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back to article Nokia's Windows comeback: Great but what's next?

Back in February, people muttered that Nokia's new CEO Stephen Elop was a Trojan Horse sent to destroy the company and deliver the remains of the chopped up cadaver to Microsoft. Those mutterings continue. But having used Nokia's new Windows phone (here's my review) it doesn't look quite like that. Microsoft's software has given …

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Anonymous Coward

Must ... fight ... bias

Must ... not ... click ... Utterly Terrible

Ok! I will have a look before forming an opinion! <shocked murmuring from the crowd>

But I'm still not buying one.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Must ... fight ... bias

I'm not buying one, either: judging from the Lumia 800 ads, I am completely the wrong demographic, ie. not a 20-something party animal living in the big city for the first time. Ditto most of the folk here, I suspect.

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Joke

20-something party animal?

You mean you have to be spending your daddy's allowance, together with being drunk, or high, or both, to buy one of the nowin phones?

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Pint

I just pre-ordered one of these the other day...

...I'm also 25, currently unemployed and living off a loan from my dad, and frequently drunk, or high, or both.

Maybe their marketing works!

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Bronze badge

Re:Tony Smith

"Most" may be a little strong... I'm a 24 year old with an electrical engineering degree and an MBA. I'm all over the Reg. I promoted it pretty heavily too with friends in college, who I think still read it.

I'm not buying one of these phones (my Sprint Galaxy SII is great) but it does look pretty sleek at first glance.

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Pint

where does this guy pull the info for this opinion piece? out of his fingers?

I'm sorry, but I'm gonna have to call that article M$ funded hogwash...

"Microsoft makes Nokia competitive"

the N9 could have done at least as badly as windphone7 is still doing in sales, if it hadn't been declared dead on release by Eslob.

There's one argument for Microshuft I'll agree to: we could use the old monopoly mongers to add some competition to the 2 and a half horse race in smartphone operating systems.

Am I going to make a sacrifice for the team and buy one though? Err no.... sorry....

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Re: where does this guy pull the info for this opinion piece? out of his fingers?

Remarkably silly post.

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Linux

thank you, thank you!

I'm flattered - since I'm mainly addicted to TheReg because most things here are written with at least a dash of remarkably silly humor :D

And of course, the fact that you guys are large enough to not delete every post you don't like; a quality I find highly admirable and essential. With that same idea of fairness and openness, I don't mind that you can't keep those pro-microsofters on your staff under control ;-)

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Boffin

Or they could have given linux more attention

Seeing how well the N9 was received, image where Nokia could have been if they had not treated Maemo like a research project, but put some real development force on it years ago.

Maemo had lots of features years before others, like the way the address book is integrated in all the services for example.

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Anonymous Coward

Linux=The next coming

Linux cannot be seen as a negative.

It's usage in any context must be seen as heaven-sent.

Amen

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Competition FTW!

At last! We have an alternative to the Control Freak and the Sinister Stalker!

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By whom?

Outside of El Reg fora and their population of Linux enthusiasts (admittedly, I don't visit other IT related fora much), I have yet to hear anyone say anything AT ALL about Linux on phones. Just deal with it, Linux just isn't what *consumers* want, hell, even Android is seen by some as too techy.

Remember OpenMoko? Every Linux fanboi was so busy ejaculating in their pants and posting on every bloody forum they could get their hairy palms on about how great this will be, they forgot to buy the damn thing. And surprise surprise, it tanked.

A vocal minority does not a commercial success make, and Nokia seem to have finally realised this.

(Another flashback: Nokia N95 vs iPhone - oh, the geekdom was rolling on the floor with derisory laughter when the iPhone's spec sheet, about the length of my private member, was compared to the Nokia spec sheet, which was the length of a porn star's trouser Saturn V. Which one sold better, I wonder?)

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Copytition FTW!

Yes? The so-called competition is a Sinister Stalking Control Freak. And a convicted monopolist to boot.

Which is not to detract from the splendid effort that is Windows Phone, but on the other hand I would actually like to be able to purchase a phone that actually gave me an alternative to Android and iOS in aspects other than just the UI (like, for instance, a reasonable level of interoperability with my other bits of kit).

So, no. I won't be getting one.

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Re

"like, for instance, a reasonable level of interoperability with my other bits of kit"

HP.

The WebOS tablets would bluetooth sync with the WebOS phones and allow you to send text messages over your phone from your tablet. It would also broadcast video calls, phone rings, etc.

HP was working with Fossil to create a meta watch. The watch would contain your basic functionality (ie phone antenna, wifi, bluetooth) and all your other devices would sync to it as needed. Everything else then becomes "a device" whether it is the 3.5 inch screen in your pocket, the tablet in your bag, the computer on your desk, or the tv in your living room.

The greatest innovator... and they gave up on the project due to lack of interest. Apple has squashed all invention, all innovation. We'll be stuck with subpar systems because of Apple for years to come.

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Stop

Send them an E-mail

Tell them all the bits of kit you would like a reasonable level of interoperability with and I'm sure they will produce a phone for you. I mean, how hard can it be, it's not as if there is a lot of kit out there!

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I always liked the idea of meego more than most alternatives... something NOT designed to collect your personal details.

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@bullseyed

The reason for HP WebOS debacle is HP management, no one else.

And if you think HP is an innovator, You are probably living in 1990s or earlier.

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This is part of the problem with buying products based on some purported philosophy to their development, as opposed to how well they actually, like, work.

Every single time anything about Nokia's WP7 offerings come up, people start raving about the N9. I guarantee you that most of these people have never actually used one, but something in their F/OSS Fan Club contract stipulates that they have to praise it anyway. And sometimes things actually do work out. I liked Maemo and my N900 a lot. I still think it's the best phone I've ever bought.

But I have used both Windows Phone and the N9, extensively, and I have to say, honestly, Windows Phone is a much better experience. Not surprisingly, like many Linuxian projects, the N9 feels like it was put together by (and for) hobbyists, not professionals. For a lot of people, that's cool. For a mass-market product, WP7 makes much, much more sense.

That's not to say that WP7 is flawless, or that Nokia (and Microsoft) doesn't have a lot of work to do if they want to make it work. But in terms of making something that the average person would actually want to use, MeeGo was a nonstarter. Great hardware, overhyped software. So it was Windows Phone or Symbian.

This would be "damned if you do, damned if you don't" except that Windows Phone, for a new OS, is pretty dynamite. Even before the Mango update, it has better user satisfaction scores than Android -- twice as high as RIM. User awareness is low, but a product with high satisfaction and low awareness is a lot better for Nokia to work with than a product (like Symbian) that everybody's heard of and nobody likes.

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that's what standards are for...

... alternatively they could embrace (but not extend) a few standards, and then I would not have to tell them what bits of kit I have, since they already comply with quite a few standards...

(and, oh yes, I am also talking about online services that comply to various standards...)

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"purported philosophy" ??

Personally speaking I am a lot more interested in some "purported philosophy" for their intended usage, since I plan to *use* the chuffing thing (or not as the case may be).

iPhone "purported philosophy": you are only allowed to do what we let you. And you must use iTunes.

Android "purported philosophy": you are only allowed to do what we let you. And we are going to aggressively mine your personal data.

Windows Phone "Purported philosophy": you are only allowed to do what we let you. And you must use Zune, Office and Skydrive. Buy more Windows. Buy now. Because nothing that you've already got will work with this (the 'you' in this case is particularly me, some fan of Windows is likely to have all of those things, but I'm not getting them), oh and based on our previous behaviour you can expect us to aggresively mine your personal data and sell it to the highest bidder.

You know, I would really like to be able to get hold of phone that was entirely agnostic about whatever other kit and services I use. One that just worked because it adhered to standards, and did not need to know what kind of other stuff I've got, or stalk me for personally identifying information.

I particularly do not want Zune desktop or iTunes in order to be able to get media on and off my phone.

So yes Windows Phone has a fancy shmancy UI, and the People Hub looks very useful. But. Unless I ditch my existing investments, or compromise their utility, it's not a whole lot of use to me.

And get guess what. My current phone implements some standards nicely. SyncML, Bluetooth, DLNA, USB-media, USB-on-the-go, HDMI, WebDAV, etc. Unfortunately the UI is a bit of a sow's ear, and somewhere it has developed a nasty memory leak which means I need to restart it a couple of times a week, so I should be looking for a next gen replacement...

Strangely Android actually appears to be the least evil option in terms the compromises I have to make in order use it (and given that Google is already aggressively mining my personal data anyway, there is no actual net increase in evil done to me).

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WTF?

Biting the hand that feeds IT

"Windows Phone is not only one of the most original pieces of design Microsoft has done – perhaps the best – it has executed it really well. This is a strong candidate for the best piece of technology Microsoft has ever produced."

Talk about damning with faint praise... You couldn't say it causes rapture on contact? And what about how much more attractive it makes the holder to members of their preferred gender - couldn't squeeze that in?

Maybe I'm missing it. Was the entire article written in a sarcastic tone as a spoof to other reviews?

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Gimp

Fight for the right to have an N9

The "sheer novelty of having a nice smartphone with 'NOKIA' imprinted on it" came with the Nokia N9, which is a properly designed phone by Nokia's chief designer with "a coherent design story" and not a hack like the L800. Have Nokia UK take its finger off its botttom and ship you an N9, if they can't be bothered to supply all the UK buyers with a proper phone.

No gaudy colours? Check.

Proper Nokia reception, call quality, and battery life? Check.

OS design melding with the OS design? Check.

Skype? Check.

Tethering? Built-in.

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Anonymous Coward

n9?

N9

Isn't that the dead-end phone?

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Mushroom

It wouldn't be a dead end if Nokia would be arsed. WHICH. IS. JUST. DUMB.

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Carriers onboard?

They may be elsewhere, but even after Verizon got the iPhone and Trophy, in my area they both are advertising Android phones exclusively. Nokia is right to get phones into the hands of sales staff and consumers. Microsoft should have really pushed on this hard a long time ago.

@Tony Smith: I am most definitely not in the 20-something demographic that Nokia's ads are targeting, yet have found the WP7 OS to be a very functional and useful system.

One thing I certainly agree on from the article is that Nokia will have to step up and exceed the competition. They won't get any slack down the road. I found it surprising that the much-touted Zeiss optics still don't do better than most and are outshined by the iPhone 4S.

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JDX
Gold badge

@Andrew...

You're preaching to the avowed atheists here, as the saying doesn't go. You can tell them till you're blue in the face (like your Lumia) and they'll still say it's crap.

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FAIL

funny that

Once bitten ... or in this case many times blue screened.

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Anonymous Coward

People app

It's important to note that you can just run the people app as a local app (personally I sync mine with an Exchange server at home) but that's all it needs to be. You don't have to use facebook, twitter, linkedin, google or Windows live, it's nice to have the option though. You can also hide contacts that you don't wish to see.

Not that this will make any difference to the nay sayers, whose flaming keyboards are already being warmed up for another MS slagging.

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Anonymous Coward

Anyone else think that if this OS had been released by any other company, then there would be a little less of the "I've-not-tried-it-but-it's-M$-so-it's-crap" bias?

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Anonymous Coward

Anyone else think that if this OS had been released by any other company, then there would be a little less of the pro (in both senses) posters here, upvoting any positive comment/fud, and downvoting everything else?

Remember who has been repeatedly caught doing astroturf campaigns... And desperately needs some support for a phone OS which is shaping to be a failure at the level of Bob or Clippy - and was apparently designed by the same team.

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Anonymous Coward

But

It does not matter what the reviewers say, the MS lovers (or Haters) - what matters is what the consumers say and they it doesn't take to much intelligence (or do you need to be a "Android using Computer Scientist") to understand what they said.

They don't want it.

I know - just wait till _______ . I think that'sMicrosoft's marketing campaign. "we know our phones are not as good as the other phones on the market, but just wait till_____!"

The other night I say an add for an HTC phone. I don't recall the add mentioning "Windows" once. Maybe that is the secret to selling this thing. Keep the OS a secret.

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Anonymous Coward

I don't understand why carriers will support it especially

It seems to me, that a phone, which in the near term has 8.5 billion reasons that guarantee the integration of Skype(tm), is hardly something that a carrier would be especially joyous about.

I know iPhone (tm) has it's face talk (?) and I am sure the other mobile phone OSs have something too, but Skype is pretty ubiquitous and it is not a good way to sell carrier minutes.

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Bronze badge

Why would carriers care about selling minutes? You know how much money they are going to make on "data overages" with video calls?

Skype is a goldmine for those 2MB capped plans.

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WTF?

I'm in the somewhat unsettling position

of rooting for Microsoft.

Apple and their walled garden, Google and their intimate knowledge of me - all too creepy.

I just know MS are going to shoot themselves squah in the face with Windows 8 though.

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FAIL

problem is...

Microsoft are copying apple with the walled garden approach. you can't write apparel that might mean undercutting microsoft, you can't make web browsers for windows phone (opera mini an mobile have been cancelled due to MS rules).. and any content only works via Microsoft.

its all sounding very applelike, from a company Just as evil.

out of the 3, Google at least give me stuff for my info. the others take it for free. font be fooled that apple or microsoft font know just as much about you.

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Black Helicopters

Nothing new under the sun

I'm glad you pointed-out that the People app isn't really a new idea, since my N900 has something very similar. But that's the whole point about the mysteries of marketing, isn't it? Bill Gates was trying to shove tablet PCs down our throats years before the iPad. There were UIQ touchscreen smartphones years before the iPhone. As far back as the seventies, I remember Yamaha bringing out a bike with a "revolutionary" square-four engine, but some grey-haired old duffer then remembers that a British company had tried something similar about a hundred years previously. It's all very, very strange.

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Thumb Up

True, it's not a new idea.

Its the implementation of the idea that makes it truly successful and noteworthy as your reviewer and others have praised.

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Ariel Square Four

1931 - 1959, the engine being an Edward Turner design

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Pint

Tha Ariel (sp?)

Seems like an old codger friend (RIP) of the past had one

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Anonymous Coward

Very Slick

I pre-ordered mine on Three.

Had the fortune to play around with it before hand at the London event. Pretty slick and the design is original - even if the pink version is a little too gaudy! At least Nokia isn't following the Sammy/HTC/LG clones.

Although everyone here automatically hates Windows Phone (MS), everyone knows that the OS is probably the best thing MS have come up with for years. At least they didn't copy iOS (a la Android).

Kudos to MS for their optimisation: Android needs dual-core to have OS features functioning this slick without any lag.

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"Although everyone here automatically hates Windows Phone (MS), everyone knows that the OS is probably the best thing MS have come up with for years. At least they didn't copy iOS (a la Android)."

By all unbiased accounts, Android was under development prior to Google's purchase before iOS was announced, leaked or seen. We can speculate which came first, but the evidence points toward Android being in development longer.

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@Bullseyed

By other accounts it took so long because it apparently started off as a BB clone then later ended up as an iOS clone.

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WTF?

@Dan 55

You mean by fanboi versions of reality? Because you should really quit with the "iOS clone", in particular since iOS 4 most iOS "innovations" are just a copy of android functionalities (notifications anyone?).

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FAIL

Facebook/Twitter integration?

Does noone else see a problem with integrating phones to specific services?

A few years ago it would have been myspace or bebo integration, now facebook and twitter but what about a few years from now?

Someone needs to develop open APIs for such services to use, so that its possible to integrate new services without a huge amount of work.

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Anonymous Coward

@Joe Montana - about integration

Phones such as these are primarily used for two-three years on the outside.

Those specific services you mention usually last longer. By the time a new one becomes popular enough, your device will probably be quite old. That's the way consumerism works baby!

It's up to the so-called-services to develop the API's, not Microsoft (or Nokia or W3C).

If and when such a service comes into being and becomes popular enough, the push of its users will force the phone builders to integrate them. Then it only becomes a question of a Windows Update (or an OTA update for that specific Android device, or a new point release of iOS, or whatever).

So, it's not a big deal. Use them or don't use them. As long as there is a way around them.

It's more important that a smartphone such as this to support more of the existing technologies easily (such as - will this integrate with my Google account? What about Flickr or Dropbox? - What about all the IM services I'm embroiled in (yahoo!, googletalk, messenger, etc)? - that sort of thing)

Android is quite messier, but sorting this sort of thing is easier -because it's more flexible. iOS excludes most of them, so each usually get an independent app with very limited integration. Judgement is still out on WP.

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There's only one possible response to "someone needs to"

...Well volunteered!

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three way fight

Haven't used WinPhone 7 but by all accounts it looks excellent. Tried Android and iOS and much prefer iOS. It is uniform across devices, it works well, you don't need to root it to fix bugs as updates are rolled out centrally, the app store is simple to use and just works. There is a huge opportunity for MS here especially as Android is so obviously a 'me too' iOS immitation, while WinPhone really seems to have had a lot more thought put into it.

Was waiting for Nokia phones to take a look but bit disappointed they missed a few tricks that would have given them a huge edge over Apple:

- expandable memory via SD card

- removable battery

Also not sure if there is any route to load software outside of a 'walled garden'. Making it simple for companies to deploy their own software on the phone, as well as good integration with MS Office and Exchange, would make it a killer phone for business.

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you can officially unlock it

There is a official app that allows you to unlock your windows phone. It's called chevron. On another note, today I was comparing my htc mozart screen windows phone general functionality with my friend's iphone 3GS. Internet was much faster than my friend's but probably the netwrok to blame to a degree. But I was really surprised my screen looked so much more vivid and bright. He didn't get some setting on as far as he knows and no screen protection. I thought the iphone 4 screen was good but maybe not!

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Go

Just give it a try.

I'm glad to hear that they are going to focus on getting units into shops. I think that is one of the best techniques that Apple used in launching the iPhone... get people to use it and see for themselves. Dummy units are useless now... i really don't think that the size and shape of a phone is anything like as important as the software at this point.

Before slating the system give it a try. if nothing else, i think that MS deserve a little credit for doing something different. WP7 is a pretty good system... it's not without a couple of shortcomings but it feels like a different way of using a phone. compared to all the clutter on the iPhones of friends the tiles look really rather fresh.

It feels like someone has had a good think about what phones are used for and worked from there. A friend just got an iPhone 4s and was happy when he found and downloaded the linkedIN app. Afraid that all i could think was "you had to find an app for that? Isn't it just part of the phone?"

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Unhappy

re: Just give it a try.

So you are wondering why the 'linkedIn' app was not part of the phone.

Just ask youself this.

Why?

Why should it be part of the phone?

Having owned and iPhone 3gs and not an HTC sensation, I have to say the iPhone is better. Minimal apps but easy to add. The HTC, lots of apps that are frigging useless to be but I can't remove unless I root the phone.

Now which is best? Still want every phone shipped with only your fav apps? What about mine? What? they don't match 100%.

Think about the real world and the millions of non techy users who don't give a toss about LinkedIn.

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