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My first ever Windows Mobile device was a Compaq iPaq.

I really enjoyed being able to read my email on the iPaq. I used to sit on the tube or in the coffee shop writing emails, stabbing at the screen using the little stylus. When I got back to the office, I then did the ‘ActiveSync’ and boom, Outlook sent my emails.

And synching… goodness me synching was simply amazing. After years of messing around with archaic address book synching products for Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola (none of which *fully* worked), it was a delight to see my Outlook contacts replicated exactly on the iPaq.

I still remember where I was when I send and received my first mobile email via the iPaq: Just next to Starbucks on New Oxford Street. People sitting around me in the meeting were astonished as I carefully lined up my new Sony Ericsson’s infrared port with the iPaq’s infrared port. As if by magic — and over a 5 minute period — my email began to trickle in.

Just amazing!

Microsoft slowly lost its way as the market developed. For a long time, there was nothing better than an ‘SPV’ or any similar HTC device. I remember the first iPaq-with-a-modem that o2 sold, the ‘o2 XDA’ (HTC manufactured). I got that in the o2 Store on Chiswick High Road. I remember waiting breathlessly to see if the shop had any XDAs in stock and was elated when the chap walked out with one. Then there was the XDA II.

And then I hit BlackBerry. The RIM device just worked — super fast — and without having to do the rather annoying send-and-receive. Email just arrived. I went back to synching my own contacts manually with the BlackBerry, because the messaging experience was so good.

That’s when I began to leave Windows Mobile behind.

I still have a lot of love for the company, after all the benefits they afforded me. I really did appreciate being able to work remotely and answer email or telnet into a server via the XDA — annoying, but *possible*.

So with the introduction of Windows Phone 7, I am positive. Michael, our San Francisco-based contributor isn’t so happy. He’s of the mind that Apple will ‘crush’ Microsoft too.

I’m not so sure.

Michael comments that he has ‘heard many rumblings’ or ‘Microsoft essentially bribing codes to write for the new platform’. I wonder if that isn’t the reaction of a protectionist Apple fan, Michael? 😉

Developing for other platforms is a total arse for many companies, especially when they don’t have adequate resource. So any financial assistance to help cover the costs of development on a new platform — Windows Phone 7, for example — will be appreciated by developers. It’s not just the developers though, the end consumers who buy the phones looking for apps and services to play with will definitely appreciate it too. I don’t think it’s a problem. In fact I positively encourage it.

There are many things to like in Windows Phone 7. I like the user interface. I like how they’ve made photos work. I like the device experience.

I don’t know if I’d use a Windows Phone 7 device myself. I think I need a little bit more geekery. But if my mother bought one, I reckon she would be reasonably delighted.

But how will consumers react?

Positively, I think.

Let’s get a look at the full announcements from Microsoft today and across this week.

Come on Microsoft!

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