Well, I can’t say I got a lot out of the CES announcements. I think Microsoft wanted to reserve the bulk of the Windows Phone news for Mobile World Congress next month but had to say something at CES or risk starting lots of rumors. So what we got was essentially confirmation of what we already knew. I can’t even tell for sure if the CDMA support is a separate release from the spring update, although that would fit my alternate scenario. The bottom line though is that I think my December posting on what the release rhythm will be is still on point. Hopefully things will be clearer once MWC rolls around.
A number of people contacted me to say “what about multi-tasking in the minor update”? Some multi-tasking improvements are certainly a possibility, and that could be the one piece of news (other than an availability date) about the minor update that Microsoft has held back for MWC. For example something limited to allowing third-party background audio apps. But I’d still peg full multi-tasking as something that will wait for the major update this summer/fall. The experience with multi-tasking on iOS, where I still see apps with multi-tasking related bugs, suggests that you really need a full “beta” cycle for developers to get ready for a generalized multi-tasking environment. Just as important, having multi-tasking but having no apps that take advantage of it screws up the user experience as well. So releasing generalized multi-tasking in a minor update could actually hurt Windows Phone 7. Yes, lack of multi-tasking is one of those Top-5 kind of knocks on WP7 that could tempt Microsoft to rush a solution to market. But I hope they don’t.