(Disclosure: I'm a Windows Phone fanboy who adopted the platform in my heart long before it had even launched.)
Today I was a Microsoft stand-in to present on the developer opportunity, market options and advantages for developing applications for Windows Phone 7.5 (previously code named Mango). It was one of the few presentations I've ever done where the actual practical knowledge of the content is not likely to need to be retrieved from the annals of my mind ever again. But while pre-educating myself for the presentation, I became aware that Microsoft's entire Windows Phone ecosystem: the developer experience, the marketplace and how they were differentiating themselves in the market was captivating me just like my fanboy WP7 device does. Perhaps being late to the mobile device market has given Microsoft the proper time to sit back, glance and learn from the ecosystems of their competitors: RIM, iPhone and Android.
We didn't go into all of the troubles plaguing mobile developers today. These problems include varied device specifications, varied and inconsistent development approaches by vendor, a moving target of standardization and a very rapidly growing and changing market. What we did cover was how Microsoft was differentiating itself inside of these challenges, and while I'm hoping I'm not the guy on the sidelines shouting "Beta is Better", I've got to think Microsoft is well positioned to make a significant impact to the future of mobile app development.