Can a Phone or Tablet be Exciting if Microsoft Restricts Designs?

The first major update for Windows Phone codenamed “Mango” is, perhaps, many months away. Most of the focus has been on Microsoft’s new primary hardware partner, Nokia. The first new phone revealed (but not available) based on Mango is the Acer W4.

First Windows Phone “Mango” hardware revealed – Acer W4 (liveside.net)

The remarkable thing about this phone is that there is absolutely nothing remarkable about a phone that is supposed to be part of the next generation of Windows Phone devices. It has a 3.6-inch display with a 480×800 resolution, 8GB storage, 1GHz processor, WiFi, Bluetooth and a 5 megapixel camera. Nothing is said about a front-facing camera or Near Field Communications (NFC) support. This may be because Microsoft has not lifted the chassis design restrictions used for the first generation of Windows Phone devices. While this created a generally good uniform set of first generation devices, it may inhibit creativity and design for the next.

Chassis design restrictions appear to have been made for the next generation of Windows-based tabletes too. Acer’s Chairmand and CEO is on record as saying:

Microsoft Hardware Rules ‘Troublesome’ for Makers, Acer Says (Bloomberg)

Chassis design restrictions may create a good uniform set of devices but may make creating exciting devices difficult. The problem is that Microsoft and its smartphone and tablet hardware partners need to create products that are both exciting and create a good user experience.