Go on, ask the question, you know you want to. Why would anyone be dumb enough to put Windows 7 on a phone? Actually, and I don’t mean to appear rude here, it’s not anywhere near as dumb a proposition as you might first believe.
We’ll get past the obvious stuff first, this phone actually dual-boots between Windows 7 and Symbian. I know, I know, why just have one rubbish smartphone operating system when you can have two? Seriously, at some point you’re going to have to stop laughing because there really is a serious point to all this. Honestly, yes!
Now a while ago Intel first announced its intentions to put Windows 8 on smartphones. Perhaps this was a throwaway comment, perhaps it was an insight into plans for the desktop giant’s next OS that haven’t yet been shared with the wider world.
The idea of putting Windows on a phone is genuinely not a silly one though, come on stop laughing now. Research has proven that the majority of people when asked what operating system they want to work with on mobile devices, usually say Windows.
The reasons for this are varied but commonly come down to familiarity and the fact that Windows runs all the apps they need. Now the, if you’ll excuse the pun, window available to Microsoft to actually do this is narrowing sharply. The rise and rise of the app store on the iPhone and Android is slowly killing the dream so the company has to act quickly if it’s ever going to make people’s dream about using Windows on mobile devices a reality…. I heard that!
For now, while this handset will actually go on sale in Japan… apparently, it’s doomed to be unpopular. I’ve used, no, change that, I use every single day Windows 7 on a tablet and nothing has made me look forward to Windows 8 more than that. Even with the interface scaled up to maximum the windows buttons are too small, menus are very difficult to use and the whole experience is frustrating and prone to errors.
Thus, and I’m using Windows 7 on an 11.6 inch tablet screen, the prospect of scaling this all down to four inches and even being able to prod the things with a stylus is little more than a running joke. This phone will fail and fail badly.
But… This smartphone is still extremely important for Microsoft. It will prove conclusively that Windows runs on low-power devices. This phone has a 1.2GHz Atom processor and just 1GB of RAM. We all know that with (almost) each new version of Windows the operating system is able to run on lower power hardware than the version that came before it. Windows 7 will run acceptably on netbooks and we’ve seen it demonstrated (under laboratory conditions) running on a 1GHz processor. Actually I have a 1GHz tablet with Windows 7 coming to me in the next couple of weeks and I’ll be able to feed back to you about just what it’s really like.
Windows 8, we can be sure, will run very happily on these low-power chips as that’s exactly what it’s being engineered to do. Thus the prospect of running on a smartphone is a very realistic one. We also know that the OS will have some proper tablet functionality based, we gather, on a port of the Metro UI from Windows Phone. Some, namely Intel, have even speculated that Windows 8 could completely replace Windows Phone as the company’s smartphone OS.
On top of all of this we are now beginning to see smartphones that can plug into a laptop-style keyboard and screen arrangement and run as a proper PC. Now who wouldn’t want to carry their home PC in their pocket?
All this is proof positive that this Fujitsu handset is an important step forward for Microsoft and we’ll need to see devices such as this being trialled in the coming months if the concept is to be ready for the final launch of Windows 8 next year.
Until then we’ll just have to hope that this particular handset comes with a packet of toothpicks and a magnifying glass.