32 posts • joined 26 Jan 2011
Nerdy tweaks etc...
Looking at the comments above, it's clear that the curated App Store has it's detractors, but all the crapware we used to get on Windows has moved wholesale to Android, whereas iOS has barely any.
Whenever I've had Android phones it's always amazed me at all the garbage in the Play Store - anti-virus, task killers, speed-up utilities etc. Sure, it's freedom. But that only suits savvy users who know enough about their platform to know whether a given type of app makes sense.
To be fair...
Is it not time to cut them some slack?
Yes Windows 8 is a mess for desktop users, and crucially they ignored all the beta feedback that told them it was going to be a disaster.
But this now looks great. Start menu back, but with the option to add a few nice tiles. And Metro apps launching in a window on the desktop. That paves the way for most of our Windows apps to gradually transition over to Metro in the coming years. The end result will be a desktop OS but with the best bits of Metro (simplified apps, and flat design)
The only problem is they need to get this released now, not in Windows 9 in 2015.
My iPad and Logitech keyboard make a surprisingly great device, so much so that I rarely use it as a tablet now. It's completely replaced a MacBook Pro, and can still get most stuff done.
My hunch was that they would build a 12.9" iOS laptop device. But I agree a retina MBA is more likely.
Picking your battles...
While I think they did the right thing canning this, I'm not sure they are picking their battles properly.
I still use Firefox but only for the top-class dev tools, as a browser it's now dated and a little bit ugly. Because of Chrome I really dislike going back to a separate URL and search box.
Meanwhile the news reports show that Mozilla is busy getting the Source engine running at high performance for games. Cool, but niche and should come second to the pure browsing experience.
Those were the days
The memory is an interesting thing. In my head, the graphics for Outrun are as stunning as something like DriveClub on the PS4, because back then it was just amazing to look at. It takes a screenshot to remind me how crude they are by today's standards.
But even today it's great fun to play due to the fun gameplay, and the smoothness and frame rate of the visuals are still very good.
Back in the day it used to gobble my money and I could barely get to the end of the second stage. So around 2002, I played it to death on MAME so I could finish it reliably, and then took a load of 20p's to Southport and found the real machine. A few attempts later and I finished it. Lifetime achievement = complete :)
**In addition, its lack of customization contributed to WinPho's poor showing in user-experience friction, as well. "The user interface in general is not conceived to deal efficiently with the dozens and dozens of apps smartphone users want," Pfeiffer writes**
This is true, and in my mind the fix is simple - multiple start screens, ideally with the ability to colour code each one individually. I think that would be a huge improvement to Windows Phone yet Microsoft refuse to look at it.
I have owned all three mobile platforms (but WP7.5, not 8) and am not surprised by the winner, but I am surprised by WP coming in last place, I thought it was mostly a great phone OS. The problems are in app support and Microsoft's stupidly slow rate of improvement to it.
Isn't this similar to the Microsoft Surface "sell out" where selling out of fuck-all stock doesn't really count as a sell out?
Being overly picky there really, the point would have been valid if the OP had just said "lack of ANY applications".
I was tempted for a second to get a Surface RT, thinking it would be a smart move to buy it cheap and then wait for the rumoured Windows Phone 8 version of the tablet OS to ship, which would vastly improve the device.
Then I remembered that it's Microsoft we're talking about here and there's bugger-all chance of them supporting their loyal early-adopter Surface RT customers with a new OS.
Re: Surprised at Which ?
But Apple don't really market their phones based on specs or performance, whereas the Android crowd do. All the marketing for the HTC tells me it's a quad core 1.7Ghz processor.
So which is the digested truth?
Surprised at Which
I am surprised at Which doing something as irrelevant as benchmarking when their target audience is non-technical consumers.
I have a HTC One and an iPhone 5 at the side of me. In theory the HTC should wipe the floor with the iPhone on performance, and I'm sure it will on benchmarks, but in real world use i.e. opening apps, searching Google Maps, using Facebook, running games, it is almost always slower.
A shame because the HTC screen is a noticeable step up from "Retina" and the speakers are amazing, but it's going on eBay soon because in almost any real-world test it isn't as good as the iPhone.
As a piece of hardware...
It looks spot on. I'd be thinking buy that, run the stock ROM till Cyanogen support comes out and then switch over.
Not sure about that big light though, WTF is that about? I really like phones with a small notification LED (HTC-style), never understood why it didn't become a universal feature.
Why is the pace of change on WP so slow?
The biggest problem for Nokia must be the slow pace of Windows Phone development.. Considering Microsoft is the new player, I expected them to be investing heavily and release continuous updates to enable new features. Instead they had to re-engineer the OS from CE to NT kernel, because they ended up in a technological dead end. While this was happening they should have had another team overhauling the front end. It needs things like multiple tile pages, a completely written music player with all the crappy panorama views stripped out, and numerous other small enhancements.
I bought an early WP7 device, full of expectation that the OS would continually evolve with updates, but in reality very little has happened. WP7.5 fixed a lot of pain points in the OS, but WP8 is really just WP7.5 with a new kernel.
Nokia must be doing their nut waiting for the OS to improve, especially as there is a lot of very clever thinking in Windows Phone, it just needs finishing off. It's clean and simple, but a little too clean and simple sometimes.
Re: Too many abandoned non intel platforms from Microsoft.
I think this is a good point, not just about processor architecture. Their lack of focus and long-term product strategy is starting to hurt them badly. So many failures like the Zune devices and the infamous Kin, plus early WP7 adopters getting left in a near dead-end.
Who is brave enough to be an early adopter on a Microsoft product any more? And that's a bit of a cyclic problem because with no early adopters a product can never go mainstream.
It's not just a case of bringing back the start button
They also removed all the nice chrome from the desktop, that needs to be reinstated in "desktop mode" or whatever they want to call it. Some of that stuff is actually useful, like drop shadows to frame a window on top of another.
What I am really asking for is separate desktop and touch version of the OS, with the desktop version being a really polished and nice looking desktop experience, and then the touch version looking just like Windows 8 does today.
That way there's a version that suits the various classes of device.
Microsoft know this though, they forced Metro on all of us as a way of making sure it got out into the wider market and had a chance of succeeding. Not that the strategy worked...
"Infinite entertainment. Infinite possibilities". Ha, reminds me soo much of "Infinite space. Infinite terror".
(Event Horizon tagline for anyone who doesn't recognise it)
Windows Phone - wasted opportunity
The bottom line with WP8 is that as with WP7 they are just not developing it quickly enough.
I bought into WP7 in Jan 2011 shortly after release, the UI was like a breath of fresh air but it was horribly limited in many ways. Part of the reason I took the gamble was Microsoft's promises of regular updates and I wanted to see the platform grow and improve. But they took so long to deliver 7.5, especially with their ridiculous rollout process that I got fed up and bought Android.
Then the early adopters get shafted with no path to WP8. And WP8 itself is so similar to WP7.5 that it's not worth getting excited about. They might have rewritten it on a new core OS, but the experience of using it has hardly changed.
They urgently need things like a proper notification system, multiple pages of tiles (that can be coloured differently), and a less simplistic app list screen.
Work gave me a Lumia 800 and it's a really nice phone, but I got so sick of waiting for the 7.8 upgrade to roll out I had to install it manually via Nokia Care Suite which wiped the phone.
And then there's the shortage of apps...
Re: Most "desktops" are mobile
I think you've hit the nail on the head. It's not about the hardware.
What is actually dead is outdated desktop user interfaces because people have now had a taste of the vastly streamlined and simplistic interfaces of mobile apps.For consumers there's only one way forward now.
To be fair, Microsoft seem to understand this and have brought a new mobile-style UI with touch support to the desktop, the trouble is nobody likes it because there's no apps for it and it's a nasty hybrid of old and new Windows. They tried to go too far too fast. Meanwhile OS X is slowly incorporating iOS features with each new release, which is a bit less of a shock to their users.
Outside of a shop I never saw one of these, no-one I knew had one. My mate over the road had the Atmos and it was decent enough but like today's mobile platforms it's the software availability that play a huge part - and the Atmos had very little.
The red/black case was really stylish though, much cooler than my brown/beige C64 :)
How can MS say it's the fault of the OEM's for not producing hardware at launch when they're only shipping their own Surface Pro in February?
They desperately need to release a desktop-specific version of Windows 8 with a stunning UI, a sort-of evolution of Windows 7, instead of ripping out all the eye candy so it blends with boring Metro as they've done with Windows 8. This would cheer up desktop die-hards and businesses, who must be feeling left out in the cold as Microsoft goes off chasing the tablet market. And failing.
Open source to the rescue
I dare them to open source it, I bet that collision detector would be fixed in no time at all by a coder with some talent.
Reminds me of when MG-Rover sold their site and leased it back, and we all know how that one turned out.
I think "post .NET world" is a very misleading headline.
What do you think all these Windows 8 apps will be talking to? It'll be cloud services, and if you're a Microsoft shop they will be written in .NET as WebAPI, web services and perhaps standard ASP.NET applications.
Battle of the voice commands
My mum was round my house the other week and I was telling her that you could now voice control the iPhone. To demo this, my wife got her iPhone 4S out and tried to use Siri three times, each time it failed after a long pause, saying something like "can't answer that question right now".
I got my Nokia Lumia (WP7) out my pocket, and fired off a text message using voice control - it worked perfectly.
WP7 Voice control is a lot more limited than Siri of course, but I still had a good laugh at my wife's expense.
That is one hideous piece of design. High tech and wood do not mix!
Reminds me a bit of how how Apple (usually masters of design of course) screw up with their software by putting wood/leather textures into their apps.
If it didn't look so bad I might be interested.
I'm gonna call it real.
It's a small update to the S2 to make it a better ICS device. They've not gone with the onscreen buttons because it would mean a new screen would be required with a different form factor.
1. "Scroll down" - are you serious? It falls apart when you get enough icons. It doesn't let you group related stuff without hacks like this (http://www.coolsmartphone.com/2011/11/16/coolsmartphone-recommended-windows-phone-app-new-group)
2. "Press the search button" - this might be my memory. Does it search the phone too?
3. Closing apps - yeah but if I can close what I want, things I want to keep open will then stay open without being automatically binned off.
4. The back button is not fixed in Mango, it's still a load of bollocks.
5. If you think the HD7 is fine quality-wise you're not looking closely enough. Lots of info in my review if you want a look (http://www.blitterandtwisted.com/2011/04/htc-hd7-windows-phone-7-handset-review.html)
6. Lack of games - yes really.
7. 30fps limit might have been removed in Mango but have all the games been updated? I've seen Angry Birds running on a Lumia 800 and it's still choppy compared to an iPhone or Android
8. Games cost 3-4 times as much - yes they do. have a look at the table in my other article! (http://www.blitterandtwisted.com/2011/04/windows-phone-7-game-prices.html)
Such a wasted opportunity
I owned a WP7 phone briefly, bought because I was amazed by the UI, and hoped to see the platform grow. But it didn't take long for the cracks to show in everyday use and the Mango update just didn't go anywhere near far enough. Where's the multiple tile screens? Where's the global search box - as Android and iOS have had for years. The ability to close apps from the task switching screen?
My biggest single annoyance was the stupid logic behind the back button and how they tried to make it work as the browser back button as well as the OS navigation. Android has a back button and gets it right but Microsoft couldn't do it because as usual they tried to be too clever. Then in Mango they removed more buttons from the browser UI.
Other annoyances include the poor hardware quality (HD7) which looked a mess in no time and had a terrible touchscreen. Plus the lack of decent games, 30fps limit on games, and the fact that the few games released cost 3-4 times as much.
I think the tile UI is genius, and I love the text falling off the screen, but lots of people just don't get it, and that's fair enough.
I'd love to go back to WP7 but so much needs improving and they're not doing it.
I think the phone looks great even though I've tried WP7 once and bailed out due to lots of usability issues.
But June is too late. We're supposed to get mobile stuff first here in Europe.
Launch it now and they might get some interested folk.
So Canonical got nowhere near perfecting the desktop experience, but they think the right thing to do is switch priorities to mobile. Talk about trying to run before you can walk.
They probably are quite decent...
I'd imagine it's probably got better sound quality than some of the iPod range - my Classic 120gb in particular.
However I've found a few UI issues with the Zune playback software on my WP7 device. Sound quality is great but the interface is a bit too pared back in some ways. It doesn't even bother to display track lengths which can be annoying.
Much of the Metro UI used on the Zune players and WP7 devices is great though.
Get a tin foil hat
There is no reg/Microsoft conspiracy. It's well known that Black Ops is a lazy port on the PS3 and the graphics are noticeably worse than the 360. I feel sorry for PS3 owners because the game looked shit on my 360, so it must be poor on the PS3.
I treated Black Ops with the contempt it deserves, bought it for £37 from Asda, finished it in a week and sold it to CeX for £34 cash. I don't play multi player so just wanted to play through the story.
The game is technically awful. Graphics are worse than Modern Warfare 2 by quite a bit. Only the flight missions looks nice graphically.