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Microsoft executive Charlie Kindel says that his company is "following in Apple’s line" with its new phone OS, when it comes to tough decisions like initially disallowing multitasking, copy and paste, and user replacable memory.
Missing features are threatening to derail the promise of Windows Phone 7

When the public first received a taste of the Windows Phone 7 OS, they liked what they saw.  The interface looked great and surprisingly different from the iPhone-like status quo.  And many were excited that Microsoft was pushing its Xbox gaming dedication and Zune successes into its new phone project.

Then came the bad news.  At launch here would be no copy and paste, no application multitasking, and perhaps most importantly, no memory card support.  The lack of copy and paste can be perhaps excused if Microsoft merely wants to make sure to perfect it before airing it in finished form.  Likewise, mobile multitasking is no easy chore and while it's disappointing that the feature won't be ready at launch, perhaps it's better that Microsoft did things right then released a sloppy, battery-chowing implementation.

But no access to replaceable memory? That's a new one for Windows-based smartphones -- Microsoft's Todd Brix says that denying users access to replaceable memory makers for a "simpler" and "more satisfying" user experience.

At the Dutch DevDay event, interviewed Microsoft's Charlie Kindel about the new phone project and Microsoft's plans to fix its shortcomings.

Kindel admits the release of Windows Phone 7 later this year will be far from "feature complete", but he says that things like multitasking and the ability to customize your home screen will eventually be added, via Zune software updates (the new phone OS shares a code base with the Zune media players) or over-the-air releases for smaller updates.  Unlike past versions of Windows Mobile, Microsoft will strive to have all its phones operating on the same OS, and will not allow OEM specific versions of the operating system.

Kindel says HTC, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, LG, and ASUSTek, are all cooking up Windows Phone 7 devices.  He is confident that Microsoft will be able to launch products later this year, stating, "When I see where we are today in terms of speed and stability of the OS, I am sure that we get it."

Why the delay on the multi-tasking?  It's hard, says Kindel.  He states, "For example if you have an application in the background a GPS position to other applications, can pass, it is required that the application can run in the background. For such scenarios, we will build multi-tasking again."

Kindel gave no indication that Microsoft ever plans to let users have free access to replaceable memory in the new OS.

While the phone doesn't look much like the iPhone, he also says that his company is following in Apple's footsteps when it comes to developing the new OS.  He states, "That’s right, in many cases we are following in Apple’s line. We found the user experience provided by Windows Phone 7 required sharp choices. It may be true that some of these choices match those of Apple. At the end of the day it is for us both about the user experience of smartphones."

The real question is whether users will accept that line and purchase cell phones that don't support replaceable memory (which Android does), multi-tasking (which Apple, Palm, Android will all soon do), and copy and paste (also available in all the major competitors).  And a second important question is, when these features someday arrive, will buyers really greet them with open arms?  Those are some tough questions for Microsoft's ambitious phone reboot.

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No expandable memory a deal breaker for me...
By funkyd99 on 4/12/2010 12:20:11 PM , Rating: 2
I was excited for the Win 7 phones until I read this article. How does leaving out a Micro SD slot make a phone "simpler" and "more satisfying"? Oh, that's right, it doesn't... it just allow MS to money-grab based on the amount of on-board flash.

Every dumbphone I've owned in the past 4 years had Micro SD slots, and it doesn't get much simpler than a dumbphone...

RE: No expandable memory a deal breaker for me...
By Suntan on 4/12/2010 12:35:49 PM , Rating: 3
All valid points, but I offer you this, look at the *average* iPhone purchaser... Do they look like they would even know what you are talking about when you say the word "Transflash?" or "Micro-SD?"

My bet is that 99% of the TF-slot equiped dumbphones out there are sitting empty. Most likely because the *average* phone user doesn't know what it is, where to get it, or even how to correctly insert it.

I could only imagine the look of complete stupification that I would get from my mother-in-law if I handed her a tiny little transflash card and told her to "turn off" her phone to install it... I doubt most people even know how to turn off their phones.

That is the market MS is going for, the iPhone market. Not the market that wants to buy an Andriod because they are salivating about the prospects of hacking it.

Just pointing out reality.


RE: No expandable memory a deal breaker for me...
By funkyd99 on 4/12/2010 2:24:48 PM , Rating: 3
I think you may be underestimating the average user... anyone who owns a digital camera knows what a memory card is. Anyone who goes to Best Buy will see a rack full of them. I would say the Micro SD slots aren't used in 99% of dumbphones because people don't typically use their dumbphones for music and pictures (or the slot is hidden behind the battery cover.)

My LG enV3 has an external door labeled "Micro SD" along with a little picture of how to insert it, and I've never powered down the phone when inserting or removing the card. It's easy to change the save location in the options. This isn't complicated stuff if you know what to use it for (aka if it's marketed).

I'm also going to guess the average iPhone user is a bit younger than your mother-in-law (no offense), many with sizable music collections. Microsoft could use expandable memory as a way to differentiate them from the competition... instead the they'll have two versions of every phone: the reasonable-priced 16GB (or 32GB) version and the price-gouger edition with twice the memory.

By Alexstarfire on 4/13/2010 3:18:47 AM , Rating: 2
For real. I can certainly understand his position if the phone has this slot hidden under the battery cover as he pointed out. On most smartphones if the memory card slot is under the battery cover then you'd have to pull out your battery, AKA turn off your phone, to do anything with the card. My phone isn't like that though. The memory slot is under the battery cover, technically, but I can remove/insert it without turning the phone off and it works just fine.

Some things might make sense, but removing memory card capability screams exactly what you said. They just want to make more money by doing it that way. WinMob 7 phones are sounding more and more disappointing every with every article that comes out about it.

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook

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