Next Windows 7 Phone -- Not Much Will Be New

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Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 blog has details about what will be new in its smartphone operating system update --- and there's not much. To catch up to the iPhone and Android, Microsoft needs to do more than what it's promising.

On the blog, Microsoft lists three features --- cut and paste, faster-loading apps and games, and a better Marketplace search. And that's it.

Copy and paste should have been built into the operating system from the beginning, especially because Windows Phone 7 ships with a mobile version of Office. And Android and the iPhone already have copy and paste, of course.

As for faster-loading apps and games, and a better Marketplace search, that's certainly nice, but won't set anyone's heart aflutter.

All in all, it's an underwhelming list. With the update, Windows Phone 7 will still lag behind Android and the iPhone. It won't, for example, allow you to tether your phone via USB and use it as a broadband modem for a PC or Mac, something that both the iPhone and Android can do. And it won't let you use your phone as a mobile WiFi hot spot, like the Android. There's plenty more it can't do as well.

If Microsoft wants to catch up to the competition, it'll need not just to match Android and iPhone features, but exceed them. The initial version of Windows Phone 7 didn't do that, and it looks as if the first update won't, either. That's bad news for Microsoft's mobile strategy, unless the company plans to underpromise and over-deliver.

This story, "Next Windows 7 Phone -- Not Much Will Be New" was originally published by Computerworld.

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