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back to article Review: Nokia Lumia 720

Nokia completed its Windows 8 range with two new models recently, including this midrange offering the 720. With a choice of five Lumias it's now clearer to see what Nokia hopes to achieve. The 720 strikes me as the Ford Cortina of the Lumias, a well made mass market compact. The 720 has everything going for it except, perhaps, …

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Almost perfect

Shame about the OS.

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Re: Almost perfect

Down voted you for a couple of reasons.

First, clearly just an anti Microsoft knee jerk reaction (same as the first post) with little thought behind it - and no suggestion as to what would be better and why.

Second, it is a consumer device. Do you know any teenage kids that give a damn about the OS rather than the 'coolness' of the device? How many bought an iPhone for iOS? How many know what Android is based on? How many ever had a clue about the OS in the Nokia phones, Ericsson phones, Sony, Motorola? Did it make a damn of difference to the phone? Even if you decide that as a 'smart phone' the underlying OS might matter it doesn't to the end user, merely to the developer who is trying to sell you an application. In the case of that the development environment for windows is well known and pretty good.

I don't like Elop, I won't buy a single Nokia phone while they employ the guy. I don't like him because he closed down Symbian where I had worked and he closed down the team I did work for because after 2 years work by hundreds of dedicated engineers we were dismissed because he "didn't know" what we were doing... any CEO taking that much money and sinking a company as huge, profitable and forward thinking as Nokia deserves nothing in the way of respect or support.

As to the OS, well, it is ONLY there to provide basic services so who cares what it is really? No one.

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Devil

Re: Almost perfect

I hate to say it - but you are right regarding the OS - no teenage kid/anyone cares. In my view that explains why people keep buying iOS phones (that is MY OPINION).

Phones look nice; spec sounds good etc but for reasons Dave 15 gives - I will not buy a Nokia while Elop is around. In addition the OS puts me off - my dislike of MS goes back to DR-DOS; Stacker; FoxPro, Sendo......

You may say I'm cutting my nose off to spite my face but in my book it's standing by my principles of not supporting such companies, (yes, Sky/Murdoch are in the same boat)

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Trollface

Re: Almost perfect

Well if the OS is not important I'm not sure if the build has got much going for it. Nokia's Windows Phone case design hasn't changed in two years, give them twenty years more and maybe they'll finally become fashionable.

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Silver badge

Re: Almost perfect

I'm gonna agree with the 'shame about the OS' post, but I'm going to give a little more reason behind it. I've liked nokia for many years, my first several phones were all nokia, the only reason I moved away from nokia was the price (when the massive mobe price drop came along, the nokia phones all seemed to keep their higher prices for a fair while)

But I just do not like windows phone OS. I have tried it, I have had family who have tried it, heck my sister bought a Windows phone 7 against my advice (which she regretted greatly) however even with the bells and whistles of Windows Phone 8, I just can't get along with that interface, I don't know what it is about it but I just don't like it.

For me the style just doesn't work on a mobile phone, the buttons are too big, and the devices too small. Now on a tablet, I've played with the metro interface and it was tollerable. There wer a few niggles here and there, but that's the same with any new product. But it just doesn't do it for me on a phone.

Now if somebody managed to port something like Go Launcher or another alternative interface then sure let me know and I'll be happy to buy one, depending on price that is. But for now the metro jsut kills it for me.

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Re: Almost perfect

What's wrong with the OS, BigYin?

I've had a Nokia 620 for a month now, and IMHO in terms of productivity and ease of use it is much better than Android or IOS and works well with Windows, Office and Skydrive.

If, however, you want a phone that works well with Linux or Apple, then I'd agree that you'd probably not want to go the Windows Phone route.

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Re: Almost perfect

You're complaining about the UI not the OS - I know they are getting a bit confused these days.

The problem with ALL modern phones is that they've all gone for touch screens - these just do NOT work in mobile situations - walking, on a train, in a bus, in a car... you just can't tap the right part of the screen consistently enough.

Worse none of them protect the screen without buying some ugly awful and nasty piece of c*(** to wrap it up in.

What a lot of people want is something small, neat, with buttons, a clear display and perhaps something really old fashioned like a 'flip' - I had a Z5, the flip meant I did NOT need a lock/unlock thing, the buttons meant I could dial or message on the move, the jog dial meant I could navigate web pages with ease (the browser fitting every web page to screen width helped hugely here, as did its ability to start rendering before the whole page was downloaded enabling you to leap through many links without waiting days), and of course the flip could be set to answer/hang up calls when you opened and closed it. Last, but not least, the flip also protected the microphone from wind and other environmental noise so people could actually here what you were saying.

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JC_

@Dave 15

The problem with ALL modern phones is that they've all gone for touch screens - these just do NOT work in mobile situations - walking, on a train, in a bus, in a car... you just can't tap the right part of the screen consistently enough.

If you want to fiddle with your phone and you're walking, then stand still. If you're in a car, be the passenger. If you're on a bus or a train, no problem, it works fine.

Your brain can't deal with navigating and operating a phone simultaneously and do both well, so it's not the fault of the touch screen. Pedestrians have wandered into busy roads while looking at there mobile since well before the iPhone came along.

Smart phones are awesome, but there're plenty of dumb phones around if that's what you really want.

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Re: Almost perfect

@Grail

I have already made so many posts stating what's wrong with WP8 that continuing this crusade would most likely permanently mark me as "the Microsoft hater". As for productivity, how do you explain that Microsoft's own operating system is unable to directly synchronize with one of the most used Microsoft's own software, that being Outlook? Why is it that I can't read/send messages, edit calendar entries, contacts, etc? I know my S60 phone can do all of that even though I have to install PC Suite. (no, don't even get me started on Zune, that's got to be the most useless program I've ever seen)

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Re: @Dave 15

I don't want to 'stand still' - I want to keep walking when I answer the phone, when I dial someone to tell them I'm late etc.

And NO it does NOT work in the car, bus, train - the shaking and wobbling ensure you don't get the right places.

There were plenty of smart phones around with keyboards - and they were better. there were even some that managed to combine keyboards AND big screens.

My brain can cope with navigating, walking and so forth while operating the phone - and without getting run over.

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Re: Almost perfect

My dislike with closed OSes is that I can't customise them to meet my requirements. I'm locked into the software developer's "vision", and to hell with what I want.

Such is the path to useful features being removed and bugs going unfixed. That's why Maemo et al had me rooting for them...a phone with a chance to fix those annoying bugs myself? Yes please! Being forced into a crippled OS that can't even do everything Symbian did 10 years ago? Humbug.

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gjw
Flame

Re: Almost perfect

>I don't like Elop, I won't buy a single Nokia phone while they employ the guy.

I feel the exact same and wonder how much business they miss just because of that guy (apart from a possible dislike of MS-products).

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Thumb Up

Re: Almost perfect

@wowfood - upvoted due to rational explanation.

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Re: "if somebody managed to port something like Go Launcher"

And right there is one strength of Android, if you don't like something about Android or it's UI, there's a good chance ordinary users can install a replacement and change it. Very few phones run stock Android, whether it's a carrier mangled, OEM skinned (which many users like) or user hacked version.

Want to do that on WP,iOS or BB? Not an option. In the Android ecosystem users have direct influence on how Android evolves while others get to take what's given them and try to like it.

Over the years my Android phones have looked/behaved like iOS, WP7, HTC Sense, whatever Sony call their Xperia skin... and half a dozen 3rd party home replacements including truly different 3D launchers. Rarely lasts long before choosing something closer to stock Android.

I've drawn the line firmly at trying Facebook Home though and didn't like Go Launcher at all ;)

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JC_

Re: @Dave 15

Ah, my mistake. I thought when you said that you "just can't tap the right part of the screen consistently enough" you were referring to something more difficult than picking up a call, which requires a crude swipe across the screen on my phone. Dialling requires hitting a clearly marked area of about 10 square cm, so not too difficult, either.

And NO it does NOT work in the car, bus, train - the shaking and wobbling ensure you don't get the right places.

Maybe if the bus is the back of a ute heading down an Andean dirt track, otherwise you're making the tasks hundreds of millions of people do without thinking everyday seem extraordinary.

If all you need to do is place and answer calls and you can't do it on a touch-screen, then the problem lies with you. You're clearly unhappy with a tool that works for most people.

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FAIL

Re: Almost perfect

Wow,

Your post explains a lot, I sell phones and always have repeat customers as I always manage to get people the phone that works best for them, and can you guess what this is based on? Yep that's right, the OS. I find it fascinating that someone who helped create a phone OS would believe the consumer has no interest in it, but i fully understand where you're coming from as I didn't have a single customer come in and say any positive words about Symbian, ever. I hate to say it but it was about time symbian was closed it was hugely flawed and un-intuitive and with staff with an attitude like yours it is no wonder.

Personally I thought the review was spot on going by my experience with the rest of the lumia range and this would undoubtedly become my 'go-to' first recommendation to anyone new to smartphones who wanted a fairly desirable bit of kit.

and just fyi to break it down into stereo-typical groups of who gets along with what OS

iOS - People already in the apple ecsystem

Android - chavs, geeks, kids

Win Pho - People new to smartphones, the elderly, professionals with cool jobs (designers, engineers)

Blackberry (pre 10) - Dumb "business women", people afraid to move away from BB, 13 year old girls, certain racial groups

symbian - builders "gimme your cheapest nokia, I'll break it next week"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Almost perfect

You've made lots of statements about what's wrong with WP8, then you say don't get you started on zune.

You do know that WP8 doesn't use Zune? That sort of casts a rather large shadow over the credibility of the rest of your post.

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Meh

Re: Almost perfect

I personally was disappointed that ActivSync was dropped because that was (for me) the biggest reason to go for WinPhone 5 & 6.. The fix was/is to sync the contacts and calendar with HoTMaiL.. Or sync directly with Exchange over the air.

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Unhappy

Re: Almost perfect

There's no way Elop or MS are going to make me buy a MS-toting Nokia. Even if the Fabulous Fred interface copes better with mobile phones, I do not want MS creep in my phones. I still have a BlackBerry because I dislike both the iOS walled garden and Android's Google Data Slurp.

And as other commenters have mentioned, I dislike MS for many reasons, especially being the Galactus of technologies: FoxPro, Sendo, Palm... either they kill those who enter strategic "alliances", or absorb them and *then* kill the tech (see FoxPro).

I only wish Elop is given the boot while Nokia is still alive...

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Re: Almost perfect

... it is a consumer device. Do you know any teenage kids that give a damn about the OS rather than the 'coolness' of the device?

That's absolutely true, but SO not the point.

This phone could have been attractive to ME had it run Meego or perhaps Symbian skinned with Qt, or maybe Android, but I'm not interested in a Windows device. So, I agree with the OP -- shame about the OS.

That's a personal opinion, of course, but a perfectly valid comment.

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Facepalm

Re: Almost perfect.. Fiat 500

just picked up a Fiat 500 hire-car.. Love the economy, cost, look, performance and styling.. But as soon I saw the Windows logo on the controls, I thought exactly the same.. "almost perfect.. Except for the OS". I'd almost rather walk the fifty miles rather use a car with Windows.. everyone surely knows that QNX is the OS of choice when selecting a car...

... Oh no, wait a minute... that's just daft, nobody picks a car (or phone) for the OS

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Almost perfect

" As for productivity, how do you explain that Microsoft's own operating system is unable to directly synchronize with one of the most used Microsoft's own software, that being Outlook?"

Outlook is a client. Sync both Outlook and your phone with your email server. Job done. You can then easily edit contacts, etc....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Almost perfect

"I personally was disappointed that ActivSync was dropped because that was (for me) the biggest reason to go for WinPhone 5 & 6.. The fix was/is to sync the contacts and calendar with HoTMaiL.. Or sync directly with Exchange over the air."

It wasn't dropped. It still exists. It's called EAS - Exchange ActiveSync. The only difference is that there is now no need for a physical connection.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Almost perfect

"I hate to say it - but you are right regarding the OS - no teenage kid/anyone cares. In my view that explains why people keep buying iOS phones (that is MY OPINION)."

You're exactly wrong.

Many people buy iOS phones *because* of the OS, because it's the OS that runs the apps they want. If you have an iOS phone, chances are almost 100% that you can get whatever cool app that all your friends are running.

I've run into two younger people over the last year who felt like they were tricked by salespeople into buying Windows Phone phones and were furious because 9 times out of 10, when they wanted to run a particular app/game on their phone, it wasn't available. If that isn't caring deeply about choice of operating system, I don't know what is.

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Re: Almost perfect

I felt the same way.

This is a part of a post I made before:

<quote>

After trying a WinPho8 again today I figured out why I don't like it

Trying to be fair I've had several tries on a WinPho 8 to evaluate it - and today I've worked out why I feel - umm.. - errr... - don't like it.

It's simple really - you don't seem to have multiple screens like you have on iOS and Android. All apps are on the front screen with the idea being that your most common ones are near the top. Then you swipe to the right and can see a full app list.

But I like to set up my screens for specific tasks - for example - nothing which costs money if accidentally touched on the main (middle) screen - so only tools like calculator, torch, camera etc as well as widgets for clock and calendar which I want to see straight away. Next screen is for messaging stuff; texts, twitter, mail, skype as well as a row for settings; mobile, wifi, hotspot etc.

So, MS seem to have decided how your phone should be used - whereas iOS and Android allow you to set up the phone for your own needs. And my guess is that there are as many setups as there are users!

Also, I think users like to personalise their phones - and large Android widgets are a nice and easy way to do that.

</quote>

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JC_

@bailey86

"All apps are on the front screen"

Um, no, they're not. Apps are only on the start screen if you pin them there and there's nothing stopping you from removing and rearranging them. It's better to think of it as the area to keep apps that you want to get alerts from (weather, messages, facebook etc.) or need instant access to (maps, dialer etc.) All apps are on another screen (swipe right to left from the main screen).

The Android way definitely has it's pros & cons and I can understand why someone might prefer it. Personally I dislike the iOS grid of icons as it's unstructured and communicates little information, the worst of the three, in my experience.

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Re

You do know that WP8 doesn't use Zune? That sort of casts a rather large shadow over the credibility of the rest of your post.

Yep, I didn't look into it as I know how bad it was. However, that also means to took another option away, no matter how bad. I apologize for jumping into conclusions.

Outlook is a client. Sync both Outlook and your phone with your email server. Job done. You can then easily edit contacts, etc....

So exactly how do I synchronize contacts and calendar over IMAP? Not that I wanted to do that, I have no intentions of providing access to my contact list to any online service if I can avoid it.

OS that can't even do everything Symbian did 10 years ago

Yep, my thoughts exactly.

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Re: @bailey86

@JC_ - I think I can see what bailey86 is saying: there's only one start screen. Yes, you can select what goes on there and what order, but there's still just the one screen. Unless there's new features on the WP8 that I've yet to look into.

But as far as I know, there's no way I could have (say) a screen which displays just my normal apps, then another which displays games that I've written when I want to demo them - I could list them one under the other, but not separate them from each other.

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Re: @Dave 15

Is there a "holding it wrong" joke in here somewhere?

I'm sorry but if you struggle to use a touch-screen : don't. The rest of us manage just fine. Car,bus,train on foot or otherwise. Cheap device? Buy a better one. Fat fingers? Don't go all touch screens, butyone of the millions of second hand blackberry or android "half and half" devices.

If that is what works for you then use it, but don't try and exclaim that touchscreen smartphones don't work in these situations. They do. Perfectly, in any situation one could reasonably expect to be able to use your hands.

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Thumb Up

Re: Almost perfect

I have an Exchange server sat behind it, but on Windows Phone 8 you can send emails, edit calendar entries and contacts, and those changes show up in Outlook. If you set yourself up a Microsoft account when setting the phone up (I already had one for MSDN) you have a Hotmail calendar to sync Outlook and the phone with.

You don't need Zune - not sure that even came with my Lumia 620. The phone mounts the internal storage and Micro-SD in Windows 7's Explorer and you drag-and-drop things.

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Re: @bailey86

I stand corrected.

As you say - not all apps are on the front screen - it looks like the front screen should be used for the most common apps. And then - if neeeded - you can swipe the the left to get a basic list view of all apps.

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Re: Almost perfect

@18:12 AC:

The only thing ActiveSync (the program) and Exchange ActiveSync (the protocol) have in common is the name.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Almost perfect

@Stephen Channell - Why would you sync a client with another client, rather than the server?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Almost perfect

It's doubtful you have even used it. So how can you comment on something you don't know?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re

@Aoyagi Aichou - They removed the ability to sync your phone with Zune at WP8, but they added the ability for you to sync anything to your phone - You can use Windows Media Play, you can just copy the files up there with it as a USB attached device or you can even use iTunes to sync all your old Apple stuff to a WP8. Hardly reducing choice.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Almost perfect

That is true of almost every single thing in your life.

Have you built your own house and car? have you made your own kitchen from scratch out of wood?

Yes, being able to fully customise and bespoke something is nice, but you are one of the small number of people who actually care about that. Why? simple, being able to hack away at an OS requires the skill to do it, just like carpentry or bricklaying requires a skill.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Almost perfect

Indeed. You can copy music, pictures etc. both on and off the device easily. No zune software.

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Happy

Re: Almost perfect

"Why would you sync a client with another client".. 'cus I started doing it in 1994 (HP 200LX) & WinPhone in 2003 (Motorola MX100).. I liked ActiveSync for the same reason I like QWERTY (I'm used tlo it).

These days there's better ways of doing it.. but I do chucke when iPhone users write new numbers on paper "just in case the contact is deleted"

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Re: Almost perfect

sinking a company....as forward thinking as Nokia.......

they will sink further if you withhold support just cos the guy's a twat

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Thumb Up

The old ones that were good ones.

I've only just retired my old 6230i this year. It was a splendid little phone.

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Re: The old ones that were good ones.

Ah, back in the days when Nokia was king.

the 6230 was probably my favourite phone going back about 8 years. Great form factor, great screen and great user experience.

I just wished Nokia had put the same amount of effort into this type of device, instead of making something like the 7280... But then again, I think only 3 people ended up buying one of those.

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Go

Re: The old ones that were good ones.

Still running my 1100 :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The old ones that were good ones.

Pah, 6310i still sat by me, charged on Friday, still a good few weeks (or several hours of calls) before the next one.

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Silver badge

Sounds nice...

but not nice enough to make up for it being a microsoft phone. After two decades of MS shenanigans and a clear drive to put monopoly profits above the customer's interests, they need to offer something exceptional for me to take notice. I wonder if I am the only one?

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Re: Sounds nice...

"After two decades of MS shenanigans and a clear drive to put monopoly profits above the customer's interests, they need to offer something exceptional for me to take notice. I wonder if I am the only one?"

You write of putting profits above the customer's interests - yet in any commercial relationship, long-run profits must on balance always be placed above customers' interests in an either-or scenario.

Yes MS have tried to behave monopolistically sometimes. They may even have done some good things too (gasp). And their old boss may be doing good things with his money, like trying to cure malaria. But ethics aside, the relative merits of their mobile browser should be what matters here. Sometimes bad people can make good things.

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Re: Sounds nice...

Yes, because Google or Apple would never put profit before customer interests. Their altruism makes me weep. Sometimes. Silently. At night. Alone.

There hasn't been much innovation on iPhone since 2007, and while I do like Android it seems that Google and its OEMs are trying to set new standards in feature creep.

WinPhone8, at least, dares do something a bit different, and it works for me. Which does not make it perfect of course. There are a number of annoying aspects to it... browser navigation, volume controls, etc. come to mind.

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Re: Sounds nice...

Google's business model is vastly different that Microsoft's and in a way them being a company solely focused on bring ad verts to mass, innovation in different tech is their game. Their goal is to present you with something you want to stare at constantly, while not turning you away from the ad revenue.

Microsoft (and could be said of Apple), are (maybe more correctly *Should Be) focused on delivering useful software. Their issue that that shareholders are angry cause Microsoft is not Google and so try to make them into an Advertisement Biz.

What you get is a solid OS, topped by a second rate GUI, that achieves neither something people want to stare at nor is it useful in any manner reasonable. Google (and Apple) have solid OS's also, but they also have useful interfaces.

I feel Microsoft is hanging them selves with trying to be something the won't be and quite frankly i don't care, I won't be said to see them go, or at least take a major hit in the areas they once dominated.

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Stop

In any commercial relationship, ... profits must ... be placed above customers' interests

I disagree, in most commercial relationships both sides find a common interest. If that common interest would not exist, then there would no deal!

Only a company in a monopoly position or with a strong lock-in can afford to annoy their customers and MS did that extensively. They built their monopoly and then started to tax the world for access to office documents. I still run windows to retain access to a lot of legacy data -- and I don't ever want to have a similar lock-in for my phone. Google, on the other hand, liberated a lot of information and offers you daily choice whether you want to pay the Google tax (move over to Bing if you want).

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FAIL

Re: Sounds nice...

Personally I'm pretty amazed I have these devices to choose from (iPhone, the various Android phones, Windows) but I don't think I can let the not much innovation on iPhone since 2007 sentence pass.

iPhone innovation does appear (to me) to be slowing but a lot has changed since 2007: when we had:

No app store, no retina display, wired-only backups/updates/synch, no push notification, no MMS, no copy-paste (the biggest reason I didn't buy an early iphone), totally non-existent multitasking (except I think, playing media on iTunes?), no airplay, no icon folders, no spotlight search, no FindMyPhone (and where would "Sherlock" be without that?), no iTunes purchases on phone, no support for Exchange, no tethering, no email attachments, etc.

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