Is the lack of true multitasking in Windows Phone 7 a feature or a benefit? Well, we can probably rule out the latter, because even Apple's restrictive iOS 4 allows multiple programs to run simultaneously.
That's right, folks. Microsoft seems hopelessly stuck in a time warp that threatens the very fabric of our mobile universe.
As Leonard H. "Bones" McCoy would say, "It's a phone Jim, but not as we know it."
Unfortunately, there ain't no Captain Kirk, Deanna Troi, or Spock to help the rudderless USS Redmond out of this one.
As a relatively early casualty of the bloody Mobile Wars (can anyone say Kin), you would think the geeky, albeit brilliant minds at Microsoft would know better than to launch a phone without multitasking support.
So, we are left with two possible explanations: arrogance or ignorance.
Personally, I believe Microsoft suffers from a hybrid syndrome that incorporates all the worst traits of both diseases.
For example, it is utter arrogance to believe that the public won't care or notice that two programs can't run simultaneously. Similarly, it is terribly ignorant to think such a glaring deficiency simply won't matter in the overcrowded mobile marketplace.
But Microsoft remains unconcerned, claiming that such restrictions will provide end users with a "fast, responsive" experience.
"To achieve this [so-called optimization], Windows Phone allows only one application to run at a time. This eliminates the possibility of users getting their device into a state where multiple applications are running in the background, causing the application in the foreground to become sluggish," MS explained in its Windows Phone 7 developer section.
"To enable seamless navigation by limiting the phone to run one application at a time, Windows Phone activates and deactivates applications dynamically, exposing events to developers to respond to when the application state changes."
But wait, it gets even better!
"Developers can save and restore application state as their application transitions between active and inactive states...This behavior creates an experience in which it seems to the user like the application continued to run in the background."
I don’t know about you, but even Apple’s iPhone 4 is looking good in comparison - defective antennae and all.