Microsoft takes a deep breath, exhales a slow stream of smoke

The smoke rings spell out Windows 7 Phone and it looks beautiful, but it leaves a large population choking with questions. At MWC in Barcelona, Steve Ballmer and Co. recently put up some snazzy screenshots revealing XBox Live integration, Zune music player function, and a couple other bells and whistles for their upcoming Windows 7 Phone OS due at the “end of 2010″. When the smoke cleared from Ballmer’s usual hyperactive gibberish, something else starting floating through the air…the open-ended dust of silent messages.

I had to squint my eyes a bit, but the messages I saw were: “We know that everyone hates Windows Mobile 6.5, so we are going to completely start from scratch with 7.0, give a slightly different OS name, and hope to compete with the iPhone and Android OS’s in 2011. For now, we’d like you to buy the HTC HD2 and a number of other new phones this year that will carry 6.5 and be happy about it. We can’t confirm that any of these phones will be upgraded to 7.0 in 10 months, and it’s possible that 6.5 will be considered obsolete by app developers within a year. We’d also like you to smile and speak highly of Microsoft throughout the process…and we’ll smile back at you if we ever make eye contact!”

If these messages are not addressed before the US launch of the HD2 in March 2010, then Microsoft becomes the “house” of a giant casino, forcing the groundlings to throw down big dollars on a gamble that the HD2 will be upgradable to ‘Windows 7 Phone OS’. Or will it be quickly buried at the perpetually dark cemetery now reserved for the slew of mobile devices that peak out at ‘Windows Mobile 6.5′?

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