We have finally seen the mystical Windows Phone 7 handsets, and at first look it looks to be a pretty decent offering, although I have yet to actually hold one or test it out. There does seem to be one limitation to the operating system as developers start coding for the new operating system: Microsoft has limited the capabilities of the camera feature to developers of new applications.

Users will still be able to snap photos, shoot video and upload with the Microsoft mandated high end cameras in all WP7 phones, and all of the cameras must be a minimum of 5 megapixels and shoot video. What they won’t be blessed with is app developers implementing such features as video chat or augmented reality as the cameras image sensor has been locked down.

windows-phone-7-nov-8That’s not all that’s missing, remember how Apple was crucified for not having a cut and paste function in the first few software versions for the iPhone? Well don’t look for it too hard in the Windows Phone 7 software as it doesn’t exist there either. Cut and paste as well as multi tasking will not be available on Windows Phone 7 until a software update slated for early 2011. It amazes me that Microsoft has taken over 18 months to develop this operating system yet these two supposed “must have” functions have been omitted.

It remains to be seen if the lack of these functions which Android and Apple’s iOS are implementing so effectively will hurt initial sales of Windows Phone 7. This may be one reason why Microsoft’s initial advertising campaign seems to target users in the market for their first smart phone instead of attempting to lure existing Android and iPhone users to their platform, for now anyway.

I have always said I hope all operating systems function well and sell well, as this leads to competition in the marketplace, thus better products for the consumers. With the late move out the starting gate for WP7 I’m just not sure if the masses will be willing to give it a shot like they did Android.

Do you think Windows Phone 7 will be a viable competitor in the smart phone market? Would you consider dumping Android or iPhone for WP7?