Okay – this is a bit of a rant, but what better place than my blog.
Set the way-back machine for this time last year, October 2009. The HTC HD2 was just being released, (1GHz Snapdragon, 4.3” capacitive screen) One of the best (and the last, as it turns out) Windows Mobile phones ever made – and my own personal favourite to this day. It is STILL functionally competitive a year later… however getting a bit off-topic.
In October 2009, the HD2 was released and there was no news about it in my local market (Australia). Having an eye on this sort of thing I imported one immediately – and the usual response from anyone I demoed it to was “Wow – what’s that!?!? Its like an iPhone, but it does more stuff!” Followed shortly after by “Where can I buy one” to which I had to reply “You can’t.”
About 6 months later, it became evident what happened. Telstra bought the exclusive rights to release the HD2 and then shelved it. They eventually released it in March 2010, safely in amongst the iPad, Windows Phone 7 Barcelona announcements and mounting iPhone4 excitement. The HD2 was available at an outrageous price on Australia’s most over-priced carrier, with an 850MHz radio, so you couldn’t put it on any other carrier. Case closed – product failure.
Fast-forward to today. The HTC HD7 – which is the same hardware as the HD2 a year ago, has been snaffled up by Telstra for exclusive use on its over-priced 850MHz network.
So it has been a week since Windows Phone 7’s world-wide release and joint announcement by Telstra and Microsoft, and only 3 days to go until people around the world will be able to buy Windows Phone 7 handsets. You would expect Telstra to begin marketing this new exclusive handset – maybe even taking pre-orders? Lets take a look at their homepage:
Nope – in terms of smartphones its the iPhone4, a couple of Android phones from Sony Ericson and HTC or nothing. No mention whatsoever of the HD7 or the existence of Windows Phone 7. It seems Telstra are going to treat the HD7 like they did the HD2. Shelve it for 6 months, wait until its not a threat to their other products, and then release it at a ridiculously high price.
Surely this must just be a mistake by Telstra, lets take a look at the homepages of the other major Telco’s in Australia.
Nope- “Get your Apple iPhone4 on 3”
No WP7 here: “iPhone4 This changes everything. Again.”
Again - “iPhone4 This changes everything. Again.”
Hmmm – I think I see a pattern here. No evidence that Windows Phone 7 exists and will be available to consumers on Friday. It is very frustrating that Microsoft has:
- Made a great product from the ground up in 12 months.
- Raised developer awareness, and secured some great release applications
- Made deals with hardware manufacturers to get devices made. Okay maybe on out-dated hardware from a year ago, but enough to be competitive.
But they seem to have missed organising a critical component in the launch – The carriers. If consumers can’t buy phones, then its going to be hard for it to be a success.
So its a replay from a year ago, and as usual I have ordered my HTC HD7 from Hong Kong because there is no other way to buy one on a 900/2100MHz network in Australia. Most consumers won’t do this – even if they knew the product existed.
Its a sad situation, because at no time have the reviewers and journalists been overly negative about Windows Phone 7 – all saying it has much potential to be a success, however something crucial has definitely already failed for Windows Phone 7.
UPDATE: If you also want to pre-order an unlocked HD7 WWE 900/2100MHz phone the contact Agnes Chan at Expansys Hong Kong:
Office: +852 2416 6700
Fax: +852 2411 1362
Email: agnes.chan (at) expansys.com