In this week's mailbag: .NET on the Mac, Windows Phone 7 and video chat, iPhone 4's hardware problems revisited, reviewing the 2011 tablet devices, and Windows Phone 7 on Sprint and Verizon.

Have a question? I can't guarantee an answer, but I'll try. Drop me a note! (And let me know if you'd prefer not to have your name published.)

.NET on the Mac?

Chris M. asks:

Do you believe there is a chance that Microsoft could release an "official" implementation of the .NET framework for Mac OS X?  Visual Studio for Mac is a bit unrealistic, but they could add plugins to Apple's development tools to allow the use of .NET languages and compilation to CIL.

I don't think so. This is a combination of things, but mostly the world is just moving on and the benefits of porting a runtime environment to a proprietary desktop OS in an age of web and mobile apps is probably more work than it's worth. That said, pieces of .NET--Silverlight, etc.--are showing up on the Mac. But it will never achieve parity with the Windows side.

That said, Mono does offer an open source implementation of .NET for Mac (and Linux). Right now, it consists of an implementation of C# and the CLR that is binary compatible with Microsoft.NET.

Windows Phone 7, Front-Facing Cameras, and FaceTime-Style Video Chat

Eric. M. asks:

I understand that MicrosoftS may be working on a\\[n Apple\\] FaceTime competitor or video chat client of some sort.  Being an early adopter of Windows Phone (Samsung Focus) and possibly being nowhere near upgrade status if/when this becomes live, would it be possible (or feasible) for some sort of third party camera that could take advantage of this feature?  This piece of hardware could take advantage of (and perhaps even justify the "odd" location of) the top-side micro-usb port.

So, the issue here is whether Microsoft requires or supports such a thing.

In the current spec for Windows Phone 7, a front-facing camera is not a requirement, of course, but it's also not supported. So for a phone maker to do this, they'd have to do it independently of Microsoft and support it with their own proprietary software. Hopefully, the next-gen spec will support this.

iPhone 4 Hardware Problems

Danny K. thinks I was being cheeky. That is not the case at all. Referring to my news article, As Expected, Verizon Gets the iPhone 4, he writes:

LOL!!! The most hardware defects?!? LOL you are something else.

Sorry, can you think of an Apple product with more hardware defects?

What I wrote in that article, and what set off the Apple fan, was:

The iPhone 4 is a nearly year-old design that comes laden with the most hardware defects of any recent Apple device.

Provocative, sure. But it's also true.

What I didn't do was compare the number of hardware defects in the iPhone 4 to other modern smart phones. I bet it's got more than competitive devices too. Lest we forget, the iPhone 4 includes a poorly designed external antenna that won't work when held normally by a leftie, a proximity sensor that doesn't work properly, displays with temporary yellow discoloration, and a camera that produces discolored photos, according to user complaints in the months after the device's launch. (There were also many software issues, but I'm focusing solely on hardware issues that Apple refuses to acknowledge or fix.)

With the release of the iPhone 4 on Verizon, Apple has allegedly worked to address the antenna issues without actually re-designing it. (That will come in the iPhone 5.) We'll see if that does the trick.

Reviewing the 2011 Tablet Devices

Arthur R. asks:

Are you planning on getting any of the new tablets announced at CES and reviewing them?  Just curious since your reviews are a great resource for info, not biased like most on CNET or the other blogs.

Yeah, definitely.

While I can't make any promises, I think this year's device reviews will include the iPad 2 (of course), the RIM PlayBook, at least one Windows 7-based tablet, the Motorola Xoom, and perhaps others. I'm researching this now to figure out what makes the most sense. Honestly, the Windows 7 end of this is the hard part. I still feel that Windows 7 is less than optimal for tablets. But I'm not particularly interested in third party "shells" that are geared towards this form factor. What I'd like to see is Microsoft provide this UI, and before Windows 8. We can dream.

Windows Phone 7 on Verizon, Sprint: June 30, 2011??

Adam M. (and a number of other readers) ask:

Have you seen the \\[articles\\] that say that Windows Phone won't hit Verizon until June 30th?  It seems insane given the CDMA patch mentioned and the HTC trophy leak from Verizon.  Can you shed any light here?

Yeah, that's incorrect. It's "by the end of the first half of 2011," which is June 30. It will happen before then.

I'm not sure how this rumor started, but my understanding is that someone misheard a Microsoft representative (or they misspoke). But June 30 isn't the day. It's "by June 30," or "in the first half of 2011," and that's true of both Verizon and Sprint.