Windows Phone 7 launch: two people and a dog

The newspaper wrap-around said: "Today is different". But it really wasn't.

There was no whooping. There was no cheering. Merely polite applause.

There weren't any Guinness World Records being broken and there was no Stephen Fry. Merely promo girls handing out leaflets.

As launches go, this was more Raspberry than Apple.

It's probably not what Gates, Ballmer and the gang had in mind, and it's probably not what Orange expected either when they decided to open its store at 7am, and fill it to the rafters with Windows Phone 7 paraphernalia and staff on hand to give demos.

Pocket-lint arrived at 7am to see the doors open and the queues of people pour in. A queue of two people, in fact. The first of which, Andrew Willett, queued from 5.45am.

If you turned up at the Apple Store at 5.45am the day the iPhone 4 went live, you wouldn't have even made it on to Regent Street. You would have been around the corner on Hanover Street.

The shop was packed. But it was packed with press and PR peeps.

Maybe the excitement levels will rise later in the day when Johnny Vaughan and Lisa Snowden turn up. Er, then again, maybe not.

And it's not just the launch that has been a bit of a washout. The early reviews haven't been what Microsoft would have been hoping for.

Tech guru Walt Mossberg wrote:

"I couldn’t find a killer innovation that would be likely to make iPhone or Android users envious, except possibly for dedicated Xbox users. Even the built-in Office can be replicated with third-party Office-compatible apps on competing platforms; and the iPhone and Android phones also can interoperate with Microsoft’s corporate Exchange email, calendar and contact system... I see Windows Phone 7 as inferior to iPhone and Android for most average users. It’s simply not fully baked yet. 

Engadget also wasn’t quick in coming forward with praise, saying: 

"It still feels like the company is a good year behind market leaders right now, and though it’s clear the folks in Redmond are doing everything they can to get this platform up to snuff, it’s also clear that they’re not there yet".

And Pocket-lint's own reviews maestro Chris Hall, although positive on the whole, had his reservations, saying:

"Does Windows Phone 7 offer you anything you can’t get elsewhere? Not really... One of the most noticeable things is the sheer lack of settings. Anyone watching Android of late - especially those of the HTC Sense variety will have seen a burgeoning in the number of settings and options there are".

So, not the high-profile event or the high-praise that Microsoft would have wanted.

But, it's early doors and, with the unique UI and killer inclusions like Xbox LIVE and Zune, Microsoft does have a chance to turn these early impressions around.

Only time will tell if it does.

What does Pocket-lint make of it all? Check out our Microsoft Windows Phone 7 review