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back to article The Great Smartphone OS Shoot-out

If you want a smartphone - and, let’s face it, most people do these days - you have four choices, all of which have recently been updated. Apple’s rightly admired iOS has now hit the big 5-point-oh, Google’s rather more blue-collar Android is about to turn 4, while Microsoft’s Windows Phone is now a precocious seven-and-a-half. …

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FAIL

Android Email!

Very poor review of the Android email. You should have been using the gmail client and doing the account consolidation with gmail backend. This work exceptionally well and is far superior to the other options.

Your android score reflects more your ability to work the phone, rather than android email.

For next time maybe you should get someone who knows how to use it to actually do it.

shoddy.

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Thumb Up

Absolutely,,,

Absolutely right - Google mail autosyncs with Android impeccably, and you can route as many other mailboxes as you want to your Gmail account (and access it from any computer, not just your phone)

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Anonymous Coward

dialler not an issue in wp7

not really any issue with the dialler, can't remember the last time I called someone that either hadn't called me first or isn't in my contacts. And if you need to its just one extra icon press

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Save to SIM

Good review, though quite difficult...

@Alex C:

Take a deep breath & say "Om" three times.

Now go to your iPhone's settings, save contacts to SIM. Done.

Sometimes the walled garden is in one's head... ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Not on this iphone

"Import from SIM" only

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Skype?

"both platforms support Skype, which is a major advantage over Blackberry and Windows "

According to Skypes website skype is available on windows mobile. Of course the fact most mobile operators prevent you from using it even if you do download it makes it much less of an advantage.

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Bronze badge

Not always the case

3 uk do a skype client for Blackberries (and many other phones too) which works over the 3g network, and is *free* to use within the uk. They've done a good job of integrating it with BB notification system too, and it also goes to voicemail.

If you really want skype it's a very, very good combination. It decided things for me - always on free skype anywhere everywhere.

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Silver badge
Unhappy

There is proof of how MS have already failed.

Windows Mobile is a shoddy turd, only made barely usable by HTC Sense and Opera Mini.

It fails miserably at being a phone, and isn't very good as a doorstop either.

Anyone who has used Windows Mobile hates it.

The 'stock' Windows Mobile is completely unusable - a Start menu has no place on a phone.

This is why Microsoft have tried really hard to separate their newest phoneOOS from the old brand.

If they don't manage that, then the Windows Phone will die.

Sent from ny Windows Mobile POS.

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Anonymous Coward

iOS and GMail Contacts

Not sure where this came from "iOS, while letting you import your Hotmail contacts, won’t let you do so from Gmail"

I've been happily syncing GMail contacts with my iPhone for years.

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Android Handsets

Isn't it about time you had a(nother) Android handset round-up?

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Anonymous Coward

comparison of the software helping hand?

using wp7

zune software has huge usability problems: not showing texts, no tooltips if text doesn't fit, scrolling by wheel not fully supported, problems updating the library if messing around with the phone (without jailbreaking it). as a music lover, this is a big minus to me.

and the "feature" that annoys me most at wp7 when calling: no possibility to paste in the phone number, if you copied if from a web page.

also no possibility to edit called number so you have to input the correct number with all its digits.

what I like most: the interface in general and how well most applications run (applications using complex html pages suck a little though performance-wise)

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Coat

What about battery life whilst doing all these things?

Battery life/functionality is a factor, you can have a all singin/dancing phone but if it only sings for an hour compared to one that can make calls for a week solid and only that is somewhat a factor for many.

Also call quality, ability to make calls in weak signal area's like outside the m25 etc. Big factor.

Also how robust the phone is, does it feel like it will last a weekends ramberling or does it feel like you need to were white gloves handerling it?

Excellent feature overview read but lacks a little on the functionality aspect of a review, but there again don't worry as others don't detail those things either apart from users who use the phones :\.

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Facepalm

E7, N8, N9?

Where are these? What kind of review is this supposed to be? Symbian is still good for years – and the devices are top notch. The N9 with Harmattan is the only innovative phone I've seen all year long.

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WTF?

Symbian

Just adding my voice, you may have been surprised.

No hardship to just throw one in to the pot for shits & giggles cos its dead anyway right? tsk

All the tested are 'me too' devices in my eyes. S^3 walks its on path & I welcome its foibles with open arms. Its good to be different. Supported for another 5 years, that'll do for me.

How far we have come in the previous five years is more important. Whole ecosystem will be different in 2016 as I see it & until then, N8+Opera=Win

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FAIL

Epic fail on many fronts

I'm really surprised about this "shoot-out", especially when it's conveniently taken place just after iOS5 comes out, but before Android 4 (ICS) does! Also, as people have pointed out, this was a test of HTC's Sense UI (and possibly some of the apps they add/modify), which is different to Samsung's Android UI for example.

I know the shoot-out was supposed to be about the out-of-the-box experience, but apparently this doesn't include the various app stores/Markets (even if the review would be limited to ease of use of said stores/Markets, rather than mentioning the quality or quantity of downloadable apps), which almost *all* smartphone users would use whereas there's stuff in the review that I've never used on my HTC Desire (e.g. the e-mail app, Facebook or Twitter are three to mention).

BTW, the ratings sections claim there are two sets of "Instant Messaging" ratings (the second one is for the e-mail review - dugh!). Talking of ratings, I'm totally incredulous that the ratings totals weren't provided at the end, so for those who want to know (marks out of 35):

Iphone 28.5

Android 27.5

Windows Phone 25.0

BlackBerry 23.0

So is the reviewer going to have anohter shootout in a month with Symbian and Android 4 included then? Maybe not, because iOS 6 won't be out until next year and we've got to make sure Apple wins...

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Anonymous Coward

Wow. You need to chill out or learn to not post to a forum when you've been out drinking. Accusing the Reg of bias towards Apple is quite frankly laughable!

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Odd features to focus on

I have to admit I've never seen the appeal of text reflow, all it seems to do is make text wobble and jitter about the screen while I'm trying to zoom in on it.

Also, I'm not sure I see the point of Smart Dial. Surely it's quicker to jump to a name in your contacts than trying to remember their number and typing several digits? Or am I missing something about it?

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Making a call.......

.........On Blackberry 7 is a complete piece of piss. If you want to call your mate Dave, you just sart typing the word Dave straight onto the main menu. No finding a contacts menu first, nothing, just tpe. You'll get as far as typing DA and your phone will have offered you his contact. That universal search is mentally good. Hard to explain unless you've used it. I can only conclude that the reviewer hadn't sussed it out.

Not only will it offer you contacts with the word Dave on it, it will offer you e-mails that the word Dave appears in, call history, google, youtube, and anything on your phone. It is the coolest unadvertised feature on BB7.

If you don't have a Blackberry don't worry everyone will have copied it in a few months time.

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Anonymous Coward

Nokia

My Nokia and previous, fairly basic Nokias do this for the contacts list, have done for some time I believe.

But then, I think Nokia's basic telephone functionality knocks most others, especially smart "phones" into a cocked had. Why on earth are they not smart enough to have the ability to put contacts into groups and then enable or disable receiving calls from specific groups, e.g. to disable work calls at weekends, private calls during meetings? Different ring tones per group?

Should a smart phone even call itself a phone if it can not match the functionality in mobile phones for years? I do know people who carry a simple one for telephone calls and a smart phone for the internet etc. stuff. Sad.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Neily-boy

<quote>If you don't have a Blackberry don't worry everyone will have copied it in a few months time.</quote>

Sorry to burst your bubble mate, but my HTC Hero has had the exact functionality you describe for over 2 years now. Furthermore I'd guess that Android has had it for even longer than that (after all, what else would you expect from an OS created by the company behind worlds largest search engine?)

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Bubble still intact.

Not that I posess an HTC Hero, but it is my understanding that you have to press a specific button to access the universal search menu? This is not the same as just typing a name or word straight on your homescreen. Like I say, no other buttons, no other menus, no scrolling, no nothing. Just type.

Have a shufty on Youtube if you don't understand.

I'm not claiming that RIM invented universal search, what I'm saying is that their BB7 version of it will appear on every other phone's UI very soon. It's certainly not something that you could patent. Well, I say that, but you probably could in the US if your company name rhymed with dapple.

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Anonymous Coward

Fair enough

True, you need to press the search button to bring up the search field and the on-screen keyboard. It's pretty difficult to do it any other way, without a physical keyboard like the BB.

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Bronze badge
Pint

good review

reminded me why I chose "long in the tooth" blackberry, although one with physical keyboard. I'm email addict. BB integration with email is indeed very good - I'm using both gmail and generic IMAP and they work flawlessly, although initial setup to filter only stuff I'm interested in can be tricky. There is also additional "push" (delivery time measured in seconds) account with phone contract.

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Anonymous Coward

To be read in a Norwegian Accent

Samsung, HTC, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, LG we have beaten them all, we have beaten them all, Can you hear me, Larry Page, your boys took a hell of beating! your boys took a hell of a beating!

Flame on :-)

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FAIL

beaten to it I see

I have my Google contacts synched on my iphone;the trick is to set it up as a microsoft exchange server with the server as m.google.com

You can also do this with Virgin and Sky email as they are run by google also

http://www.google.com/support/mobile/bin/answer.py?answer=138740

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Facepalm

Outlook Integration?

You glossed over Outlook Integration. At my company we need Exchange Server integration for email and our global address book. You mention Google contacts integration but a lot of corporate users need to know about Outlook/Exchange.

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K-9 Mail

So true about the horrid Android email client. But for those who are stuck with Android and want something better --- or who might consider buying Android but are put off by the email client --- I installed K-9 mail from the Android Marketplace. It is free, and made me very very happy. No more misgivings about email after that.

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Go

Or just ...

.... Gmail?

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Meh

Difficult to compare Android but....

Android is a difficult platform to judge due to the many different manufacturers and their versions of the Android experience. I can understand why one example phone was used, however it seems strange to me that the reviewer did not choose a phone with Android 2.3 especially as the latest iPhone 4S was chosen.

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Anonymous Coward

Blackberry re-flows text on zoom

With my Blackberry I can point at some text in the browser, click and hold and it zooms in then re-flows the text to match the screen width at the new font size.

Having said that, the browser generally is still pretty terrible.

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Linux

Email

The I notice that you used Hotmail on the WP7 phone. Why did you feel you could not use Gmail on the Android? Gmail on my Android is about as easy and integrated as it gets. It would have been a fairer comaprison.

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Anonymous Coward

What have we learned from this message board?

That fandroids are actually far more touchy, whiny and humourless than the fruit fanbois are. Who'd've thunk?

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Anonymous Coward

And with a downvote, my point is proven. Grow up.

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iOS sucks in file management bigtime..

even with itunes, plugging in your iphone to a laptop to manage your songs, images, videos etc is a real pain.

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Anonymous Coward

Fed with iPhone hoop jumping I've had enough

I have been an iPhone user for about 12 months, non contract monthly PAYG type agreement with O2, it's a jailbroken mobe but I am fed up with jumping through hoops to be able to make my phone do what I want. Sorry Apple but I need a little more flexibility, especially for tethering and as soon as I can manage to get my arse in gear I'm off to Android and get myself a Galaxy S2.

Every time a new O/S comes out I have to faff about with new JB code for the iPhone. I want to access apps on the phone I have use the monstrosity that is iTunes, I just want to get to the phone's guts by way of simple FTP or ssh and add files the apps need, directly.

Sorry Apple it was fun while it lasted but I need to spread my wings and your attempts to clip them and me having to escape are just too much grief for something that should be easy. I need a "real" tech phone, not a toy.

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Thumb Down

Not a like for like comparison.

Desire HD was officially released 14 May 2010, and you have that up against the very latest from Apple, Microsoft and Palm?

This review should have waited till the Galaxy Nexus was out.. or better yet, when the Galaxy Note, the current highest specced Android phone, gets its ICS update.

1. IOS has just recieved update.

2. WP7 just got mango.

3. ICS was not actually tested except on paper.

re-run the test on a Galaxy Note in a month or so and we'll see if ICS on high end hardware is up for the match up with the others. Lets compare like for like and get an actual relevant result.

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Go

Is it just me ...

... surely not ... that sees the many advantages of the flexibility that Android offers for both business AND personal use?

I use all seven Android 'home' screens - divided between work, play and settings - often using folders to group games, social media and work stuff, with priority items (Gmail, calender, maos, call history, calculator, SMS, world clocks, weather in 7 cities and camera) all on the first home screen.

Add the fact that HTC gives you Sense - and that Android offers the ability to add whatever widgets and apps you need to run your life (including Exchange) - I don't know why anyone would want an alternative, except for that aesthetic choice-thing or maybe the security and cost-effectiveness of BBM. Certainly not iOS (and I speak as a user of an iPod Touch).

Personally, I like the ability to switch wifi and bluetooth on/off instantly to prolong battery life when out on the road. I don't use FriendSteam, but it's there if I want it - with a host of HTC and other widgets on demand.

I'm illustrating that users can customise their Android phone to exactly suit their own requirements. Most people buying a smartphone - you would think - would want to be able to do that.

So, I'll be sticking to a Desire S until HTC introduce something better (which in my case does not equal bigger). It syncs neatly with my Asus Transformer tablet and all the Google stuff on my trusty old Toshiba laptop. I'm sure syncing will evolve to many more devices over time. I already read (the same) ebooks on my Kindle, tablet or phone as circumstances take me.

(And because my phone came from Orange *shudder* it also backs up my contacts data automatically to the cloud, i.e. I don't have to remember to do it or wait until it's connected to a PC).

Can't wait for ICS!

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On your Android screenshots they are very different to mine, my inbox is clear and concise, shows me my work and home email accounts either unified or separate, and refresh easily, I don't know why it is so different.

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Happy

WP7

Personally i think WP7 wins everything hands down! I have used (and owned most) of all others and am more than happy with WP7 for the foreseeable future - it's completely re-thought and totally modern compared to some of the more aging O/S's out there...

The main thing is with WP7 - actually go and try it. If you use it (for more than a day, not just 2 mins) you'll likely be hooked...

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Repeat with latest phones

The shoot-out format is good, but this review needs to be done again ASAP, with Android 4.0 and WP7.5, instead of Gingerbread on HTC and WP7, so that all phones are using the latest OS.

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FAIL

iTunes Match

...doesn't look like it'll be available in the UK:

http://www.crass-stupidity.com/2011/11/08/apple-itunes-match-and-icloud/

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FAIL

iOS and GMail contacts

I don't have any contacts on my phone. They're all on GMail and have been for 2 years. iOS syncs my notes, e-mails, contacts and calendar from GMail and it works a treat. There's a few other incorrect statements in this article as well but I can't be bothered to pick them out now.

A bit disappointing for El Reg.

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