Wondering why the banks are closed today? Sure, there was that Columbus fellow who sailed the ocean blue 518 years ago and ended up near Cleveland (I think). But the real cause for celebration stems from the great northwest.
Because today is the day Microsoft unofficially unveiled its Windows Phone 7 OS. That means today is when we find out whether Microsoft will continue to be relevant to the day-to-day lives of most consumers or will just be some company that enterprise geeks who read InfoWorld grumble about.
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(Also, I understand Windows Phone 7 day has been declared a national holiday in 27 countries, most of them lacking vowels in their names.)
Anyone with more than 16 brain cells to rub together realizes the mobile OS is the future. Yes, there will always be desktops (and wall tops, car tops, refrigerator tops, and so on), but they will be touchscreen and gesture driven, run lightweight apps, and have a constant high-speed-but-still-not-fast-enough connection to the InterWebs.
In other words, they'll run a mobile OS even if they're attached to devices that don't move. And that changes everything. "Clicking" an on-screen icon may soon become as archaic a notion as "dialing" a phone. Folders? Hierarchical menus? Screens of death in a variety of eye-pleasing colors? Fahgeddaboutit.
Even Steve Ballmer understands this. The question is whether Microsoft can execute on a vision that aggressively rejects nearly every notion of personal computing the company has held dear for 25 years, and convince enough people to come along for the ride. IDG News quotes the Mad Ballmer from this morning's press confab:
"We wanted the Windows Phone to be delightful across a range of hardware devices, through a range of scenarios, and a [range] of different software experiences," Ballmer said.
Microsoft wanted to make Phone 7 "always delightful" and "wonderfully mine," he said, emphasizing the way that users will be able to customize the user interface.