Like the iPhone, WP7 handsets will be limited to downloading officially approved apps from the company store (except for custom enterprise apps for employees). Like the iPhone, there will be no true multitasking (although certain selected apps will be allowed to run in the background). There will be no support for removable memory cards, no file manager, no using the phone as a USB mass storage device, no replacement of default apps. And, just like the iPhone until two years’ of customer grumbling drove Apple to rectify the situation, WP7 phones will not support the basic operation of highlighting, cutting and pasting text.
“It’s actually an intentional design decision,” Windows Phone executive Todd Brix told CNet. “We try to anticipate what the user wants so copy and paste isn’t necessary,” “smart linking” things like phone numbers to the contact list or addresses to maps. Brix said Microsoft chose to focus on features that were used by at least 80 percent of customers, and cut-and-paste didn’t make the cut. “We tried to focus on what the core use cases were,” Brix said. “Certainly there will be some people that won’t be happy with some of those decisions.” Like anyone intending to use Word or other Office apps on their phones, I imagine.
Mind you, much of what Microsoft has planned for WP7 should please developers and entertain customers, but the wish lists for the next release will be going strong long before the first version hits the market.
Elsewhere in the wide world of mobile devices:
* A new study commissioned by GetJar confirms that apps are where it’s at. Independent consulting firm Chetan Sharma Consulting noted in its report that, led by Apple’s example, the number of app stores has grown from eight to 38 over the past year. According to the study: “The overall mobile apps downloads are expected to increase from over 7 billion in 2009 to almost 50 billion by 2012.
The revenue from mobile apps, which includes both paid downloads and revenue from advertising and virtual goods, is expected to increase from $4.1 billion in 2009 to $17.5 billion by 2012. “It is easy to see how mobile apps will eclipse the traditional desktop Internet,” GetJar CEO Ilja Laurs said. “It makes perfect sense that mobile devices will kill the desktop.”
* Starting Thursday, Verizon will be rolling out the Android 2.1 update (initially available only on the Nexus One) to Droid owners, with features like pinch-to-zoom in native apps, expanded voice-to-text ability, the 3D Gallery display and Live Wallpapers. And Google announced that the experimental Gesture Search feature is now available for phones running Android 1.6.