The smartphone market is already red hot, so I must admit I was among those less than excited about the idea that Microsoft is jumping back into the fray. After all, we have Android, the iPhone, Blackberry, and others. Microsoft? The company regularly behind the curve when it comes to hipness? A smartphone?
And, because the business world works this way, I, and others, were wrong. I've spent some time with the new Windows Phone software (thanks to a demo model from HTC and AT&T), and it works. Really well. Don't just take my word for it. We brought the phone to several smartphone shoppers and, to a person, they were impressed, too.
The reason it works so well is because it doesn't try to be everything to everybody. In other words, it doesn't even try to migrate Windows from your PC to the phone. I'm told by executives that they started from scratch, with not a single shred of Windows PC code brought over to the phone. That's a great idea.
After all, we love our phones to do lots of stuff, but still want them to be easy to use. The best ones, from Palm to Android to iPhone, have all been chock full of features, but easy to use. Not so with Windows Phones in the past.
Is this Microsoft turning over a new leaf? Or just managing to put a solid crew on the phone project, and not getting in their way?
Either way, it's worth checking out if you're shopping for a new smartphone ($199 with a 2-year contract). It's not perfect - none of them are, in my opinion - but it's worth a try. All in all, it's more competition, and that's good for consumers.