Windows Phone 7 Wins Praise but Trouble Lurks

Enthusiastic impressions of the Windows Phone 7 OS heat up the smartphone race, but Microsoft is still behind the eight ball.

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the sole iPhone wireless carrier, cannot handle the amount of data that multimedia-drunk iPhone users are consuming. Hence, its network is squeezed and a nasty backlash has followed. Given AT&T's current bad reputation, and also the amount of iPhone users it supports, it seems like a poor choice for the first WP7s.

Little Control over Hardware Design

WP7's will be in the same boat as Android-based phones: The hardware is designed by someone else. Whether the phone maker is LG, Samsung, HTC or Sony Ericsson, Microsoft won't have much of a say in how the hardware looks. (HTC has confirmed it will launch the first smartphone running WP7 in the fourth quarter of this year).

Apple, RIM and Palm have the advantage of developing both the hardware and software. Google does not make hardware, but it rectified this problem somewhat with its branded Nexus One phones. But Microsoft will have to rely on hardware makers to make the body as sexy as WP7's soul. And to compete with the iPhone for consumer attention, you better have a hot body.

Shane O'Neill is a senior writer at CIO.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/smoneill. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter at twitter.com/CIOonline.

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