updated 06:15 pm EST, Sat January 7, 2012
Pair of sources seed Nokia Ace launch info
Two anonymous sources have spoken to a pair of outlets that may have confirmed the Nokia Ace, also known as the Lumia 900, coming to AT&T. Both Bloomberg and the New York Times received very similar information, possibly from the same contacts, that the flagship Windows Phone would be launched on AT&T at CES next week. The former trade publication supported beliefs that it would carry 4G LTE and understood that AT&T was aiming for $249 on a contract.
Neither had a ship date for the Ace, although one earlier tip had it coming on March 18. It's commonly thought to be carrying a 4.3-inch screen and a front camera that were both missing on the smaller Lumia 800 available primarily in Europe.
The apparent leaks come as Windows Phone's software lead, Joe Belfiore, told the NYT in an interview about the formative process of the mobile OS. He was honest and acknowledged that Apple's iPhone launch in 2007 was the impetus behind Windows Phone. Microsoft wanted to have something "competitive, but not the same," possibly making a jab at how Android followed the iPhone model more closely.
"Apple created a sea change in the industry in terms of the kinds of things they did that were unique and highly appealing to consumers," Belfiore said.
Other executives noted that Microsoft made the decision early on to abandon its traditional obsession with legacy support in engineering Windows Phone. In December 2008, engineering head Terry Myerson organized a meeting that ultimately became a seven-hour "cage match" to settle on the strategy once and for all. No one was allowed to leave until they had decided what if anything of Windows Mobile was worth keeping. Eventually, the team decided that all of Windows Mobile was too outdated to be worth keeping.
Ex-employee and now iOS app developer Charlie Kindel likened it to Aron Ralston's decision to sever his own arm when it was trapped in the Utah desert, an incident made more famous by the movie 127 Hours. "This boulder comprised of Apple and Blackberry rolled on our arm," he said, "[and] Microsoft sat there for three or four years struggling to get out."
Some of Microsoft's slowness to adapt may have come from poor management by now-ousted mobile leader Andy Lees. Employees have accused him of sabotaging the Kin and embodying Microsoft's traditional aversion to anything that didn't tie into an existing Microsoft platform, demanding a rewrite of a custom OS made by former Danger staffers in favor of a Windows CE base that delayed the Kin by a year and ruined its chances. That and poor Windows Phone sales so far may have seen him punished with a reassignment.