying Windows Phone 7 looks killer. Even lifelong Apple lover and committed Redmond-basher Stephen Fry has been effusive about the new OS. He gushed: “I am genuinely thrilled. I never thought this day would come I stand on this stage and praise Microsoft for doing something they can be proud of.”
But, are there too many phones at launch? The success of the iPhone has undoubtedly been helped by its singularity, while Android’s foothold was gained by some key devices, such as the HTC Hero and Motorola Milestone, being released at different stages in a roadmap.
The case of Windows Phone 7 seems to be a lot different. OEMs and Microsoft has taken the approach of releasing a string of devices, but does this dilute the OS, and will it confuse consumers? It’s hard to argue that with so many phones coming to market, choosing a handset is becoming harder than ever.
But it wouldn’t it be easier for the Big M to gain a foothold in the increasingly competitive smartphone arena if they had one or two truly killer handsets, which could be backed up further down the line by new releases?
Ultimately, while each one offers hardware variations, there’s so much choice that it’s hard to see which one fits the bill for your needs. There are two decisions to be made: whether Windows Phone 7 is right for you, and which phone is the one you’ll tout for the next two years.
Of course, Android is in a similar position. But it seems Microsoft is taking its experience of unleashing stacks of laptops and PCs with Windows 7 on board and using it in the smartphone space.
This approach worked for its desktop OS, but will it work when it comes to mobile? Perhaps a more staggered strategy would have helped keep it in the headlines, rather than a huge blast at launch, with the hype and the coverage tailing off later. Plus it would also help it battle Android, Palm and Apple as all three prepare new software for release before the year’s end.
Windows Phone 7 will be a success. But whether it will create confusion through overexcitement remains to be seen and is a very real possibility. The phones are great, but why not relax and release them slowly?