So this being Windows Phone 7 launch day in the US and all, we thought it might be a good opportunity to share something we noticed in the footnotes to AT&T’s and Samsung’s Focus press release: in reference to the bullet point “Expandable Memory Slot supporting up to 32GB,” the small print reads that “Focus is only compatible with microSD cards certified for Windows Phone 7.” Well this is the first we’ve heard of cards specifically certified for use with the new operating system; from what we can gather, Microsoft’s public stance is that this is a carrier issue, but that since microSD cards are claimed to be such a shoddy technology, it’s one that it would rather be given little support or marketing. Currently, only the Focus is known to give users direct access to an expansion slot.
So what, then, are Windows Phone 7-certified cards? Are they simply ones that meet a confidential specification known to only Redmond, OEMs, and carriers, but not the general public? That wouldn’t make much sense, so we suspect that eventually we’ll be seeing either existing cards stamped with a WP7 seal of approval, or perhaps even branded cards — sold at a premium, naturally — co-developed by Microsoft and a major fabricator like SanDisk. That particular company already offers cards in association with Nintendo and Sony for their portable consoles, as well as an Xbox 360-branded USB thumb drive.
We’ll be keeping an eye out for these certified cards if they do in fact exist, and we’ll also take it as somewhat of an admission from Microsoft that microSD isn’t really as bad as Charlie Kindel makes it out to be. After all, the company could have separated the file systems under Windows Phone 7, therefore making the data on removable memory much less critical. Instead, all forms of memory are joined by the OS in the name of user convenience (a la the iPhone), even when millions of Android users seem to find their hot-swappable microSD slots to be plenty convenient as well.