WinMo7 My cell phone contract expires in a couple weeks and I was all set to buy an iPhone.

The iPhone had started to take off when I got my current phone / contract but at that the time Microsoft paid for a significant portion of my phone bill so staying with a Windows powered phone was appropriate (I like to be a good team player.) 

Budget tightening as changed the expense policy and now Microsoft’s contribution to my cell phone expenses is limited to $35.

So, I figured I’d get an iPhone, it’s what all the cool geeks have. 

Plus, my Windows phone from T-Mobile is falling apart, which matters little since it’s never really worded all that well any way.

Windows Mobile 6 wasn’t a real home run in comparison.

There have been a number of reasons to prefer the iPhone.

  • Its Cooler
  • Multi Touch UI.
  • Best phone media experience.
  • The App Store with TONS of applications.
  • Huge 3rd party hardware market.
  • Windows mobile apps never seem to be stable enough.

Everyone knows that Apple’s iPhone is the bomb, right ?

Well, today at MIX “The Gu” introduced then Windows Phone 7.

Yea, I know, I work for Microsoft but if you think THAT means I’ll toe the party line than you must be new to reading my blog. 

But as a consumer of phones and a developer there is much in Windows Phone 7 to interfere with my decision to move to the iPhone.

Though the Windows Phone 7 is not “in my hands” yet and I’m talking about preview technology, lets consider what some of those this are.

  • The User Experience – there is nothing wrong with the iPhone user experience but the Win Phone 7’s UE appeals to me because it’s not just a slick interface, it seems to be designed and optimized for phone specific use from little things like like the quick one touch “I’ll be late to this meeting” feature to built in Social Networking functionality.
  • Hardware standards. Microsoft has set detailed specs for the venders who are implementing the hardware. Screeen dimensions, multi-touch, etc will all be standard across devices making development of applications that will work on all devices much easier.
  • Zune features ! – Though perhaps not as neuvo-cool as latest generation iPods, I’ve always felt that for full media experiences the Zune was the best device on the market. Win Phone 7 has a Zune-Like Media Experience.
  • xBox Live – Win Phone 7 supports XNA. This means that you can use the same development technology for games development as that which is used for the xBox. In fact you can play games on the Win Phone 7 that are xBox Live aware.
  • Silverlight 4 !!!!!!! (That’s right the SAME technology stack that was just used to stream and deliver the winter Olympics to millions of sports fans.)

As a developer myself, Silverlight 4 is HUGE !!

The Silverlight 4 PHONE developer experience is the same as any other Silverlight 4 experience. That means you use Visual Studio and C# or Visual Basic to do your development. (And we’ve announced FREE versions of our development tools for Windows Phone 7 Application Development.)

That means like a MILLION developers are already out there who can start with the technology that they already know to build Phone 7 Applications.  And, Visual Studio, .NET, and C#/VB will prove to be move productive than previous phone development paradigms (including Microsoft’s)

…. and there will be apps !!!

Ebay announced a program by which developers will be able to sell and distribute Windows Phone 7 applications on eBay. And, I suspect eBay won’t be the only on line Windows Phone 7 application store to appear.

So, as a consumer, the only question left to be answered when comparing the iPhone to Windows Phone 7 is 3rd party hardware, and I predict that the 3rd party hardware offerings will be plentiful and will start becoming available about the same time the actual phones start hitting the street.

But, I’m not just a phone consumer, I’m a developer.

I dabbled in in Windows CE/CF style phone development and phone development for the iPhone but found both to be too “nitty” for my casual use.

Now though, I can use the same tools that I develop with every day to build apps that I (and hopefully YOU) really want on my phone.

Since it’s .NET I get a network stack so I can code any feature that I like interfacing with Twitter, Facebook, etc.. Since it’s Silverlight I get XAML based UI and the richest media experience on the web.

And THAT seals the deal for me.

Not the only question is – how soon can I get my hands on a couple of them.

Thankfully, the new dev tools come with a complete emulator so I can start building those applications NOW and deploy them as soon as I get my Windows Phone 7 in my geeky little hands.