It could purely be coincidence that the Microsoft Booth is located adjacent to the Nokia booth (which was promoting MeeGo by the way). On display were several HTC devices (the HTC Trophy feels just like the Mozart) and the new Sasung OMNIA with a big ass screen.
The Nokia booth focused more on developers and had nothing about the partnership between Microsoft and Nokia to produce smartphones running Windows Phone 7. Quite understandable as this announcement was made a day before MWC 2011. What is interesting to note is Nokia’s push for MeeGo as a platform being ‘currently developed’ as a long term open source project. Does this mean Windows Phone 7 is a filler? Only time will tell!
I heard from a source within the industry that WP7 devices in Asia are not SIM locked. This seems to be a standards thing but I couldn’t find anything on the Internet to back the claims. It’s not a controversy. That’s really just how it’s supposed to be. Since I was the first person to source a device from a telco I decided to test it out.
Validated. My SMART-issued device is still an open line. Here it is working on a Globe SIM which I borrowed:
I’m not familiar with the treaties that make this phenomenon possible (these are for WP7 phones sold in Asia only) but this is definitely a good thing for both Microsoft and SMART if this is consistent across the board. The benefits to Microsoft are obvious. But it is also beneficial to SMART because:
SMART subscribers can still get this phone at a good retention price (got mine at PHP 5,750 compared to the almost PHP 30k you have to shell out for brand new). It’s not like they’re going to switch once they get the phone.
I honestly find SMART’s data consistent and fast compared to any of the other two telcos. So for me, nothing changes.
You have the option of using a foreign SIM card when roaming to another country as opposed to being tied to roaming rates. This is actually great for me because I have a collection of SIM cards from all the countries I visit.
Fun times. If you have a WP7 device, I urge you to try this experiment to further validate the claim.
EDIT: I heard from someone in the industry that Windows Phone 7 devices issued in Asia are not SIM locked. So I tested it. It’s true: a telco issued WP7 device is “open line” and not locked to a provider (i.e. you can stick a SUN Cellular SIM into the SMART-issued WP7 device and it will run just fine). This is actually very interesting news.
It’s been almost a week with the HTC Mozart, the very first Windows Phone 7 in the country. Unlike others who have appropriated their WP7 devices outside the telcos, this is actually the very first official release in the country. If you open the battery, there’s a SMART Communications sticker pasted onto the circuit board. I purchased the phone under my retention plan with SMART under my regular plan 2500 but had to shell out a bit of cash (with a discount). Apparently I am the first customer in the country who has availed of this via retention. Total cash out: PHP 5750.00 not bad considering the unit costs about PHP 30,000.00. Well, that’s the price you pay for being an “early adopter.” I’m sure in the coming months we will see much cheaper handsets in the same way Android phones are releasing units at a 10k price point.
Before I continue let me just say that I haven’t felt the adrenaline of chancing upon a gadget like this since the early 2000’s. Back then when it was a battle between Palm and Windows Mobile, I’d have Elbert Cuenca calling us to hurry over to Microwarehouse to see a then flagship m515 in the flesh, complete with blurry photos. I had been working on getting this scoop for a while and finally, effort paid off.
This is an industry exclusive. I’m apparently the first person outside Microsoft Philippines to be able to hold the new HTC Mozart, the first Windows Phone 7 device launching before the holidays. Thinking of an iPhone for Christmas? Hold your horses first.
Above: The new events calendar is color coded to match different synched accounts (via email including Google Calendar, Microsoft Exchange Server) and yeah even Facebook Events … all color coded baby.