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July 13, 2010 / Joe Osborne

Coffee Talk: Look at That Shiny New Phone, and That One… and That One

Welcome to Geekadelphia’s weekly discussion column, Cofffee Talk, where we talk about the finer topics concerning video games, technology and all the other things you can’t talk about with your slightly-less-geeky friends. Have questions or suggestions? Send an email to geekadelphia@gmail.com or tweet with us. Follow me on Twitter if you’d like to keep this week’s discussion alive.

I’m sure some of you are probably still spamming the F5 key on your blog of choice  for their coverage of the Windows Phone 7 Series unveiling in Barcelona. Oh, and look what time it is! Do you hear the well oiled wheels of that train careening into the speculation station? It’s right on time and today’s ride is free, so hop in and let’s get this started.

Right off the bat, it’s obvious Microsoft has taken the Windows Mobile brand and trashed it for something much more reminiscent of the Zune. The super basic color scheme on a colorless backdrop seems as if it’s meant to emphasize the elements users can engage. It sure does look sleek and smooth in motion, but let’s not talk too much about aesthetics and get to what we can on the nitty gritty. More discussion on what the phone could mean for the future after the break.

It’s been confirmed that everything on the new Windows Phone 7 brand will have a single look, feel and functionality meaning no more custom UIs and SKUs from different manufacturers and cellular carriers. It’s good to see Microsoft taking notes from Apple on recognizable branding (as well as form and function) while maintaining their relationships with hardware and cellular partners. Now, we have three power players in the mobile market each with recognizable brands, UIs and even browsers. Who will turn out on top?

Will Windows Phone 7 be enough to trounce the juggernaut in the form of a delicious fruit and beat the green little robot to it? Well, perhaps it’s a matter of accessibility. The iPhone, outside of jailbreak, is only available with AT&T while Google’s Android phones are available with all four major carriers. Windows Phone 7 is said to be compatible with over 10 carriers worldwide including the top four in the U.S. It’s uncertain whether Apple will be able to compete at this point with just AT&T and their foreign counterparts.

Another point of consideration is web media capabilities. While it has been confirmed that Adobe and Microsoft are working on patching Flash into the OS sometime after the phone’s release, Apple still continues to deny Adobe Flash access. With HTML 5 slowly picking up speed this may not matter in the long run, but will account for something in the Windows Phone’s infancy. Not to mention the recent word flinging that has been going on; Microsoft would be missing out if they didn’t highlight Flash compatibility as a major point.

Considering these two points surrounding the release of the Windows Phone 7 and everything else you’ve seen come out of Barcelona today, what do you think of Microsoft’s new device? Does it have what it takes to at least compete with the ubiquity of the iPhone?

An even better question: with the three OS and web browser powerhouses officially seriously competing with one another, is each offering unique enough to be a viable competitor? Each company offers a place to buy games, apps and music as well as fully functional email and browsing. So, what are the features that will keep your iPhone or Android phone glued to your hands or throw you into the arms of your favorite cellular provider, Windows Phone 7 in hand?

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