It seems just about every pocket these days is home to one form of Smartphone or another - phones which can do pretty much anything ... other than play poker.
The iPhone wasn't the first smartphone offered to the public, but it was the first device targeted to the average person - someone looking for a phone which is as fun and easy to use as it is functional.
Since the iPhone changed the landscape of the mobile phone market, just about every company manufacturing mobile phones has at least one smartphone to offer its customers now.
In a few months Microsoft will unleash the Windows 7 phone on the world in an attempt to displace the iPhone as the king of the smartphones.
While playing poker on these devices is sort of possible (through various remote desktop hacks and such), a native app or in-browser poker support has yet to be offered to the world.
For poker players, all of this is about to change.
Poker on the Windows 7 Phone?
Although it's not actually available yet, the core details of the Windows phone 7 have been released by Microsoft.
Any company who chooses to build a Windows Phone 7 must adhere to the following requirements (I've excluded anything not relevant to poker, such as an FM radio):
- Five Buttons: Start, Back, Search, Camera, Power.
- WVGA 800x480 4-point multitouch display
- 1 GHz CPU
- Min 8GB internal memory
- Optional: full qwerty physical keyboard
As you can see from the specs, the phone itself is basically a tiny computer. Although it won't have the HD resolution of the rumored iPhone HD, the rest of the phone looks to be exactly on par.
What about poker?
Although Microsoft will be providing a service for downloading apps, similar to the Apple App Store, it's very unlikely Microsoft will allow any poker room to distribute an app allowing real-money poker.
And while the phone is not intended to launch with Adobe Flash support for its mobile Internet Explorer browser, it's been all but confirmed that the phone will support Flash at some point post-launch.
This rumor comes directly from Mike Chambers (Principal Product Manager for developer relations for the Flash Platform at Adobe). In his personal blog he wrote:
"Adobe and Microsoft are working together to bring Flash Player 10.1 to Internet Explorer Mobile on Windows Phone 7 Series. I dont have an ETA or other specifics right now, but it is something that both Adobe and Microsoft are working closely together on."
Assuming everything goes as planned, Flash will be available for the Windows Phone 7 series sometime after launch, at which point any poker site offering in-browser poker should be fully functional on your mobile.
Poker on the iPhone 4 (iPhone HD)
The next generation of iPhone is rumored to be announced on July 22nd. As far as anyone can tell (without breaking any thumbs) the next version of the world's most popular phone will include:
- A4-class SoC 1GHz CPU (the same or similar processor found in the new iPad)
- 960x640 HD display
- Front facing camera
These features, along with the full third-party multi-tasking support offered in the 4.0 firmware, makes the next iPhone a great step forward but really just a new, shiny, faster package for the same phone we already own.
This means no native App store poker clients, and as of yet no rumors for Flash support. If you want to play poker on your iPhone, as of right now, the only way seems to be through the RDP hack.
The Future of Poker on your Mobile
When it comes to a competitive technology market like mobile phones (both hardware and software), there is one rule that governs how the technology will progress:
As soon as one company offers a feature which users embrace (such as a large touchscreen or app store) all other companies must then offer the same options to even be considered among the industry leaders.
Assuming the Windows Phone 7 series isn't a complete fail and the phone successfully launches bug-free Flash support, Apple will be forced to figure out a way to offer the same to its users.
Once this happens all phones will eventually offer full Flash support to their native browsers. This means all smartphones will be capable of playing online poker through their mobile browsers. Once this happens we're one step closer to the final goal: phones allowing native poker apps.
Unfortunately, since Apple seems to live in their own world which only they can see or understand, a native poker app for the iPhone will most likely never be offered until the USA finally retracts all their bullshit anti-poker laws.