My thoughts (for what they are worth) are that the current iteration of Windows Mobile is the first time I have ever taken it seriously (having used a number of early iterations). But my gut tells me that Windows just won't hack it - their history in the space is too dysfunctional and the timing just too off.
Which is a pity.
So Hillel laid out why I'm wrong, in the article on Business Insider linked to below, when it comes to Windows Phone's chances.
But, see, he's an observer and hasn't done the hard work. Since I have (and I'm now sick because of the work at CES going to dozens of meetings) I want to share some of that hard work here.
First, I had dinner with Skype's CEO on Thursday night. He told me that Skype won't support the current version of Windows Phone. This gets to the heart of my "apps matter." There are 450,000 apps missing from the Windows Phone platform and Skype is just one of those. That problem will NOT get fixed anytime soon. Heck, Skype is owned by Microsoft and if Microsoft's own divisions don't feel pushed to support the current Windows Phone (he explained to me that the other platforms are more important, so he put his developers on those) then there's no chance other, non-Microsoft-owned developers are going to support it.
Second, i walked around the show with the CTO of Pandora. He told me he still isn't willing to support Windows Phone. Why not? We were walking around the new Ford car, which has Pandora support. Pandora was ALL OVER the CES show floor. You could see that a small company still has to decide where to put its development resources. Clearly, after walking the show floor, that's Android and iOS (there was huge halls of exhibits all aimed at supporting iOS and most of the rest of the show was very heavily Android-focused but none aimed at supporting Windows Phones).
Third, at the end of the show I sat down with mobile expert (who has been far better than me in his predictions). You really need to listen to this part of the interview: CES Wrapup with Sascha Pallenberg (mobile expert) at 19 minutes and 45 seconds into the conversation. He says they have one chance, with Windows 8. But that won't get here until late in the year in 2012.
Fourth, listen to what Sascha's coworker says: CES Wrapup with Sascha Pallenberg (mobile expert) (at 26m 22 seconds into the conversation). She's forcing herself to use Windows Phone. "I hate it so much," she says. That's what I hear from most people who try it. Now, yes, there are plenty of people who love Windows Phone too, but not enough.
Fifth, I hung out with Nokia execs on Tuesday evening at CES and there are many nice things to say about the new Nokia phones. They feel great. The hardware is sexy. But even they admit that it's going to be very tough to convince people to go with Windows Phone when Android and iOS have the apps and have users like Sascha's business manager who says she hates WIndows Phone's OS.
I could keep going, but I'd rather talk about something that matters to most of the industry. What Google is doing by putting Google+ into its search engine is far more important.
Speaking of which, that's a HUGE reason to go with Android. If Google is going to force all of us to be on Google+ by pushing it in the search engine, then many of us will want to have the best phone for participating in Google+. Clearly that will be Android in the future. What leverage does Microsoft have? I don't see it.