Did Microsoft hit the snooze button on Windows Phone 7?

It’s been roughly three months since Windows Phone 7 phones went on sale and four months since Steve Ballmer made the big splashy introduction in NYC. Since then, we’ve seen the Verizon iPhone announced, new dual-core Android phones announced at CES and even a wacky multi-screen Sprint phone. Tomorrow HP is expected to put their foot forward with new webOS tablets and likely phones. Where in the world is Windows Phone 7?

Windows Phone 7 clock

Need A Feel Good Update
It’s not easy being an early adopter and this rings true with Windows Phone 7 early adopters. Most knew of the gaps in Windows Phone 7, but took a leap of faith. There is no doubt that the operating system is elegant and well thought out. From the get, features were missing and I’d venture to say it was probably to meet aggressive deadlines to ensure the new handsets would launch. We all remember the parade celebriting the hard work of developers needed to meet the year-end launch goal. The goodwill of early adopters is running out. While other operating systems consistently push out updates, Windows Phone 7 has not seen a single update, nor have we received word on when that’s expected. The update will offer copy and paste, speed improvements, bug fixes and speed improvements. How about basics, such as ringtones? The lack of an update thus far paints a picture that updates will be few and far between. That does not ensure confidence amongst customers. There is still plenty of improvements needed in Windows Phone 7.

Sprint and Verizon Where Art Thou?
Two major US carriers, both CDMA and not a single Windows Phone 7 device available among the two. For a platform that is looking to get a foothold in the smartphone race, the importance of having phones on two large CDMA carriers goes without saying. The expectation is that we’ll see CDMA support in the first half of 2011. Without a horse, how can you win the race? Verizon used to be the home of Android, but now they’ve got the Verizon iPhone. The shelves are getting more and more crowded with each month. The longer the wait for a CDMA Windows Phone 7 device, the harder to sell to prospective customers. As outlined previously, it would be a good idea of one of these upcoming phones was a flagship phone.

The trouble with the lack of updates, lack of new handsets is simple. It leaves Windows Phone 7 out of the news cycle. Despite a fantastic OS, Windows Phone 7 is not top of mind when it comes to mobile. You cannot invent buzz. Rumored handsets, software updates and sales ultimately create awareness. Mobile World Congress will be the next big stage for mobile. It’s not a good idea for Microsoft to hit the snooze button on Windows Phone 7 again.


  1. hysonmb says

    I agree with this article. I’m a true Windows Phone fan and, until my Touch Pro 2 just had to go late last year, I would have never used a different platform. Now, I’ve got an Epic 4G which I would not have purchased if I had a Windows Phone option. Not many people will do what I’m doing as I’ve opted to not get involved in the Android ecosystem (not buying apps) so I won’t feel like I’m giving up something when they finally do get the phones to us. The problem is, they’re not giving me any indication that this cycle of delays won’t be the norm. MS has talked a good game and even with the issues I’m normally happy with the software they kick out. They can’t keep this up though with Google being very quick to the trigger and Apple now on Verizon eating into customers they’d have locked up if they’d gotten there first. They need to have a partner like HTC release a killer handset on Sprint with specs above and beyond the minimum to attract customers before the iMenace makes it over there too. iPhones, while now being outpaced by Android, are going to sell no matter what. Brand recognition alone will drive sales in the face of a superior product if there is one sitting next to it. MS needs to expedite the process of getting these things on CDMA shelves. They can also slide one my way so I can be a word of mouth advertiser!

    • NUGAmaan says

      I agree with you totally… I too am a very dedicated Windows fan and awaited MS to release an updated phone since the talk of a ZunePhone. I have owned WM products for over 5 years now in sequence starting with the HTC 8125, At&t Tilt, At&t Fuze, Unlocked Acer S200 w/At&t and now the Samsung Focus. As you may notice I mentioned (At&t) which would basically mean that I have had the option to own an iPhone since the beginning and yet have not purchased one. I feel MS has nailed it with designing an OS that is not as cookie cut as other displays or UI’s. Giving a consumer a real option of choice other than having a Android and people assume it’s a iPhone, but with Android stepping there marketing game up, iPhones may take that second place. I personally dislike them both. Very much annoyed with all the talk about what each phone can produce or perform when technically WM has done these actions way in the past, just was not as popular as they may seem now. Seems all you have to do now is to copy ones design or ideal and just rename it and market it better than the original, how I feel iPhone did from the jump off. iPhone was just as dull as everything else when it first released. My HTC 8125 was able to copy and paste, sync with my computer via files or music, multi task, accept mp3’s, customize the home screen, surf the web, us as a GPS, great quality stereo speakers (still better than some today), organize, email….. I mean I honestly can go on and on, and I am definitely not being bias, these are facts because I will diss WM, MS any time of the day, which technically is what this whole comment is about. All I know is that some things people say that I read about is just bogus when they expect a phone or device to have all these things going for it right off not giving time for a company to work on an ideal. But giving MS all the time in all the devices I have owned up until now, I don’t blame the critics for getting at MS because there should not be any secrets. What is it to hide? The blueprint for a hand held device of any sort is basically set in stone now for any old or new manufacture. All you can do now is integrated an ideal for better marketing. I think people now know what they want in a hand held device these days, just look online, you can’t miss it. As for MS, you are now just dragging along all your loyal consumers to wonder “What the Hell”, me being one of them. I enjoy my Windows Phone 7, Samsung Focus. I think it holds up pretty well but yet I am continuing to check online everyday to see is there any word on updates, something new for it, good news, even bad news, anything. In closing, I’m not like the rest of these bloggers, critics, and speculators. All I’m saying is I understand why MS ignores a lot of the online talk because most of it is crap, people say things that basically do not make any sense. When you still have people crying about copy and paste, and this and that still today then I agree, ignore that… But, their bickering and all day posting becomes more valid and true when you do nothing and everyone knows you have the ability to do it.
      P.S., you have no problem advertising Kinetic through and through like that’s something you had thought of before Nintendo 5-6 years ago. Own up to something new and innovated like you have created with the Windows Phone 7, put Kinetic in the phone if you have to, LOL….

  2. sufc says

    Well written article that sums up the perception of MS in the consumer market, namely slow moving. Although probably unfair, they do need to keep the platform in the mind of the consumers – maybe they need a killer app like Angry Birds. Superficial yes, but the consumer market is driven by whim.

    There was a rumor that they were ready to partner with Nokia, maybe even produce WP7 handsets – good press for MS and also for Nokia which has a small US market share. A CDMA phone is also important for reasons already noted. Also get important updates out, like cut & paste, tethering and smaller ones like custom ring tones.

  3. Paul says

    Right on. Microsoft has a great engineering people but their customer relations really suck! It would look better if MS could release smaller patches every few weeks instead of big ones once a year. Without updates and without information it seems as if microsoft is thinking about killing the system. Maybe initial sales were disappointing and MS cut back on resources for WP7? Maybe MS does not believe in the future of WP7? In that case why should customers and developers believe in it?

    • ensie says

      I agree wholeheartedly with this comment, in fact, I just stated the same sentiments aloud. I would be happy with small updates coming every few weeks, knowing that a larger update with big goodies was down the road. But the lack of movement by MS is frustrating, and does not inspire confidence.

  4. says

    I too agree and this is well said. We had been waiting and relying on rumours that when the update would be released, some said january, some early february, some said 7th feb, all deadlines have past way long now and me being a big fan of Windows Phone 7 (if updates are late definitely I was a big fan). No specific dates, everything is in dark. Most awaited date was 7th feb, and literally I woke several times to check if my phone is having a popup of update ( what a pitty on me :( ).

    My request to microsoft is. please don’t play with the faith of early adopters and fans.

    • Harald says

      Don’t blame Microsoft. Blame the customers who are driven by illusion and offer themselves as guinea pigs. Microsoft had no other chance than to release a crippled and incomplete product for not losing the last chance to play a significant role in the mobile phone market.

      • Paul says

        Crippled and incomplete? Give me a break. Only dead products are complete. Release was fine but delayed update is really bad. No updates and no news from MS could mean anything. Maybe update is buggy and cannot be released, maybe some super-duper feature is delaying release or maybe MS decided to abandon WP7 development altogether. Who knows. MS does not say anything.

  5. Alz says

    I agree with the post and hysonmb’s comment. I’ve got a HTC TouchPro 2 from Verzion and I’m looking to upgrade. I’ve been waiting for MSFT to make an update, but they do seem asleep. I really want to stay with Microsoft but Android is looking better and better.

    (BTW, one of the features I’m looking for is more control over the font size in emails. For as old as Windows Mobile 6.1 is, it actually works pretty good and you can see a lot of emails on one screen. The cartoonish display on Windows Phone 7 doesn’t show enough.)

  6. Jdub says

    I think a snazzier name would help them market the platform…..honestly, is there a more lame name than “Windows Phone 7″????

    • emmi says

      >honestly, is there a more lame name than “Windows Phone 7″????


      It’s like something Frank Herbert would make up, while drunk.

      But On Topic. The market needs a strong third player to keep the other two honest. Sometimes it takes a do or die situation to get organizations to finally get their act together. Let’s hope MS does.

  7. Bob says

    I’ve been TRYING to stay with my WP7 HTC, waiting for an update, anything to fix the basic flaws and missing features. Today was my last day, I’m reverting to my iPhone 3GS. The lack of updates and more importantly the lack of communication is pathetic. I told myself I would stick with it until the first update hoping that would resolve most of my issues with it. Unfortunately with no update in sight and no word from MS, I’m turning it off.

    • says

      Wait for a week. In the last five days Microsoft:

      1. Released updated WP7 developer tools.
      2. Stopped accepting apps in WP7 marketplace.
      3. Released Zune desktop software update. ZuneWmdu.dll and ZuneWmduResources.dll are now version 1407, although Zune SW is still 1404. Read http://http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2498092

      So , the DoNo update IS imminent. No doubt about it.

  8. Giffy says

    While I am looking forward to the update none of the things the phone is missing bother me much at all. I’ve missed copy and paste maybe a couple times a month and I hate ringtones. As someone who mostly just uses a phone for calls, text, email, and internet it works better than anything I’ve ever used. I can get directions quickly, I like the notification system, and its rather quick.

    For the long term success of the platform I hope they fix this stuff soon, but for me I’d be happy if they never released an update as I don’t have any real complaints.

  9. Bob Calder says

    So its out for 5 months now, the first update has been announced last November for Q1 and then refined to February, so it should be on your phone even while you read this maybe. It’s been rolled out to developers beginning of the week.

    This article is misleading in that actualy MS has been pretty open about when they would update the OS and what would be in this update. Pretty much from day 1. Oh yea, and how long did you have to wait for updates from Apple? 1 year? And didnt the update to iOS 4 make your 3GS pretty much unusable? Oh wait.. this is a MS bashing article. My bad :-)

    • G.Anton says

      It’s not MS bashing.

      Last year (November, I think), Microsoft said the update would come “within weeks”. That comment was widely reported in hundreds of articles around the web. So we waited more than “weeks” and it’s still not here, so we have every right to ask where that update is.

      The trouble is that, after this C&P update arrives, are we going to have to wait another 5 or 6 months for the next update?

  10. vissu says

    I couldn’t agree any more. Since early December 2010 I am waiting for Sprint CDMA Windows Phone. I am already using Samsung Focus on AT&T network. But the service sucks. I have Sprint as primary service for unlimited data plan phone and I have no way to know when I am going to get one.

    I was holding up my upgrade since Nov 2010. Now my plan costs goes up another 10 bucks just because I waited for three months or beyond to upgrade to a Windows Phone. Is this the penalty I need to pay 10 X 24 = 240 bucks. I could have saved this easily if I had chance to get WP7 before Jan 31 2011.

    Wake up MS and Sprint and do something about it.

  11. Bob Calder says

    Re: Verizon Sprint, Microsoft has said phones will be available for these networks on June 2011.

    Again this might seem late to some, and the iPhone 4 will be available earlier. But the iPhone 5 will be released around June as well, so forking out for an outdated iPhone 4 for a 2 year contract wouldnt be the smartest thing to do right now anyway if you want to go with Apple.

  12. Jim says

    MS really dropped the ball I think by not partnering with Verizon from the get-go. Allowing iPhone to get the jump on them was a fatal mistake. Android owes all of its success to Verizon- and now with Apple under their belts who the heck would buy into WP7? Also, the currrent flock of phones are indistinguishable from one another and you never hear anything about updates or new features or phones in the works. Really makes one wonder what the hell is going on at that company. Bring Bill Gates back and get rid of Balmer.

  13. Harald says

    There are so many great products on the market. I can’t understand why people are torturing themselves by using a too late – too little OS instead e. g. an iPhone or Android phone. Only someone who lives in total illusion will still believe that Microsoft has a future in the mobile device market. Each and every sold WP7 phone is subsidized by Microsoft with approx $ 250. How long MSFT shareholders will accept this hopeless money burning?

  14. daniel says

    Bob Calder: iOS slowed iPhone 3G down, not the 3Gs. Don’t worry, Mango will kill your current WP7 phones, too.

    Good to know everythingwm shares the same opinions as me, except I’m going to sell my phone as soon as I can.

  15. Charles says

    Well, I’ve been happily using the WP7 since release. It’s very elegant, everything works well, has the best development environment I’ve seen, and I hope they succeed.

    I love these arguments (…sarcasm…). Think about it: Microsoft wants to take their time and not release an update until it’s ready. If they released it early and there was problems, the same people who are complaining about their apparent slowness would be complaining they released the update TOO QUICKLY.

    They only released the phone in the US in November…. a pretty short time ago. Giving them bad press for being careful about a release is…well…unfair.

    Now, I could see if they had major issues. But it works well, so what’s the big deal? Of course, I’m sure Microsoft would ALSO like to be on CDMA devices today, but obviously it takes time to build up the system.

  16. Walter Dithers says

    WP7 is too little too late.
    Buy a decent phone NOW and be happy. Why suffer with Microsoft?
    Iphone 4 or the best Androids are the ONLY reasonable way to go.

  17. Jay says

    Honestly, you guys sound like some chick that is tired of waiting for that guy who never turns up! Get a freakin grip, the update is coming! I have had my HTC HD7 since day one in the UK, a month before any of you. I really think that unless you are really damn sad, fretting like some kinda whore late on her period, stop your whinning and have a little grace, its a goddamn phone!

  18. G.Anton says

    All Microsoft’s efforts are going towards (desktop) Windows 8, which will apparently run on everything, including mobiles.

    Is Windows Phone 7 just a stop-gap until Windows 8 on mobiles arrives?

  19. Alz says

    Hey you WP7 experts… I have not been able to get a clean answer to these two q’s:

    When viewing email, can you shrink the font so you can see a bunch of emails? On my HTC TouchPro 2 with WM 6.1, I can see 6 emails in landscape and 13 in portrait. From what I have seen, you can only see a few in WP7.

    Second, I have my TouchPro sync’d with Exchange and it works pretty good. BUT, this situation is a problem and I’m wondering if it’s fixed with WP7: The TouchPro is setup with Exchange and several POP3 accounts. I have a desktop that is always running and it reads the POP3 email too (as you would expect). Outlook puts those email in a folder and they sync up with the TouchPro phone very well. But, on the TouchPro, I cannot reply to those emails because the Outlook Mobile on the TouchPro uses the default Exchange account, not the POP3 account.

    In other words, the WM6.1 version of Outlook can’t tell that some emails are attached to a POP3 account. I don’t want those emails to go out from the wrong account so I effectively cannot reply to those emails. Just wondering if WP7 fixed this.

  20. Tommy says

    I don’t know if it means anything but it probably does: MS just Updated the Zune platform. Most likely in preparation for the update. Here’s hoping!

  21. eegorr says

    MS Updates installed today included a small update to Zune 4.7 – presumably something to do with the Windows Phone update, and the anticipated update to Windows Phone Developer Tools came out late last Friday.

    The first WP7 update should go live any day now, IMHO – they are getting their ducks lined up so and taking their time so that they don’t screw up the first update!

  22. Lenny says

    Microsoft is at a crossroad, and they’ve got make a decision whether or not they support this os with everything they got or let it go belly up. Not very good commericals or good ads that feature WP7 and it os. Dell dragging their ass with the Venue Pro and not getting it out on time. Apple is kicking ass and taking names, Google is putting out a new phone it’s seems almost every hour. Finally, the updates which hasn’t come out in a timely manner is killing people desire.

  23. g1nchy says

    Self confessed MS Lover, but am truly over Microsoft for now. I have copped enough egg on the face sticking up for WM and after being given a loan iPhone after my WM handset went for repairs, I was dreading going back to my WM handset.

    Since Bill Gates has gone Microsoft doesn’t have any Balls. Balls is what it takes thank god for Bill Gates they might have a cure for Malaria before Microsoft gets it’s act together with Windows Mobile and what’s up with Balmer he’s stopped sweating and dancing and now wears expensive knit vnecks and khakis.

    Just plain dumb marketing.. by people who don’t get it… sticking with Vendors that produce mediocore handsets.. Pull your finger out Microsoft nice OS now build your own handset and do it properly this time. You are dying with the likes of HTC, LG, Samsung and DELL. HTC give you a second rate handset with crap displays and cameras, LG give you awful looking handsets, Samsung give you 8gb (so 2000 and L8), Dell well they just don’t give you a handset at all unless your 1% of the population who are on T-Mobile (Unlock the dell venue pro already – everybody wants one – its the only half decent WP7 handset).

    UGHHHHHHH!!!! I remeber the days when Microsoft had WM6 and Apple just released the IPOD with the click wheel and a black and white screen. I thought to myself why arn’t people getting WM6 phones you get a phone, ipod, video and productivity that was 6-7 years ago. A lot has happened Microsoft have probably hit SNOOZE. Time to start selling more shares Balmer the end is night. Hope I can download all my content of Windows Live before that goes down hill as well and shuts up shop.. It happened to Kin Studio it can happen to Windows Live.

    • Lenny says

      g1nchy, that was very well put. The truth does hurt and Microsoft needs to hear the truth. The OS is great and it end right there with no marketing, no updates and quietness of a stalker watching you from 1000 yards. All the news is from Apple or Google and Microsoft has said a word about anything. The MWC is everything for Microsoft’s WP7 and if there’s not Major news it’s will flatter than a turd on I5.

  24. Manny says

    I wish everybody would STFU about copy and paste already. Their are more important things that need to be fixed. The bugs that are tarnishing the WP7 experience are priority!

  25. Brad says

    I really love some of the features on my new Samsung Focus WP7, however, coming from WM6.5, it does seem like a lot is missing, but it’s a different OS. Certain business functions need to be corrected immediately. I will not upload my work documents through some cloud service (EVER)… so we need a better way of getting this info onto and out of our phones. The easiest way is an Explorer app. I used explorer every day with my TP2, and now not having it is a big step backwards. I loved WM phones because they were so similar to how my computer functions. Now, WP7 feels more like an Apple computer and i dislike that about it. But overall, the phone is incredibly quick, the screen is amazing, and there are plenty of games and social stuff available. Faster app loads is a good idea…but cut & paste without explorer…what for?
    I need Zune to update something which will allow document transfers (doesn’t sound difficult)
    I need to be able to personalize my phone (i.e. custom mp3 ringtones, more accent colors other than the stock ones, font sizes, tile sizes, etc.) (can already do that on my old TP2 running a WP7 mod, so why should it take this long?)
    I need true Java and Flash abilities…not some lame YouTube app. Most of us work for a living and use the internet everyday for videos, tutorials, etc.
    Also, please add more formats for videos and music or release an all-in-one converter specifically for my phone, b/c not using AVIs and other file types is just stepping backwards again. Don’t act like everything is in mp4 and wma format (most things aren’t) and expecting your customer to convert everything is very insane.
    Fix these things and I’d have nothing to complain about. Everything on there works perfect for me so far, so just add these things and people would have no room to be angry.
    I also agree that the lack of communication might be what kills this. I called microsoft a few weeks back about the microSD issues/marketplace apps on my phone and they acted like the marketplace was run by another company, they didn’t know about the microSD issues (even though it is all over the net), etc. They need to get on the ball.
    Best solution – quicker smaller updates so people at least know you are trying hard and working. Right now, I have NO IDEA what you are doing Microsoft.

  26. Mike says

    when is sprint going to release their Windows phone? I hate how they act secretive about it. I want to upgrade but i’m afraid as soon as I do they’re going to release it. What happened to customer satisfaction?

  27. Anthony Wilson says

    Somebody tell me what’s up with this Caller ID Screener an easier way to decide which calls to take. Ensures that each time phone rings it’s something of importance

    Where can i buy this service. Thank You

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