This week is Windows Phone 7 week. Microsoft is announcing details of the launch devices and operators, and I shall be watching and reporting with interest on the joint press conference with CEO Steve Ballmer and AT&T's Ralph de la Vega. But how significant is this launch? I think it is of considerable significance. Mobile …
It's a winner but .....
Like what I see so far. But it's going to have the brand awareness issues with each manufacturer releasing several phones running the same OS. It's trying to add multiple entry points for a wide audience but seems to me the side effect is losing the focus. That's what's killing Nokia with its Symbian. The "Microsoft" brand is no longer a cool brand. When you have a manufacturer (no mention name here) is making some crappy looking WP7 phones running exactly the same OS as a gorgeous looking one made by another manufacturer that has put more effort in, it drags everyone down. It's great to have a tighter control on the OS itself, but I reckon Microsoft should also implement an approval process to vet the actual phones on there for the purpose of ensuring the best possible user experience. Just my own opinion of cos.
No longer a cool brand?
When exactly WAS Microsoft a cool brand?
Never truly cool
but there was a time when they weren't considered to be monumentally uncool.
Look at the list in the article of areas where microsoft has poured bucketloads of money into trying to enter markets only to go nowhere and gain little to no traction at all.
The list is long and the failures epic.
By some accounts the products in question aren't totally awful, if a bit uninspired. So why do they fail?
I think their problem is that they on the one hand produce uninspired products that lack any *wow* factor plus they have engendered such vitriolic hatred amongst large populations of the geek world over the last two decades that there is little chance that any of their consumer products will take off in the way that the iProducts have.
Like it or not, geeks are the drivers of fancy new tech. They like the *wow* and they have *long* memories. If you are producing products that geeks will actively avoid while advising all their friends and family to do the same then you have little to no chance of success.
Microsoft, through their past actions have made themselves attractive to nobody other than PHB's and other boardroom types, but that has come at a cost.
A cost that they are now having to deal with.
We can only assume that you mean "Red Ring of Death"....
I have an iphone, i've played with an android phone and a palm pre both of which interested me.
As a tech head WP7 is totally uninteresting, i've yet to see anything peek my interest. I have not heard a single person mention being interested in any WP7 phones. MS WP7 is doomed.
Apple got away with things like no copy & paste from the start because everyone had significant interest in the iPhone. MS are not in the same position, MS is about the most uninteresting company out there. Not only that but they're not entering a market which already has what i'd consider nice touch based phones, the iphone practically invented that market (nice touch screen phones) and android phones are really starting to ride high.
And the final thing, IE mobile. It is junk, there's no two ways about it. IE mobile is lightyears behind the webkit browsers and Opera. Let alone Firefox mobile when Mozilla starts focusing on reducing its memory usage and improving its speed. (ok, that may be a while)
Not only that but IE now has a popular stigma which will affect WP7. The days of it just being stigmatised for viruses, bugs etc by techies has now bled into normal culture from the tech world.
tiles and so forth
The blue tiles are a bit unpleasant to look at...I will give you that. Hopefully it can be changed to a calmer gradient gray or something. Remember Office 2007 with the default ribbon? One of the first things I did was switch it to black from the Fisher-Price blue.
The interface of Windows Mobile 7 is very intuitive, and the experience is smooth as you fling things around on the screen in a very Seadragon way. Want to rearrange something. Put your finger on it and move it. Go up a level, down a level, back, and the one thing you are thinking is smooth. The on screen interface design is super pleasant to look at with an admirable choice of font that got the attention of a professor friend of mine who specializes in typeface and design. Get one of these devices in your hands and see what you think. My decision is now which device to buy, because I know I like it.
There, you have one person who is interested in it and my bet is I am not going to be completely alone once people see these devices. And I don't work for Microsoft or for any of the telcos...or OEDs...just a geek who got the chance to get my mitts on some of the iterations.
"I have not heard a single person mention being interested in any WP7 phones. MS WP7 is doomed."
So extrapolating from that, anything not mentioned within earshot of you is doomed ?
The only thing 'dynamic' about smartphones is the jockeying for market share
MS has a 'me too' OS that adds little to the features offered by the three league leaders of Android, iOS and RIM.
I wonder what incentives MS offered/paid for anyone to even make the hardware, some of which looks a little lacklustre when compared to recent smartphone releases.
The name 'Windows' doesn't really inspire since most of us have experienced 'blue screens' and crashes.
Sorry, MS will likely never beat third place in OS sales.
I think the front page on the Windows 7 phone with all those bland looking tiles just looks nasty. It doesn't make me want to have a play at all.
Awkward timing for me - long post!
I remember a few years ago I was due an upgrade and the rep. on the phone mentioned a Windows Mobile device. The immediate reaction at the time was along the lines of, "er.. no, not a chance." I think at the time I ended up going to a Nokia N95 and I've since switched to Android.
For all the plus points of Android (for me) I can't help but feel a minimum set of hardware requirements would help it a lot and a minimum set of upgrades that each handset maker must commit to would go even further.
Fragmentation is happening to a degree because handset makers like Motorola and others release a phone, support it to a degree and then release newer handsets. The older handsets might be capable of running new versions of Android but they're either ignored in favour of the new models or release dates for updates are pushed back so long that they cause artificial and early obsolescence. The best example is a Motorola Milestone, a Motorola Droid in every way with the difference being CDMA radio instead of GSM. The difference is the Droid had Android 2.2 / FroYo many months ago yet the Milestone still has no upgrade. Sure, it's promised for release toward the end of the year but there's no reasonable explanation besides the recent release of newer phones.
I won't bother going on with the locked bootloader for the Milestone as opposed to nothing with the Droid. These sort of tactics are not going to stop, Google isn't going to enforce minimum hardware and version update paths. Windows Phone 7 has a chance to do that and from all feedback so far the interface is buttery smooth. With it being time for an upgrade I'm now seriously considering becoming an earlier adopter as I did with Android. Unfortunately the networks are now pushing 24 month minimum contracts by overpricing 18 month contracts so I'll likely avoid upgrades, buy SIM only and that will keep me firmly in the Android court.
The author is reading too much into Verizon guy's statement. He's not going to praise WP7 until it becomes available for Verizon early next year.
What I don't understand...
...is how come the arguable largest and most prosperous software company in the world cannot work on more than one product at a time. They let IE slip years behind Firefox et al and did nothing to Windows mobile for years while first Office then Win7 took all their attention. You would think that there was only one guy there who could actually do any development work.
Interally Microsoft teams compete for funding for their project.
It seems to be a bottom up approach, the idea has to be pitched to senior levels and gain funding to go ahead. Contrast that with Apple who have management with vision and decide what product they want to develop.
If your project isn't liked by all at Microsoft then you'll end up releasing a bad product as all the other teams will try to undermine it. It's why the tablet PC failed, the head of the Office team didn't like tablets and refused to re-write Office with a touch screen interface. So it ended up being very poor to use.
Nice write up here:
That is the problem with monopolies
"They let IE slip years behind Firefox et al "
This was deliberate. When they (thought they had) won the browser wars against Netscape et al they actually made an announcement to say that "Browser development is at its pinnacle and we wont be releasing any new versions of Internet Explorer".
"and did nothing to Windows mobile for years"
Again, they thought they had the smart phone market well and truly sewn up. Nokia doesn't count because they hardly have any presence in North America. Microsoft has little interest in markets outside of their own home market.
It wasn't until apple, followed by Android, turned up that they decided that they needed to attempt to actually compete instead of simply sitting back and collecting licence fees.
You will notice that the "wins" were all in the days when MS had the clout of a PC monopoly behind it. They could pretty much mandate anything as they controlled the desktop.
Since then, they have managed to enter and stay in new markets only by throwing buckets of money behind their efforts. Money from the desktop underpins all they do and allows them the comfort of making mistake after mistake without risk to the company.
Windows 7 may succeed, but it will not be down to technical excellence. It will be down to the desktop money hose that can continue to spray marketing spiel longer than anyone else.
7 Mobile Hype
Let's see what happens when it gets to market properly. My guess is they have rushed it to make the Christmas period for 2010 a la Vista launch and when compared to what's already out there it will be feature short. You will be paying beta testers folks, Q4 2011 is when it will be nearer feature/stability ready.
That is all
Stop talking about the DDD event being a third full
While the WM7 event may have been quite empty, did you wonder why? Perhaps you should have tried to go to the London event which was heavily oversubscribed, so much so that the DDD website fell over. I did manage to get into the London event and it was completely full which paints a different picture. I'd guess that neither of the two are the true one, but please try not to base your points on developer apathy.
This week is atcually...
...Meerkat week*. It's interesting that MS decided to push the PR drones into overdrive and launch this week; was this some attempt to over-shadow Canonical (which is a minnow in the OS market, but gets a fair bit of press) whilst at the same time launch their polished turd?
As for MS stopping a monopoly (mentioned in another Reg story), please; the mobile market is quite diverse already with some establish, rising and others fading (Blackberry, Meego, Symbian, iOs, Android). This market does not need the "help" of a known monopoly abuser to remian diverse, it's doing that very well already.
*Other weeks are available, your mileage may vary.
Leaving aside the 20 years of excess baggage about Which OS? ( and I say that as El Reg's only known user of OS/2 or maybe the planet's) the best assessment I ever saw of MS was that each new Windows distro was, never mind about what's under the hood, a dumbing down of the previous one. Objective - everyone from my dear Aunt Sally to Grandma Moses could use it.
Applying this philosophy means there are no surprises at all about the new Windows Mobile OS.
No, you are not....
...El Reg's only user of OS/2, I used it from v1.1 (at work, for a specific task) and at home from v2.0 through to v4.0 until it became unable to really operate on the hardware I have.
Truly a brilliant system, but under-appreciated by many,
The trouble is...
Microsoft's history with phones has been less than stellar, so they're not likely to get much market share, or even free word-of-mouth publicity, based purely on nostalgia from old Microsoft-phone owners.
Microsoft's image has taken a battering over the past few years because their product set has been ropey to say the least, and the general public has started to cotton-on to this fact too. Since Vista was launched my non-geeky friends are now prepared to buy a Mac instead of getting a Windows-based PC or laptop without me even suggesting it as a viable alternative to Windows, nobody I know has a Zune it's either iPod or Creative, even my Luddite sister uses Firefox these days. Gone are the days when everything-and-anything Microsoft produced was automatically a winner - they've gotta earn their dollars these days (which they still do, of course... but the tide is definitely turning).
Similarly, people I've spoken to dislike how Microsoft is portraying itself in the media these days. Apple is deemed as fashionable for the Starbucks crowd, Google is seen as the people's champion offering great stuff for 'free' but Microsoft isn't trendy or cool. I've yet to speak to anyone who likes the "I'm a PC and IE's porn mode was my idea" adverts as the people are not in any way endearing. Those cringeworthy adverts with Bill Gates and Seinfeld didn't help one bit, nor did the Windows 7 Launch Party videos on YouTube, nor the Photoshopped image, etc...
The XBox is probably the only Microsoft product I can think of where its image hasn't been too badly tarnished... although, then again, everyone associates it with reliability problems, even if they've supposedly resolved that now.
Since Bill was replaced by Steve, it appears as though Microsoft has lost its way, lost its corporate identity, lost its sense of direction or purpose. For that reason, people don't want to be associated with it or its products - notwithstanding Stephen Fry, but like El Reg says, he's just a media whore who will use any old phone or check in to a newly-refurbsihed hotel if it gets his smug face plastered over the tabloids.
Lost its way ?
The US DOJ / other lawsuits helped Microsoft to lose its way / corporate identity / purpose. It can't be as much of the corporate criminal as it used to be able to get away with.
I'll admit, 'Uncle Fester' at the helm hasn't helped either...
Horse before Cart please
Billy boy left because he the DOJ had shown that his way of working might get him into trouble. CEO's have been sent to prison for less. And although he got away with it, he prefered to hand over nominal control to a shit catcher. He still keeps his oar in the water up at Redmond.
Ballmer (laughable though he is) inherited control of a chrome plated turd and has probably done well to keep it as shiny as it is for so long.
depends what you want from a phone
I don't give a toss about facebook updates can live without instant twitter feed and all the other social network garbage so probably not the phone for me
Ok I've been a bit harsh on The Register lately because of blatant bias against Microsoft by some authors. This article on the other hand is reasoned, fair, doesn't appear to be biased either way, and is a good portrayal of facts surrounding Windows Phone 7.
Thank you for interjecting a bit of balance amongst all the bias, it's appreciated!
Silverlight & botNet
.NET versus Java, which I judge a success even though Java has also prospered
Thanks for the laugh! I guess your judgment capabilities are bigoted?
At the least the guyz over at Sun^H^H^HOracle know what backward-compatibility actually means, even the Microsoft SQL Server team could not port their code to any one .Net runtime environment, so you need to install two different ones ... It is not cross-platform, Mono is a joke and will be dead pretty soon. Even trivial things like the .Net regular expression implementation is broken. Well, it is a mix between glob and Perl regular expressions. Why ppl waste their time on .Net, I don't know.
Silverlight? We already have flash,which is alousy pieceof crap.
Go on sell it to me then.....waiting for the pitch.......still waiting
It is killer apps MS needs to work on , take apple the Ipod is a locked down player with not the best audio format yet is is the market leader because Itunes/istore is the killer app and the same model has been applied to the Iphone APP Store which every body and the uncle has copied, all the while the Iphone is actually a bit of a shit phone.
So lets not get confused or locked in a Betamax vr's VHS its not about what is actually a better product technically is the applications or software properties which will sell it.
look at the Iphone most people you talk to think it to be the market leader in smartphones and have never heard of Symbian. Blackberry had enterprise level email, the iphone had the app store, what will MS have an OS and how many devices.
Symbian is the daddy at the moment and MS look to be copying that model but I am not sure if that is yesterday game....
one big difference between a iphone and win7: the registration process
I want a win 7 phone from orange which I believe they are carrying. How do I find one on their website? Open orange and get some news page, browse to phones and brings up a blackberry. Search by HTC and it brings up the android desire. (got an android phone at the moment, don't like it)
OK, so, click on coming soon phones and it tries to sell me a cheap alcatel. Then I see an advert at the top of the screen for win 7 but its for the mozart. So now I have to find out what the difference between an mozart and the other ones I believe it will be carrying (of which I can find no details)
When the iphone came out there was a massive picture of 1 iphone on the homepage of the website and it said 'click here to register' - so so so much easier
Re: one big difference between a iphone and win7: the registration process
The Mozart appears to be HTC's budget WP7 handset. If I were you I'd wait another week until Orange release full details on the phones they're going to supply. According to Microsoft, Orange will be supplying the Samsung Omnia 7 which is one of the best WP7 devices according to reviews.
Orange will also carry the HTC HD7 (quite good imo, definitely better than the Mozart). I'm in the same position as you, calling Orange and perusing details on their site has been a waste of time. Microsoft, Samsung, LG and HTC will give you much better information.
Not too difficult to fix
The website needs a search for mobile by OS option, and Orange are remiss in not including as Android and Symbian have long been out.
Can Windows Phone 7 help __Microsoft come from behind?__
come from behind?!
Paris? well it's obvious really
Does Microsoft come from behind? - I think we should be told
Can Windows Phone 7 help Microsoft come from behind?
No. Too little, too late - oh look, no pricing details either. meh
i must disagree with the author
imo the usability/interface is terrible :( to me in general it feels rushed and half-thought out with only limited customisation possible. tends to happen when there no vision driving it.
Buy market share?
Will Microsoft simply buy market share by subsidising phones so that the operators simply fill the stores with more profitable lines -- windows phones -- than the others? E.g. drive demand from dumb punters.
The missing element is cool. The iPhone has that in buckets. Android too. RIM addicts don't care.
I guess Microsoft is just 'cheap' and possibly will be a success in that notoriously disloyal and fickle market segment: the children. Trouble is, it's not a particularly profitable market. It's either that or the pay-as-you-go market which the operators hate.
Ooh, it's such fun watching Microsoft's self-made, or is that Ballmer made, troubles. It isn't half going to cost them as RIM is so entrenched in a vertical segment whilst Google and Apple are truly fearsome adversaries.
Fight, fight, fight. Just imagine Ballmer in a Mexican wrestling mask!
Re: Buy market share?
"I guess Microsoft is just 'cheap' and possibly will be a success..."
I don't think the phones will be very profitable for the carriers.
(hardware + $XX MS OS license) > (hardware + $0 android license)
Or am I wrong here?
While there may not be a license on the OS it's self I am pretty sure there is to use a lot of the Google stuff like maps, Gmail and more importantly the market.
I have honestly no idea how WP7 will do.....
..........in the market place and I have no idea what the os is like in use since I have not yet had the opportunity to test one. However, that's no surprise since I do not own a crystal ball and the new phones have only just been released. I think I will bookmark this article because in a year or so it may well be very entertaining to remind some of my fellow Reg readers of what they said today.
WP7 doesn't support HTML 5
This lack of support is on purpose, because Microsoft sees HTML 5 as a natural enemy to Silverlight and a threat to Windows in general.
Microsoft just continues to refuse to support open standards.
So, everybody is supposed to have to keep downloading large proprietary plugins, that require constant patching for security holes and arbitrary changes M$ makes whenever they feel like it. And Society at large is supposed to spend millions of frustrating hours and billions of dollars making different versions of their websites, because of Microsoft's conniving little tricks.
Further, they have announced a new DRM for Silverlight. They must think we've already forgotten about all the customers who bought DRM'ed music from Microsoft. And a few years later, Microsoft turned off their DRM servers, and customers lost the ability to play back the music they had paid for. This will make for still more incompatibility and be pure annoyance to customers.
On the Developer side, sure, MS' development tools are all very well done... but they always force you to doing things that work nowhere else.
And if someone makes .Net work elsewhere, like the mono project, soon enough, you got another lame patent fight, making it rather uncertain if you can rely on any promise of being able to ever re-use anything you've done in C# outside the Microsoft garden.
I'm no fan of Java, but at least its really portable, not fake portable.
So, I will neither buy a WP7 phone, nor will I write anything for it anytime soon.
Why would I bother... WP7 is almost as restrictive as iOS.
Google doesn't tell me what to do with Android, they don't need to bother, the stack is well enough designed. They say: here, take this thing we made, have at it in any way you like...
I can run a Python interpreter/compiler on android and code away wherever I find myself with idle time on my hands...
Only with Android does the phone really belong to the customer who bought it and paid for it...
With WP7, the phone really belongs to Microsoft.
With Symbian, the phone really belongs to Nokia and their cronies, the Telcos
With iOS, the phone belongs to Steve, he even tells you when you have replace it - after a year, when the capacity of the soldered in battery drops off.
Finally, I couldn't imagine anything worse than my phone being totally integrated with Facebook...
It's almost as though there has been a stupidity epidemic
"This lack of support is on purpose, because Microsoft sees HTML 5 as a natural enemy to Silverlight and a threat to Windows in general."
Yes, that's right, HTML 5 will destroy windows with it's bitchin' hardware support and it's ability to multi-task native apps.
Step /away/ from the sharp things.
"Only with Android does the phone really belong to the customer who bought it and paid for it..."
I call BS. Google are already in a couple of positions of market dominance and are already heading down the path of monopoly abuse that the makers of WP7 got a slap for.
However good or bad WP7 actually is (and I'll reserve judgement until I see one thanks) it's not going to do well in the consumer space because they gave it the kiss of death when they named it "microsoft windows phone 7"...
/copters - I said something un-googley so they'll be looking for me..
It's too late
It's just as well the Microsoft can afford this to fail because it will.
In my many years in IT, I have never encountered a crappier or more unreliable OS than the previous incarnations of Windows Mobile. If they were giving phones away contract free, I still wouldn't take one.
My experiences with previous versions were so terrible that there is nothing that Microsoft could do to tempt me back and I would be very surprised if any material number of people felt differently to me.
They have lost the battle in the mobile sector. It's time to face facts and just abandon the idea. They will only throw good money after bad.
Then prepare ...
"My experiences with previous versions were so terrible that there is nothing that Microsoft could do to tempt me back and I would be very surprised if any material number of people felt differently to me."
... for a bit of a shock, because plenty of people have never even seen a WinMo phone, and will have no difficulty approaching a WinPho handset.
What do the consumers say about Windows Phone 7?
It’s interesting to hear what an average consumer may think, or at least what their perception is as influenced by Micosoft’s marketing campaign. I used Toluna QuickSurveys to run a quick survey targeting 1000 respondents living in the US, here’s quick analysis of the result:
Things seem quite rosy for Microsoft this time, about 27% of the people heard about Windows Phone 7 and among them 27% has expressed their intention to buy one. Regarding the brand of choice, around 30% don’t care and for the rest, LG and Samsung are more popular choices than HTC and Dell, probably due to HTC’s strong positioning with Android and Dell’s relatively new entry into the market.
For what people may like about Windows Phone 7, lots of people seem to be swayed by the marketing campaign as 19% prefer its new functions and interface and close to 25% mentioned its positive review. An interesting point here, around 17% like it simply because it’s Microsoft. Finally, consumers seem quite optimistic about the launch with 49% believing it may help Microsoft regain some ground lost to its competitors.
See the full result at:
Interesting isn't it?
We techno-interested/or tech-pros have a tendency to assume that because we know more about this kind of stuff our opinion is some sort of guide to whether a piece of kit is going to do well or not. Sometimes we're right but sometimes we're not, primarily because we forget that we do not look at the kit in the same way as a "typical" punter. We are in orbit around the same planet as non-tech punters but we are often in a very different orbit from them - and we have a tendency to (now and then) fail to take that into account. That is one of the reasons that I am reserving judgment with regard to how WP7 will do in the market (regardless of what we might think of it, for or against, from the techie viewpoint) until we see how joe and josey punter react.
Who will bend over?
MS always come from behind, the easiest way to get you .... unexpecting.
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