Google’s Nexus One phone isn’t as revolutionary as the buzz would suggest. It’s basically a really nice touchscreen device running a new processor that supports slick 3-D graphics and services.
But its debut today still ups the ante for Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, who is delivering the opening keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show on Wednesday night.
Microsoft is close to releasing Windows Mobile 7, the latest version of its beleagured phone platform. It’s supposed to be unveiled at a March developer conference.
Windows Mobile 7 may seem like a Hail Mary given the success of the iPhone and Android devices, but it could put upcoming Microsoft-powered phones on par with the Nexus at least.
Especially if wireless companies use Microsoft’s software in conjunction with the new generation of processors that are giving the latest phones the computing power of Windows XP era laptops.
So what can Ballmer do to upstage Google’s mobile news at this point?
His best chance may be to announce a 4G Windows Mobile 7 phone that will run on Clearwire and Sprint networks.
It could use the mobile broadband service to stream video (consumer content from Comcast and videoconferencing to justify enterprise sales) and play games across the Xbox Live network.
A nexus of 4G-ready Microsoft partners will be in Vegas this week — including Sprint, Comcast, Samsung and Toshiba — so it’s not that farfetched.
Google’s new online phone store will also have retailers like Best Buy prowling CES in search of devices that keep drawing people into their stores.
So why wait until March?