In the past couple of years, smartphones have graduated from being a fringe segment in the mobile phone space to a category that is mainstream.
The vast scope of opportunity and growth that smartphones present has attracted a lot of new companies like Google to make their foray into this segment.
However, a few long-timers like Microsoft have been caught napping though. Half a decade back, Microsoft was a leader in the smartphone space accounting for close to 25% of all devices sold. However, since then, the dynamics have significantly shifted in favor of the newer entrants like Apple and Google who have without doubt revolutionized the market. While smartphones running on Windows still form a significant chunk of the market, there is no gainsaying the fact that Windows based smartphones are not perceived to be in the same league as that of the iPhone or Nexus One.
Now Microsoft is making a fresh bid to regain lost market space. According to reports on the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft will unveil a new version of their mobile operating system, Windows Mobile 7 come Monday at the Mobile World Congress at Barcelona. Not much is known about the new operating system though WSJ reports that the new software will bring tighter controls in the level of integration between the software and hardware. WSJ writes:
“New devices based on Windows Mobile 7, due out later this year, will be the first to reflect a much tighter focus at Microsoft on how its software works with hardware made by other companies. In the past, Microsoft has taken much the same approach in mobile software as it has in the PC market, licensing its operating system to nearly any hardware maker that wanted to install it on their systems.”
With iPhone caught in a stiff competition from platforms like Android and WebOS, Microsoft’s bid could be seen as a year or two too late. However, with rumors about Microsoft planning its own line of hardware and also considering the relationship that it has enjoyed with other handset manufacturers, it will interesting to see how Microsoft takes on competition like Apple’s iPhone, which is going to be daunting task. What do you think?
Folks at Engadget are reporting that Microsoft might call their next generation mobile OS, Windows Phone 7 series based on the billboards at the Mobile World Congress 2010.
[via Business Week]