Start the music and let the games begin!


For a company considered uninnovative, clueless, out of touch and whose name should never be mentioned in polite society, isn’t ironic that the mobile space’s young whippersnappers  are reacting to the “old guy’s” two key upcoming features of WP7 namely Xbox live and Zune pass?

Firstly Xbox live. Over the weekend, Techcrunch reported that Google secretly invested over $100 million in social gaming giant Zynga in preparation for a Google Games launch. Though its not clear whether this will make into Android 3.0, its not a stretch to think it would as an avenue for  providing a central gaming hub on the platform. We already know that Apple has similar plans with “Game center” for IOS4 that will appear later in the year.

Games are usually the most commonly downloaded apps on smartphones therefore a central location for easy discovery, multiplayer action and socializing is vital. Xbox live also just raked in a cool $1.2 billion proving that there is a ton of money to be made in the venture.

Secondly, we have the music and video hub powered by the oft maligned Zune player. Sure, Android and the iPhone both have built-in music and video applications but neither of them offer a native subscription based service that provides unlimited music and purchased video streaming with wireless syncing to the PC and cloud ala the Zune pass. It gets even better with today’s announcement at WPC 2010 that photos will also be automatically synced to the cloud.  For Apple’s part , a post from Boy Genius claims that they are about to launch an iTunes in the cloud service very similar to the Zune services. As for Google, at their I/O 2010 conference, they showcased some new music features for Android and recent indications now partially confirm a fully fledged music service for Android 3.0 in time for the holidays.

Just to further confirm the power of these two features, Michael Gartenberg in his latest post suggest that MS should offer them together with Office Mobile to other platforms. It is a bad proposition that in essence eliminates the advantages of WP7 and I hope Microsoft would never entertain such a thought! On both counts, Microsoft is already way ahead with a mature ecosystem that is set to expand. At launch, WP7 may not feature copy and paste or multitasking as we have come to know it, but when it comes to two key widely used applications on modern smartphones (other than making phone calls) it is on the very cutting edge.