Feeds

Can Windows Phone 7 gain momentum with all eyes on Apple?

iPhone 4G overshadows TechEd

The essential guide to IT transformation

Today will see the long-awaited start of the Apple World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), and the expected announcement of the fourth iPhone. Amid all the hype that is sure to surround the event and the keynote of CEO Steve Jobs, it will be difficult for Microsoft to gain much attention for its own annual developer event, TechEd, also taking place this week. However, this will be the best chance so far to evaluate the chances of probably its last bid to gain ground on Apple in the mobile world, with Windows Phone 7 (WP7).

On the Apple front, there will be the iPhone 4G and accompanying OS 4. Other likely debuts include a streamed, cloud-based version of iTunes, based on the defunct LaLa service that Apple bought at the turn of the year, updates to Apple TV and a rival to Microsoft Xbox Live for the iPhone, creating a gaming center.

More of that later of course, but in the meantime what can Microsoft do to create momentum around WP7? At the least, the firm will have to convince developers of its credibility with demonstrations of some real world handset prototypes and beta releases of the OS. The other key theme is expected to be enhancements to the cloud services strategy, particularly the Azure platform.

According to John Cox at Network World, Windows developers are very impressed with the "radically redesigned" user interface for WP7, but they are still having to rely on PC-based emulators, since handset prototypes have remained strictly slideware to date. Cox's surveys of developers have found that their key mobile wishlist consists of handsets on which to experiment, details of the WP7 Marketplace and its approval processes, and more information on enterprise features such as APIs. And of course, they need a beta release OS and beta tools - the system is currently in a pre-beta stage Microsoft calls Community Developer Preview.

Although Microsoft's most important handset partners, HTC and LG, have both promised early WP7 smartphones this year, it is not clear whether either will show off prototypes at TechEd. And Cox believes Microsoft will lose its early traction among programmers if it does not present a convincing future strategy, with promises in areas like enabling controlled multitasking or local storage. It has an unusually strong starting position, with the developer verdict so far being very positive, but this advantage could be easily lost if fears about the code's immaturity and uncertainties about WP7's future developments are not addressed.

Back with Apple, going into the release of iPhone 4, the firm has run into yet another controversy with its own developer community. This surrounds support for widgets, currently vital in most mobile software strategies.

Software houses claim Apple is deleting widget apps from its App Store, and aims to remove all widget apps from its shopfront. This could be a prelude to the incorporation of homescreen widgets into iPhone OS 4.0. In response to developer queries, an email response from Steve Jobs' mailbox said: "We are not allowing apps that create their own desktops. Sorry." Homescreen widget functionality is already available in Android, PCWorld points out.

Copyright © 2010, Wireless Watch

Wireless Watch is published by Rethink Research, a London-based IT publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter delivers in-depth analysis and market research of mobile and wireless for business. Subscription details are here.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
EE plonks 4G in UK Prime Minister's backyard
OK, his constituency. Brace yourself for EXTRA #selfies
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.