Windows Phone Making a Mango Push

Carl Weinschenk
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Seven Sexy Smartphones

This latest batch of smartphones calls attention to glasses-free 3D technology, front- and rear-facing cameras and Snapdragon processors.

The most public fights in the fascinating mobile operating system wars are over the number of phones and carriers using the platform and, of course, the level of subscribers each can brag about. Slightly under the radar, however, is the equally telling battle over the hearts and minds of developers.

Earlier this week, IT Business Edge posted a feature I wrote on the status of Windows Phone, which has dropped the "7" from its name. One of the points made to me was that Microsoft is benefiting by the abandonment by HP of webOS.

Another important step in the evolution of Windows Phone is the Mango update. InformationWeek reports that Microsoft is loading up App Hub with applications optimized for Mango. The story, which says that Mango has 500 new features, makes the clear impression that the company is trying to strike while the iron is hot:

Microsoft also shipped a release candidate (RC) of Windows Phone SDK 7.1 for developers. The kit includes a "Go Live" license that allows developers to publish their Mango apps on the Windows Phone App Hub. It also includes the completed Marketplace Test Kit, which lets developers test their apps to ensure they meet Microsoft's technical certification requirements before uploading to the App Hub.

Know Your Mobile India notes that while it still is dwarfed by the Apple App Store and the Android Market, the Windows Phone Marketplace has grown from 11,000 to 30,000 in a short timeframe. There also are new phones, such as the HTC Omega -- early pictures are posted at Laptop -- that could generate more interest.

This post, from Matt Miller at ZDNet, is startling. We are accustomed to thinking of Windows Phone as struggling to keep up with iOS and Android. Miller makes a different point: He says it's better-or at least more stable.

It's not a short post. He summarizes the other operating systems: Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Symbian, webOS and, finally, Windows Phone (he still uses the "7"). It's a ringing endorsement:

I get comments from readers that Windows Phone 7 is junk and think these people likely have never used WP7 or just have a hatred for anything from Microsoft. I have been getting more comments from readers that have actually tried WP7 and the majority of them agree that it is a very good mobile operating system that continues to get better.

The bottom line is that this is a turbulent environment-wonderfully so. And it also is a chance for Microsoft to reinvent itself as an underdog struggling with a competitive product against mighty competitors. How many people would have predicted that a decade ago?

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