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Microsoft is starting slowly with the Windows Phone 7 operating system, which launched in November. The company released yesterday the first major update to the operating system with features that should have been there from the start.
The update, called “NoDo”, includes cut and paste capabilities, and enables Windows Phone 7 to run on CDMA networks like Verizon’s. But many crucial features are still missing. Lacking behind in features doesn’t help Microsoft in stealing away market share from Apple’s iOS, Android, RIM and Symbian.
The NoDo upgrade also makes small improvements to Outlook email, marketplace, WiFi and the apps now start quicker. But there is still no multitasking (the ability to run more than one application at the same time), no Flash support and no HTML5 compatibility for its web browser, the latest buzzword in web programming.
The original iPhone OS didn’t have multitasking or cut and paste when it was released in 2007. That changed with the release of iOS 4.0 last year, which brought multitasking to the iPhone (and later the iPad). And both Android and Palm’s WebOS launched with multitasking capabilities. Windows Phone 7, being so late to the market, has no excuse for ignoring the feature (and honestly, less excuse for taking so long to enable copy and paste).
Microsoft has been criticized of being slow on software updates on it’s Windows Mobile. NoDo is the first major upgrade since the release of WP7 in October. Microsoft released one minor update in February, but there were no new features, and it caused major problems for some Samsung phones.
The company is already working on version 7.5 of Windows Phone. Dubbed Mango, the next update is expected to come out later this year. Mango will include multitasking and Windows Explorer 9 with HTML5 support. The latter is especially important to Microsoft, because it will then allow Windows Phone 7 to run HTML5 web applications (like the iPhone, Android, and WebOS).
It is also possible that Microsoft will save some features until Nokia starts to ship it’s first Windows Phones. Nokia announced in February that it will be using Windows Phone 7 as the operating system for it’s smartphones. Having the world’s largest handset manufacturer behind Windows Phone 7 will definitely be a big push for the operating system. Nokia is waiting for the Mango version to come out before it starts shipping smartphones with Windows Phone 7.
Until now Windows Phone 7 has not been a huge hit. According to market researcher Comscore, Microsoft’s market share in smartphones in the US was 9.7 percent in October 2010, when Windows Phone 7 was released. In January 2011 the market share had dropped to 8.0 percent.
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