Many people say that Windows Phone 7 is a threat to iPhone because they are bringing in a super platform with a choice of multiple designs and multiple carriers with great Enterprise and gaming support and maintaining the lucrative integration that iPhone provides. Many also say that Windows Phone 7 is a threat to Android because it solves the problem of Apple’s draconian policies, gives choice to customers and all this without fragmenting the OS all over the place.
However, I beg to differ. Windows Phone 7 is a threat to the world wide web and web apps. It plans to help the developers and users by going one up on fragmentation of Android but in the process will fragment the web app world itself. This is because the browser in WP7 is based on Internet Explorer 7. Yes, not IE 9, not IE8, but IE7, which is already four years old now.
Right now, if you have to do a web app, you can do it in HTML5, CSS3 etc and assume that it will work over most mobile handsets out there. Enter WP7 with its archaic browser and the developer has one more headache to solve. His app will be, in most cases, incompatible with the “new” platform and so he will have to code another version that works on IE7 as well. This will not only result in wasted time and effort but in fact, the developer may even have to hold back on features that might not work well on this ugly duckling which will hold the whole pack down for God knows how much more time.
So, there it is. If the Android fragmentation reports are true, you can just buy another handset like an iPhone but this comeback-from-the-grave monster will fragment the mobile web app world itself so that you won’t have any reprieve whichever phone you buy. So, I appeal to you. If you want a better mobile future, talk about it, write about it and let Microsoft know that it can and must do better.