Windows Phone 7: Has Microsoft got its groove back?

Microsoft just unveiled a new phone OS that by all reports is wicked cool. 'Microsoft' and 'cool' in the same sentence?

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Meanwhile, The Register's Bill Ray says "Microsoft made a phone, and I hate it already." His point: He doesn't want a whizzy new phone. He wants a pocket computer that also lets him make phone calls. Finally, we've found someone besides Steve Ballmer who actually liked Windows Mobile.

Here's my confession: For the last two years I've owned a Windows Mobile phone with AT&T as my carrier. So I've been doubly cursed. Recently I moved to an Android phone under T-Mobile, the Motorola Cliq. I look forward to the day very soon when I can smash that WinMo POS with a sledgehammer. (But first I have to get all my stuff off of it.)

Yet I can't say the Cliq is entirely without flaws. What looks super cool in a three-minute YouTube video can be a pain in real life. Getting all your messages in one place sounds good, at first, but do I have time to wade through thousands of tweets, status updates, emails, and text messages every damned day? Not if I want to get anything else done.

So it's waaaay too early to annoint WinPho 7 as -- wait for it -- an iPhone killer. The thing won't even ship until year end. Still it's a positive sign for Microsoft fans. Along with Microsoft Surface and Project Natal, it indicates that Redmond might be finally getting over the bureaucratic tar pit in which it's been bogged down for decades.

While it's fun to imagine a world without Microsoft, the new OS suggests that we'll continue to have Redmond to kick around -- and vice versa -- well into the Mobile Internet age. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Because I can't just write about Google and Apple all the time, can I?

Is Windows Phone 7 too little, too late for Microsoft? Post your thoughts below or email me: cringe@infoworld.com.

This article, "Windows Phone 7: Has Microsoft got its groove back?" was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog.

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