Perhaps most compelling is the continued emphasis on creating an experience more so than an enterprise "phone." It appears that Microsoft has learned a lesson that is more apparent every day. People want smartphones as much for personal use as for business use.
But Microsoft is saying little about what it does plan for the enterprise with its Windows Phone 7 Series. They say more is to come in the next few weeks but clearly the emphasis is on the consumer market, not the enterprise.
Network World did a little sniffing around Mix10 and did get a few tidbits of what we should expect:
- Windows Phone 7 is no longer enterprise-centric but the user experience is still catching the fancy of independent software vendors that want to sell it into the business market. The iPhone and Google Android are proof enough that people will find relevance for smartphones in the enterprise even if the devices are meant primarily for consumers.
- A developer community is ready and waiting to make applications for Windows Phone 7. Developers can create applications within a development environment they understand. Network World notes: "Visual Studio programmers can drag and drop controls onto a Windows Phone surface, bring in existing Silverlight libraries or Azure cloud projects, and wire them up to data sources, behaviors and services, just like they do when writing software for a Windows PC."
- Microsoft is expected to offer a secure area within its Marketplace to accomodate enterprise applications. The intention wold be to provide a place where enterprise customers could download company specific software or the framework for their own marketplace. This would provide IT administrators with ways to administer applications within the enterprise.
- It's uncertain what security features will become part of Windows Phone 7. Microsoft has historically provided Microsoft Exchange Active Sync which enables Windows Mobile devices the ability to sync with Microsoft Exchange. Actice Sync has offered a number of security features such as remote data wipe and encrypted connections. Will this rich security framework be kept intact? With such a consumer focus, it's uncertain what will come of it.
- Windows Phone 7 includes an Office Hub, allowing people to create and edit Microsoft Office documents. Microsoft has put a lot of effort into making Sharepoint a mobile site. Windows Phone 7 will integrate with Microsoft Exchange. It appears users may set up tiles within Windows Phone 7 to edit and share Sharepoint documents.
It appears that Microsoft may not necessarily have to focus on the enterprise. Its rich user experience may be enough to get people interested. Core enterprise features will only help give Windows Phone 7 a chance to compete more effectively.