updated 12:40 pm EST, Mon March 1, 2010
MS tells buyers even HD2 not qualified for WP7
Microsoft today created a chasm between its mobile platforms in talks with Australia's APC. The OS developer's General Manager for the Mobile Business group's Asia-Pacific region, Natasha Kwan, revealed that all Windows Mobile 6 models, even very high-end phones like the HTC HD2, would be ruled out as few if any obey the three-button guideline for the Windows Phone 7 interface. The firm's Australia Business Operations Director, Tony Wilkinson, added that the HD2 lacks some unnamed hardware features needed to make the leap.
"Because we have very specific requirements for Windows Phone 7 Series the current phones we have right now will not be upgradable," Kwan admitted.
The move would effectively cut off many sales of Windows Mobile 6 devices until the first Windows Phone 7 handsets ship late this year, as even the HD2 and other flagships would become obsolete within a matter of months. At most, existing devices will get access to future Windows Mobile 6 upgrades as Windows Phone Classic while some entry devices will be given a stripped-down equivalent known as Windows Phone Starter.
Much like the Zune HD, Microsoft is gambling on a complete reboot of a platform that has struggled to gain and in some cases lost market share to Apple, Google and others creating more modern platforms. Windows Mobile 6 lacks multi-touch, advanced media playback and similar recent features, and in some cases has led phone makers to temporarily abandon Microsoft. Motorola doesn't have any public plans to launch Windows Phone 7 devices this year while Acer, HTC, LG and others have so far announced primarily Android-based smartphones.