Smartphone giants and wannabes square off

iOS and Android jockey for supremacy, while Windows Phone and BlackBerry scramble for footing

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But honestly, guys, how much are you really missing? InfoWorld's Galen Gruman delivered a review this week that rules it's strike three for Microsoft's Windows Phone. Windows Phone 8 adds basic compatibility with corporate Exchange server security settings but not much else, according to Gruman. And "Windows Phone's user interface remains a frustrating blend of simplistic and difficult, with occasional touches of brilliance that render the poor usability even more frustrating."

In the really-reaching-for-good-news department: Microsoft did announce this week that it will issue an over-the-air fix next month for a problem that has caused some Windows Phone 8 phones to randomly reboot themselves. And there are reports that a Microsoft will launch its own-brand Surface smartphone next year. Those rumors are based on word that Foxconn has apparently received orders from Microsoft to manufacture such a smartphone. Why a Surface smartphone? For the same reason Microsoft released its own Surface tablet: Because device makers just don't seem that interested or committed, leaving only Microsoft to actively fly the flag.

Every one of Microsoft's missteps with Windows Phone is giving BlackBerry a new shot at life, says Gruman in this week's Mobile Edge blog. Research in Motion has been on a roll of late: With BlackBerry 10 due to launch on Jan. 30, 2013, the company is moving to stem vital government users' defection to the iPhone by for the first time having a BlackBerry product FIPS-certified ahead of release. The certification means that U.S. government agencies around the globe will be able to deploy BlackBerry 10 smartphones and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 from the day of launch

And this week RIM introduced the BlackBerry Dev Alpha C, which is a smartphone prototype that developers can use to test their applications. The company's latest move aims to ensure that applications can run on the new BlackBerry 10 QWERTY smartphone when it ships.

RIM seems to be making the right moves for a successful launch of BlackBerry 10, which could help it hang onto its No. 3 position in the smartphone market ahead of the also-ran Windows Phone.

This story, "Smartphone giants and wannabes square off," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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