The problem with being a pioneer in a particular industry is that your product becomes a target for everyone else to beat. Apple is really feeling that right now, and Microsoft is the latest company to bring forth their bid to knock the iPhone from its perch as the king of the smartphones. And unlike previous versions of Windows Mobile operating systems, this one might actually be really good.
At this week's Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, Microsoft took the wraps off their newest mobile operating system, and unlike Windows Mobile platforms of the past, which pretty much sucked at everything and looking incredibly dated, Windows Phone 7 actually looks fresh, new and - dare we say it - more modern than the current iPhone and Android offerings.
MS took a different approach to the interface itself, and unlike Android phones, chose not to attempt to make their own iPhone-esque clone out of a different device. Which is good, because that helps set this OS apart for the others. And the deep Xbox Live integration certainly doesn't hurt either.
Unfortunately, the OS won't actually start showing up on phones until the holiday season, so we'll have to hold off on final verdict until we can see how well it plays with the hardware it's mated to. But in the meantime, it looks like Cupertino has their work cut out for them. Finally.