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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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Bronze badge

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

"Only a company in a monopoly position or with a strong lock-in can afford to annoy their customers and MS did that extensively."

Well that's a really good point about MS, at least their GUI problems suggest they've not focussed as hard on customer experience as Apple, and maybe that's because they've not been as pressured to compete. That said, if we consider whether Apple competes - maybe it doesn't, because it's in the luxury goods sector: people queue up to burn their dollars at the fruity altar. So it may be difficult to compare it properly with MS.

You've changed the point I made by omitting "long-run" and "in an either-or scenario". You're right about commercial relationships sides finding a common interest, but that doesn't address the point I made. Your previous post appeared to feature the premise that it was possible for companies to ultimately, i.e. in the long run, put the customer's interests above their own. That's fallacious.

There may be convergences of interests, as you say, but outside of the luxury goods sector, these are fought over fiercely in the marketplace and aren't defined until the customer / seller agree a price between them. The minute it is clear to a company that its activities must ultimately cost them more than they will get back, i.e. no longer be profitable, they're no longer a commercial entity. For this reason, the whole of their existence they must fight the customer to establish price points as favourable to themselves as possible. Likewise the customer.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sounds nice...

There's a big difference between adding features and innovation.

Most of what you describe is the former not the latter.

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Really !!!

Quote : It's a strong platform that's far more friendly and usable than Android or iOS. It gets better the longer you use it.

Would you care to extrapolate on that ......

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Re: Really !!!

In truth I wouldn't have thought claiming to be better than Android and iPhone was that much of a claim, can't see how it would be that easy to be worse!

Problem is that just like the two the tight fisted folk have gone on with the touch screen stupidity, I like real buttons to do real jobs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Really !!!

It's simple management logic. "If we like it, everyone must like it"

If somebody up top has a stupid idea, no matter how many people say it's stupid they just won't hear it. There will be some easily swayed who fall for the hype and they'll like it. Those people will then advance because they're on the same wavelength as the managers. Others will see this and emulate them.

This is the start of the 'sheep' or 'yes men' infastructure. Management poses an idea, no matter how stupid "Oh great idea sir, absolutely fabulous, no wonder you earn quadrouple my pay while doing sweet FA"

And so we're punished with this utter shit, while the masses who made it keep the "Don't worry it'll grow on you. Admitadly more like a canerous tumour but still"

And eventually because Microsoft products are effectively forced adoption (office, visual studio, IE etc) no matter how much you protest to it, eventually you'll have to use it, and you'll eventually grow to tolerate it. Far different from loving it, but different enough to warrent buying it to upgrade from microsoft works. Microsoft make sales because you have no other choice and chalk it down to people loving the new ideas.

As a random note here, if a product succeeds microsoft are instantly there to champion their pioneering efforts and how amazeballs they are. The moment something goes wrong however. "Oh it's a downturn in the market, totally not because we threw in a new feature people hate"

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Re: Really !!!

Regarding the better the longer you use it as a WP7 user that would mostly be down to the fact it doesn't prescribe to the general consensus as to how users interact with their phone.

The WP7/8 OS is not app centric and services are far more integrated into the OS itself. For example the People's Hub is a one stop social media hub so whereas on iOS and Android (without setting up widgets) you would need to access your twitter,linkedIn, Facebook, etc apps individually so coming to WP that would be your first inclination into how its done. Once you get used to using the People's hub for reading all updates in one feed you then start trying out making customised lists that can be pinned to the start screen with their own live tiles.

WP7/8 has a load of features not on other OS that make life a hell of a lot easier but it can take some adjustment if you are coming over from other ecosystems.

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Re: Really !!!

The trouble with that approach is that it doesn't match what people really do.

Most people have a set of work contacts and a separate set of friends. They also often overlap.

I do not want to risk confusing replying to a FaceTweetSpace "Let's go out to XXX" with a work "We're meeting the customer at XXX".

A reply like "Cool, XXX is totes amazeballs" isn't suitable for one of those situations.

Perhaps the CxOs of such large companies as MS and Nokia don't ever have purely social engagements or socialise with colleagues, but most real people do.

For most people, keeping work email completely separate from social networking and personal email is a necessary function.

Ok, some do that by having two phones, but with the large physical size and short battery life of these things, that is becoming less practical.

To be honest, I don't really like that I have no way to properly separate my personal phonebook from my work contacts in the same phone, but at least that does have workarounds.

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WTF?

Re: Really !!!

I'm struggling to see the issue here from any other phone I have had.

The people hub allows me to find a contact I am looking for - whether that be work, family or friends (I don't want to have three phone books with some overlap).

I have a tile for my work email. One for my home email. And one for my gmail. There is no way to confuse the three. If I see emails from colleagues then I know I am in the inbox for my work account. If I see mails from friends and family then I am in my home account, and if I see order confirmations and SPAM then I am in my gmail account.

Pretty much as it was on iOS and Android as well - in fact easier as it's three separate tiles by default (you can connect inboxes if you want, but by default each account appears as its own app. On the iPhone you had to open the mail client and then select the inbox you wanted, and on my Desire and Xperia Z it was similar (Gmail had their own app).

The point is that the social networking has been made easier in the hub, which would be the FaceTweetSpace you were talking about. It's not a case of accidentally emailing or texting everyone in your contact list from the social media hub - you want to mail it's still separate, as it should be!

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Re: Really !!!

And as I said in my post you can do that via customised contacts lists .

You also confuse how people work with how people have only been able to work. If you look at the iOS and Android GUI they are identical in style to those used by keypad phones such as the Blackberry QWERTY phones and Sony Erricsson dumb phones. Even the menus operate as if you were using a thumbstick. People use a phone a certain way because there's never been an alternative.

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What's the problem with the RAM?

Most android phones can happily run 5 or 6 apps in 512 RAM (only the foreground one is usually active but they're in memory) and it's only about then that they start to get killed. How is it that Windows Phone 8 is so memory sensitive that switching away from an app and back again can cause it to be killed like this?

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Browsers and RAM

As I read the review he was talking about the browser app being in memory and dropping pages from the cache. There are often different reasons for this. Some pages have a tag in them to prevent them being cached - often true with pages that expect the data will change quickly. Other times the browser itself might be very 'hefty' and take up a lot of room, or sometimes tries to do something really dumb like keep the raw page in memory.

When I worked on Microsoft Mobile Explorer (not created by Microsoft but by STNC and then bought by them) the page was tokenised on the way into the browser, information we couldn't use was chucked, tags for things like font size changes because bits on the text data, as did bolds, italic and similar. End tags were discarded etc etc. This was done even more efficiently in the browser than it was by WAP (we could render both HTML and WML) - to the point where even compiled WAP pages were stored smaller in our browser memory than they had been delivered. This allowed us to keep far more web pages in memory than people expected.

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@ Dave 15 RE : Really!!!

"In truth I wouldn't have thought claiming to be better than Android and iPhone was that much of a claim, can't see how it would be that easy to be worse!"

Other than being the only two realistic options for mobile O/Ss these days... what is so bad about them? Neither are as bad as Windows Mobile 6.5 which totally ruined the whole Sony Xperia X1 device ownership thing for me.

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Re: @ Dave 15 RE : Really!!!

I can't say that I find either android or iphone to be very user friendly - too many pages of stuff applications that aren't where I want, not always obvious and the touch screen really fails to work well with my fat little fingers. It doesn't make them better if they are the only ones out there, just sad that there isn't more choice. As for the development environment the iPhone one was horrendous the last time I tried it (all be it a couple of years back), for android I've not done a great deal but had a play and wasn't very impressed.

Personally I'd probably dig out an old S60 phone for a smart phone - does all the same stuff, generally good build (not always), range of form factors, decent cameras etc etc). Or if I couldn't find one that was still working in the box of old ones I'd get a blackberry so I could have the keyboard.

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WTF?

Re: @ Dave 15 RE : Really!!!

I'd be interested to know which android phones you have experience of Dave15.

" too many pages of stuff applications that aren't where I want"

On almost all android phones the apps are together, in one place and in alphabetical order.

I think you're dismissing some absolutely brilliant and functional devices with, in reality, no experience of them at all.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @ Dave 15 RE : Really!!!

As a Nexus 4 user (trading it in this weekend) I have switched to a 720.

The Nexus is the closest you can get to minimalist Android and whilst it is clutter-free and smooth it remains, just like iOS, nothing more than a desktop with icons and phone plus other communications features. The WP phones are phones and communication devices that can also have apps. The emphasis is the opposite and the device much better for it.

It's a personal preference, but I want my phone to be a phone, not an old-fashioned desktop like the Windows/Mac/Linux ones the tech press keeps saying is dying a death. With WP I get that, but still have apps when I need them.

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Three hundred quid?

I could get a Sammy S3 contract free for that. Admittedly the newer S4 price hasn't yet come down from its launch premium, but with the N 620 currently £200 SIM free, the 720 isn't going to come down much below £250.

And the point isn't so much whch is the better phone, it is simply that when you take out the air time, we're talking about a £12 to £15 a month purchase, and for only the price of a couple of decent coffees a month (or a couple of beers, a packet of cigs or whatever) you can get a lot more phone for your money.

If you really only want a basic phone, then there's ten quid Alcatels and Nokia dumb phones kicking about. Once you're in the smartphone market, the marginal cost of trading up can be quite low (albeit not if you insist on a freshly minted S4 or latest iPhone). But given the often mediocre ownership experience of cheap smartphones (eg Wildfire S, Galaxy Ace, Orange San Diego and many others), why risk your investment, even on contract, by saving three quid a month to take a low end Microsoft offering? Will the desperados of Redmond give you free OS updates, as they struggle to offset declining PC revenues? Will they even issue updates for a low end phone?

About fourteen months ago I splashed out on our small fleet of household phones. Two SGS2s for the grown ups, and a Galaxy Ace for the oldest nipper. The Ace has always struggled with storage, with speed, with a low display resolution, a crummy camera - it's stuck on Gingerbread. The SGS2's have been and remain a joy to own and use. OK, they were more expensive to buy, but far more than offset by the satisfaction. I'll be very, very cautious in future about buying cheap or mid range handsets.

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Re: Three hundred quid?

There have been SIM free/unlocked deals for the Lumia 620 for £150.

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Re: Three hundred quid?

Fair call, but that's still £150 over twenty four months for a decent spec phone like an S3 (or for that matter a higher end WP if you so wish).

So at absolute most, five or six quid a month cheaper for something you'll always know isn't as good as you could have had. Maybe a Starbucks with trimmings every two weeks will take away the bitterness of user disappointment?

If you really want cheap, the answer is "not a smartphone", surely?

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Re: Three hundred quid?@ledswinger

Are you seriously suggesting Starbucks make a decent cup of coffee?

I want you to stand in the corner and think long and hard about what you've just said!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Three hundred quid?@ledswinger

"Are you seriously suggesting Starbucks make a decent cup of coffee?"

There was an early Southpark episode about that.

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Stop

Re: Crippled by the DORKY Windows 8 HORROR

Running late with the MS hate today Eadon.....

Not sure I'd consider an MS phone (as I have Android and iOS in the family already), but the Nokia hardware does look increasingly compelling.

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@IHateWearingATie: I entirely agree.

I currently run a Desire X and a Lumia 820. They are both nice phones at their price-point and I enjoy using them. The Lumia has a build quality (for the price) that reminds me of older Nokia phones. I have no idea whether or not Nokia are going to be able to dig themselves out of the hole they are currently in (a hole that they themselves dug long before their link-up with Redmond) but I am still enjoying using the 820 and the "X" side by side for largely overlapping reasons but sometimes for different reasons. The tribalist/low-forebrow/knuckle-draggers do not understand having any kind of ecumenical attitude to these kinds of choices. They just want to howl their usual, extremely tiresome, song.

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Re: Crippled by the DORKY Windows 8 HORROR

@Eadon

you most certainly do not deal in facts. FUD, yes, opinion, definitely.

your startling "observations" are nothing more than the continuous pouring of scorn over anything you happen to dislike at the time.

Here are some facts for you:

You are not the bastion of truth

You spout FUD as if it were the truth

Microsoft bullied you as a child

You need to get some professional help.

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Boffin

Re: Crippled by the DORKY Windows 8 HORROR

I DEAL IN FACTS.

Okay, then let's look at your facts:

I have more style than to be seen with a gaudy gimcrack with such a ghastly UI to it.

This is not a fact. Style is subjective.

Nokia Lumias are a total disaster in the market place.

This is an evaluation of what may be facts. "Total disaster" is a subjective term. What are the factual numbers?

MS have produced a dud Mobile OS and they lost their market share because of it.

This is an unproven assertion ("...dud Mobile OS...") and an inference of causation where correlation exists. ("...lost their market share because of it...")

In fact, in the quarter of the launch, Microsoft's number of subscribers dived 25%.

This is the closest you've come to a fact so far. However, it is vague (quarter of which launch? Windows Phone 8? Nokia's latest Lumia?) and does not include necessary citations (where did you source the 25% figure from?)

I think it's safer to say that you deal in opinions supported by questionable logic and cherry-picked facts. Most humans do, you know. It's just that some of us are honest enough to admit it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Crippled by the DORKY Windows 8 HORROR

> Look at the UI - tell me you wouldn't be embarrassed being seen with it?

Okay. I wouldn't be embarrassed being seen wth it.

Oh, and before you say I'm clueless about design and don't know what the cool kids like - my latest design put up on Behance was featured on the front page and became the 3rd most appreciated that month. And if you want to find hipsters, you go to Behance.

There may be loads of issues with Windows Phone 8. I don't know. But the design is not ghastly by any means.

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Re: Crippled by the DORKY Windows 8 HORROR

@ Steve Knox.

I could have mistaken you for one of my lecturers at Uni telling me off for handing in an awful assignment!

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Re: Crippled by the DORKY Windows 8 HORROR

'Hardware behind state of the art' - similar to the MS point, who actually gives a fig?

Seriously...

Again, like the OS that powers them kids are not interested, they want a phone that looks funky and cool and don't give a monkeys about the processor or the OS.

Add to that the fact that the hardware here does give the phone good user performance - the phone responds swiftly, the main purpose of the phone (calls) works extremely well, the camera is certainly good enough (if not up to the Nokia 808 standards) . The advantage it has over the other terrible phones is that when you get out in the evening and want to show it to your mates you won't need to worry whether you charged it up at 5pm or not, because, unlike the iphone and most android phones it has a battery life that manages more than 5 hours.

Personally I think you might be right about the failure of the brand, but frankly you are wrong on the hardware, the windows 8 'horror' (it might not be your taste but it is at the least usable and certainly is different and therefore to my mind more fun than the iphone clone android). The basics underpinning the UI that you see are solid enough and the dev environment is better.

Even the colours are designed to be funky, though without a keyboard it will not appeal to miserable old farts like myself.

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Re: Crippled by the DORKY Windows 8 HORROR

The phone might have no traction - but is that the fault of the UI you clearly dislike or the phone design? Personally I don't know, for me it would be the phone design - I want buttons (see my other posts) not a touch screen.

The UI is not embarrassing, it is perhaps odd. It is better in my opinion than the iphone/android ui (basically clones).

The phone UI I liked the best was one we demo'd with MME, user configurable HTML with some interesting extra 'markup' options that weren't html but allowed for automatically updating information (e.g. traffic, weather, location, news, stocks... whatever). Further we provided the ability to update this from a PC either via cable or push messages.

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@Steve Knox: Analysis? Facts? Logic? You are asking a great deal of that gentleman.

No, sorry old chap please excuse my facetiousness, it is so irresistible when that particular commentard is involved. A highly apposite post from you by the way - thank you.

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Re: Crippled by the DORKY Windows 8 HORROR

@Eadon

"And the market happens to agree with me"

Does the market agree with you about Linux vs Windows?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Crippled by the DORKY Windows 8 HORROR

"Nokia Lumias are a total disaster in the market place."

Erm, sorry to rain on your parade, but Nokia are outselling Blackberry nearly 6:1 in the US (4.1% vs 0.7%) and that's a market they only just entered. Lumia sales globally are rising rapidly (over 100% a year) and it looks like they will sell at least 30 million this year!

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Nobody cares about the OS...

They don't care about an OS, but they care what it allows you to do.

W8 does not support the vast majority of mobile apps out there which run on either iOS or Android. I'd care about that.

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"a market they only just entered"

How long must we listen to this excuse.

Nokia have been doing smartphones pretty much forever. They are a well known brand. Many people will be buying the Nokia for the brand and not knowing/caring that it is a W8 phone. Heck, that is one of the reasons why MS got in the sack with Nokia. They needed Nokia's reflected glow.

And MS have been doing phones since well before Apple started iphone.

The "give the newcomer a chance" line is just plain bullshit.

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Anonymous Coward

@Eadon Re: Crippled by the DORKY Windows 8 HORROR

Upvoted purely for use of the word "ghastly", which doesn't get to play out nearly as often as it should.

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Re: Nobody cares about the OS...

Not even actually certain about that.

I might be wrong but my understanding is that the majority of smart phone owners never actually download an application, of those that do only download one of a very limited number of applications.

The number of applications available does depend on the popularity of the devices it can run on, that said I have been approached recently for a windows app development so people are seeing a market forming there.

I think for those who are interested in a particular application - what ever that might be - will perhaps research whether it is available on the device before purchase. One thing that is to be remembered about Nokia and Windows is they ship some of the important stuff on the phone as standard.

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Stop

Re: Crippled by the DORKY Windows 8 HORROR

"Sell" or "ship"? We've heard the massaged version of the figures too many times before.

No links = no credibility I'm afraid.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Crippled by the DORKY Windows 8 HORROR - Sell or Ship

After all this time selling Lumias, the distinction is now irrelevant.

If the shipped phones weren't being sold then we are far enough down the line now that the suppliers (who ask for the shipped phones) would no longer be placing such orders.

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Paris Hilton

RE: Crippled by the DORKY Windows 8 HORROR

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn.

Hey El Reg, any progress on that "ignore" option?

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Anonymous Coward

SatNav

worth mentioning that the 720 comes with the single country HERE satnav not the global HERE+ (which the cheaper 620 has). Apparently soon you will be able to upgrade the 620 to HERE+ but it will cost.

Despite the smaller screen (3.8 / 480 x 800) and smaller battery (1300mAh) I'd say that the 620 makes more sense thanks to a much lower price point (£150 v £300 on PAYG).

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"Other than that Windows Phone lives up to its reputation as the most smooth, fast and functional smartphone OS."

It doesn't have that reputation - at least not in the world I know, or can reach through reviews, blogs, the world press and so on. Don't get me wrong, it has some very nice features indeed - Kinect aside, some of the best stuff from Microsoft for decades IMO - but i'm not sure where you get this 'fact' from. I'm willing to be educated, but until then i'll put it down to yet another little invention of yours.

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...followed by a thumbs down but no evidence. Let me be clear - I don't care what OS in on the phone, neither am I flying the flag for any phone OS at all. Couldn't give a rats arse. As I said, I like a lot of what I see in Windows Phone but I have never seen it mentioned as having a reputation as "the most smooth, fast and functional smartphone OS" - until now. That must have been one hell of a quick reputation to gain, and i've missed it completely. Show me what i'm missing and where it's mentioned - that's all.

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GIYF

(Google Is Your Friend)

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/cell-phones/after-the-iphone-4s-windows-phone-7-5-still-feels-right/6751

"Speed and consistency has always been a hallmark of iOS, but Windows Phone 7.5 beats Apple here with an extremely snappy performance even on old hardware."

https://medium.com/adventures-in-consumer-technology/4b06dcbb98c9

"It’s really, really fast. One thing that most people who play with my phone say is “wow, it’s really fast” or “it’s super responsive,” and it is."

Took me all of 12 seconds to find these among dozens of others. Try searching for 'windows phone performance"

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"That must have been one hell of a quick reputation to gain, and i've missed it completely. Show me what i'm missing and where it's mentioned - that's all."

Seconded ! I was under the impression iOS still rules the GUI with the BB OS trying to innovate with much swiping of fingers and the Windows Phone not much discussed. Android of course as the established middle ground many people measure against due to sheer numbers.

I'm going to put this down as a reputation within the press not the public since I think I'd struggle to find anyone I know with a Windows Nokia.

As for myself I may move from my n900 to a BB Q10 but I'm not sure I like the keypad. Regarding a Nokia Win Phone well I'll think about it in 2 to 3 years time when it's stabilised... my golden rule for anything with "Windows" in the name.

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It's a poor rhetorical device used by Mr Orlowski who obviously likes Windows Phone and elides his personal opinion into a general one. I'm not sure if he's aping Jane Austen's ironic style or classical realism.

I've not come across any such reviews in the press I read but I guess there might be a case to be made for the apparently service-centric Windows Phone approach. However, I also suspect that a "fast and functional smartphone OS" is probably an oxymoron. Feature phones with real buttons are functional.

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