We spend a lot of time discussing different operating systems and phones and carriers here on the WE blog. Clearly, one of the most talked about topics in the cellular world right now is Widows Phone 7. Between their devices and their operating systems, there is a lot to talk about. Microsoft of touting their new phones as the phone to rescue us from our phone. Their OS is supposedly geared to get people in and out of their favorite apps quicker, allowing them to pick their heads up and see the world around them.
Quite frankly, all the reviews that we’ve seen on the OS seem to back this claim up. Hardware is another story all together. For those not familiar with Microsoft, they tend to be pretty good with software, no so great with hardware. The X-Box red ring of death is probably the most infamous example of this. It would seem as though the hardware foibles have extended into their handsets and the cell phone accessories that go with them.
The issue revolves around memory cards. Folks familiar with Android know that the phones come with a memory card that can be switched out to store tons of data. People familiar with the iPhone know that the memory cards are completely internal and if you want more storage, you need to buy a different phone with more storage space on it. Microsoft seems to have a split personality when it comes to their new phones memory capabilities.
Right now, only certified micro SD memory cards will work in their devices and nobody know what cards are certified. On top of that, if someone removes the card that comes with their Windows phone, they need to reboot their phone. No big deal right? Not exactly. Once you reinsert the card for the reboot, Windows phones assign a password to that card, essentially locking it to the device. It can’t be read by any other device.
So how did this hardware issue happen? Apparently Microsoft never intended for their new phones to have removable memory cards. In fact, in most of the devices, the memory cards are hidden away and require the phone to completely taken apart in order to gain access. Microsoft also initially wanted manufacturers to glue the cards in place so users couldn’t remove them even if they did take their phones apart. Unfortunately they did a really poor job of explaining this to their manufacturers, and the end result is the Samsung Focus which has an easily accessible removable micro SD card right next to the SIM card slot.
This would seem to be an easy fix, however more than a week after the Windows Phone 7 launch in the US, there is still no word on which memory cards are certified to work with the devices. Perhaps Microsoft doesn’t want to fix the hardware issue, preferring to control the data storage capabilities of their devices much like Apple does with the iPhone. We’ll find out soon enough.