back to article Microsoft made a phone, and I hate it already

Microsoft's next mobile platform will probably make for nice mobile phones, but for those of us hankering after a mobile computer it's just going to be annoying. Windows Phone 7 Series has the right kinds of sliding bits and wobbly buttons that everyone seems to admire so much these days, and that means it will probably sell …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can I recommend ...

    ... the Nokia N900.

    A pocket computer with a very effective phone mode.

  2. Haydies

    Pocket PC....

    Now I've heard that some where before...

    I think this is where the distinction between phone and slate comes in. Some thing like the Dell one, if its really any good might be ideal. Or if you want a bit bigger screen there will be some one of the size that meets your needs.

    Then just use a headset if its a little to big to be a phone.

    I guess MS have the problem that they can't make one OS work every where, its a shame... unified windows accross phones and PCs would rock, no need for mobile office, lets have real office. Maybe one day....

  3. NB

    Maemo

    N900.

    Nuff said.

    1. vegister

      maemo is now pronounced meego

      i think you meant to say meego.

      i hope they reassure prospective and existing n900 owners soon about its future, and also release meego ASAP running on a few more phones

    2. Mike Gravgaard

      A title?

      "Can I recommend the Nokia N900?"

      Agreed...

    3. Unus Radix

      How about battery life ?

      This would seem to be to be one of those things that should be thoroughly considered in the early stages of (HW&SW) design, and even so a right bitch to get - more or less - sorted. Nokia should have had a fair change with this given their past experience. I understand that this has been less than stellar with Windows Mobile in the past - another case of medicore results at an enormous expense ? [Or maybe we just need new kind of batteries, where the the most important parameter is not mAh but perhaps Bq ?]

    4. pixel
      Thumb Down

      No

      It's too small. They took the best bits of the N800 and N810, the gorgeous screen and lack of phone, and threw them away. I loved my N800 to bits, still do, all I wanted in it was a 3G modem.

      So now I rock the HTC HD2. I will glady go back to Maemo when they boost the screen size back to 4"+. 5" would be even better.

      1. gerryg

        I think you are right

        I've wanted to lust after an N900.

        I currently own an N800 and a 5800, so i've got my 3G modem in case of emergencies. But I haven't had any yet.

        The N800 has a nice screen size and can do lightweight office stuff while sitting, e.g., in the Southbank complex using their free wifi (well, £40/year but I also get a great view over the Thames)

        I prefer the maps on the N800 and the GPS on the 5800 is a bit slow but it all "just works" and of course I can doodle on the web while getting a boring phone call, the upside of two devices.

        Maybe the N910 will drive me into its arms.

        1. pixel

          @gerryg

          "I've wanted to lust after an N900." I lusted over the idea of it, right up till they released the real specs. Then I went shopping elsewhere :(

    5. KenBW2

      "use a headset if its a little to big to be a phone"

      *gets image of someone holding a slate to their ear attempting to make a phonecall*

  4. imcdnzl

    Symbian as mobile computing

    Given your thoughts on this, perhaps Symbian has a bit more going for it still...

  5. jake Silver badge

    "Why can't Redmond stick to computers?"

    Uh ... probably because the only truly useful thing that ever came out of Microsoft was the original "Dove Soap" mouse?

    If anyone, anywhere, after all these years, still thinks that even Microsoft thinks that their products are the best way of shuffling around ones and zeros ... Well, all I can say is enjoy your coolaid.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Damn.

      With all the Microsoft shills/yesmen posting to ElReg in the last week or so, I was seriously hoping for at least 25 "thumbs down".

      Mental note: When trolling, must try harder ;-)

      1. Paul 129
        Flame

        Re: Jake

        LOL. MS shills/yesmen I like that, I think they're just pissed as they know in the next 10 years they'll be sealing with the same crud, just different acronyms.

        Oh that's right, it'll be new and close to solving some of their hassles :-)

    2. Unus Radix

      One would hope ...

      ... as it has been made (or is in the process of being made) into open source and all that, but then, ultimately, it is thoroughly screwed as a development platform, especially so with Nokia's deeply mystifying additions. Slim hope with Qt+Symbian, though, if they ever get it to work as to completely hide the underlying platform and/or modify it so that e.g. multithreading and normal use of standard C++ is not sabotaged by platform design. It will probably take too much time before this is 1) realized, and assuming that 1 eventually happens 2) implemented; meanwhile, the crucial independent developers have gone elsewhere.

      It might make sense to simply discard the upper layers of Symbian as it is now (assuming that the lower levels are in fact decent or can be made so) and replace the upper ones with, say, Java (as, I seem to recall was done, with Android). Then again this is probably an IP (sw patent) minefield.

  6. Jimmy Floyd
    Gates Halo

    Bill Ray wrote an article, and I hate it already

    Speaking as someone who, before my current Android, owned a Windows Smartphone and then Windows Mobile 5, 6 & 6.1, I can't help but feel Bill missed the point with his very first paragraph.

    Part of the reason that Windows Mobile's UI sucked quite so badly was that it *had* morphed from a computer into a phone. You can still see the historical links to PocketPCs and iPaqs from the 1990s as recently as WM6.5. But so what? Notwithstanding the state of the UI, most people don't want or expect the same level of technology in their portable devices as they do on the desktop. Bill seems like he does - and once-upon-a-time I did too - but it's a minority view.

    Arguably it took the iPhone to shake the world into recognising this fact, and Android to take it to the next level. Perhaps Bill is simply arguing that Microsoft, having seen two popular, solid platforms go before it (sorry Symbian!), doesn't seem to have moved it on to the third phase and made something which truly combines a decent UI with genuinely portable computing?

    That would be fair enough, but given how long MS have struggled with a technically decent but clunky platform you might forgive them for concentrating on producing something people might actually want to buy - and just as importantly use - before dealing with the funky stuff later. Let's hope they do.

  7. jason 7
    WTF?

    Ermmm but....

    ....these are phones first...not small computers.

    Maybe you need a different product entirely?

  8. Jerome 0

    Omnia

    It seems a little unfair to criticise the Omnia for having nice finger-friendly menus, when a finger is precisely what most people will use to interact with it. The RedFly is a great idea, but it's very much a niche product, and you can hardly expect phone manufacturers to design with it in mind.

    Similarly, to say the iPhone cannot multitask whereas the Omnia "chooses not to" seems like an odd distinction. Both devices are perfectly capable of multitasking at the hardware level, but both of them feature an OS which does not permit it (assuming you count the combination of Windows Mobile and Samsung's front-end to it as "the OS").

    As for Android, I've yet to use it a great deal, but I was under the impression that the native browser is very good, obviating the need for third party browsers such as Opera. And regarding the RedFly - surely it's up to Celio to support Android rather than vice-versa?

  9. VespertineStar

    What did you expect?

    Windows mobile only ever needed to do any of that because running a full version of Windows on a portable device was not feasible. If you are trying to get work done then a phone is not for you; what you need is a netbook. Still able to fit into a small space it is capable of multi-tasking and running full versions of software.

    Trust me I tried the whole PDA office thing even going so far as to buy a fold out keyboard, the concept just doesn't work when you are trying to get anything serious done. Cut your losses and see Windows mobile for what it really is which is a mobile entertainment operating system which you can use for light work such as checking emails and documents on the go; leave the real work to be done by a device built to handle it.

  10. The Other Steve
    FAIL

    Red Fly At Night, Big Pile Of Shite.

    But then on he other hand Bill, if i was in a position to carry a RedFly, I could just as well carry a netbook which I coud reasonably expect to have enough grunt to do all of those things at once.

    The one I'm scrawling this on is running Visul Studio, IDA, pulling mail and recognising my handwriting while I bitch at you.

    That would be a bit much to ask of a phone, which has completely different design goals. Like, y'know, Duh!

    1. Frank Bough
      FAIL

      What does "multitask" mean?

      The iPhone certainly can multitask, unless by "multitask" you mean something other than "run more than one app simultaneously".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        RE: What does "multitask" mean?

        "Unlike an iPhone, the Omnia II has the ability to multitask, but it chooses not to."

        ...but the iPhone CAN multitask - Apple just don't let anyone who writes an app let it do it. Their own apps work fine.

        I've not tried it yet because I have no songs on my iPhone but I believe you can continue listening to one while using Safari...

        1. DrunkenMessiah

          Multitasking

          Absolutely, the iPhone CAN and does multitask... with Apple apps. With anything else you've no chance. I really don't know why...

    2. Octopoid
      Boffin

      Actually, no.

      Most of these devices are actually classed as Pocket PCs. The problem is that none of these companies want to make 2 OSes, so Pocket PCs are rapidly turning back into smart phones, thanks largely to the success of the iPhone.

      If I wanted a smart phone, I'd buy one, but I don't - I want a Pocket PC.

      Still, I understand why. A lot more people want a smart phone than a true Pocket PC.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    If it vibrates.....

    You could always use it as a butt plug.

  12. Paul Shirley

    The problem is that I don't want a mobile phone

    No, the problem is most people that 'just want a phone' aren't going to spend £300+, however pretty it is. Especially not when a £4.99 candy bar does the job well enough.

  13. The Original Steve

    Can't win really

    At the moment there really isn't a platform with the excellent end-user inferface of the iPhone, and the power and usability of Windows.

    As a business platform, Windows Mobile is actually very good. I'm talking for mobile computers - DHL, CitiLink and various other delivery companies use it, we use it here for warehousing (Motorola Symbol device with barcode scanner, RFID, Bluetooh and wifi). Superb device and an excellent platform for developing against. (networking stack in 6.5 just works - regardless of method, .Net, SQL CE, Java etc. - all run very well on WM) Even management is superb with MS's tools. Any apps can be installed without an "app store", it can be hacked to pieces, works with countless 3rd party tools and hardware add-ons etc.

    However for a phone it sucks. The interface is crap - and that's being generous (although slighly better in 6.5 it's still awful), reliability of the phone subsystem is bizzarly poor compared to the reliability of the rest of the stacks.

    Just getting the phone stack to work wouldn't be enough - as it wouldn't appease the business users who want a Pre or iPhone but will just about live with a Nokia or Blackberry (though a concession with IT) because of the GUI.

    So if they tart the GUI up enough and fix the phone side then the best WM will do is make a small inroad to the business market.

    However for mobiles businesses aren't big money compared to the consumer market - so MS keep the core of WM (Kernel and under-the-hood stuff - which isn't bad), slap on a nice GUI and up the HW specs.

    Appeals to consumers, but a more restrictive GUI will limit business use.

    I'm interested as to what they'll do for the enterprise customers. We don't want to move from WM for our warehousing operation, but I can't see how it would work on the WM7 platform. Hopefully they'll have a business edition without the GUI.

  14. tomjol
    FAIL

    I'm perplexed...

    ...all this talk of 'mobile computing' and 'bluetooth keyboards' and 'RedFly'...

    Why not just get a netbook?

    You'd get much better battery life, you'd get desktop applications and, most of all, you wouldn't be stuck with an OS designed for a phone-size screen rather than one designed for a computer.

    It seems that the author is merely being stubborn...sure, I can see your problem, but it's not REALLY a problem. It's more that you're just being awkward - are you really surprised that Microsoft have developed a finger-friendly UI rather than one friendly to some nerd who carries a netbook-size unit around to hook up to their smartphone?

    Oh, and FYI:

    "Unlike an iPhone, the Omnia II has the ability to multitask, but it chooses not to."

    Fail. That's exactly what the iPhone does.

    1. Shakje

      Shirley you're not serious

      iPhone users spend that amount on something that is barely a phone..

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Rob
          Stop

          That's great...

          ... but how much is your average phone bill a month?

          That's where the true cost of the iPhone is met

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            RE: That's great...

            I can only speak for myself - I am on a contract.

            Monthly cost £30.

            That includes UNLIMITED internet...

            1. Yaaaa

              only a tenner for me

              Came to the end of my tmobile contract - i don't need many mins as i work from home. Got £10 a month incl interweb!

        2. Annakan
          FAIL

          I know math are hard

          but you should add to your minus X the cost of 24 times your monthly plan, assuming you don't have hidden costs of course(not like your telecom provider would want you to pay extra mind you), I doubt your total cost on 24 months will be in the negative.

          In fact I am quite sure it won't.

          The good thing is that what you just argued is EXACTLY how they want you to think ...

          good boy.

    2. LinkOfHyrule
      Paris Hilton

      The last thing you would want

      The last thing you would want is your butt plugs blue-screening on you!

      1. chr0m4t1c
        Joke

        Hmmm

        If these things are going to start shining out of people's a*ses, maybe Sun should get into the market.

  15. StevePhillips

    I agree to a degree

    Not to stop Microsoft in their pursuits but I also love having a powerful device in a small package. I currently own an HTC Touch Pro2. It does a lot for a semi-little guy. I have been happy with it.

    I even use it as a wireless router (WMWiFiRouter) for my laptop giving me the ability to create my own WiFi zone anywhere I have access to the Telus data network.

    I love being able to quickly look something up on the Internet when a question arises in conversation. These things give us Web, email, Text, phone, IM, etc. Social networking if that's your thing. I have an unlimited data plan. I can download things onto the micro SD card then transfer it to a PC.

    I do not have iPhone envy. I love the removable storage that the iPhone doesn't have along with the ability to swap batteries, I carry a spare. What kind of company leaves off these important features? Am I supposed to be impressed by the gestures? The iPhone doesn't do or have some important things but you can play with your fingers on the screen. That is no replacement for functionality.

    If MS drops the ball let's hope someone else picks it up. I for one do not want to have to carry around a tablet.

    Steve

  16. Si 1
    Gates Horns

    The UI update is long overdue

    I haven't fully read up on Windows Phone 7, but does it not support all the old Windows Mobile apps? If not then Microsoft have probably been a bit stupid there.

    That said, the pokey old Windows Mobile interface was badly outdated and needed to be reworked. No-one wants styluses any more so it needed to be more finger friendly and while the multi-tasking is nice, it eats memory and slows performance to a crawl. Most handset manufacturers exacerbate the situation with weak CPUs incapable of offering decent performance, resulting in sluggish, unresponsive handsets.

    All the phone manufacturers have tried to fix this by hacking custom front ends onto the phones, but that's just messy and doesn't hide the underlying failings of Windows Mobile, nor does it remove the occasional need to pick your way through those old menu screens. The strict restrictions Microsoft are deploying for WinPho7 should do away with all these hacks and sluggish interfaces. Hopefully they'll mandate a minimum CPU to maintain performance too.

    Besides, who is to say WinPho7 can't be a decent pocket computer? I've got SSH, RDP and an office suite on my iPhone (there's an app for that...), I'm sure similar apps will be released for Windows Phone 7, it might not even be a big job for developers to port from Windows Mobile.

    When it comes to small portable devices I think restrictions like this are key in ensuring a workable UI and decent level of performance. Windows Mobile tried to do everything a desktop could and failed, the iPhone OS by comparison is cut down to basics and is better for it.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A phone 1st

    I have ditched two windows phones. Good PDA's but useless as phones. I do not want to have to press a load of keys to be able to talk or text. Yes I want the PDA functions too else I'd buy a mobile phone.

  18. TeeCee Gold badge
    Happy

    There's another way.

    Don't buy a pricey known-brand WinMo phone, where what you're paying for is the lovingly crafted, less-computer-more-phone interface anyway. Shop around and source a cheap as chips, unlocked, basic WinMo only unit bereft of bells, whistles and other OEM crap. Then add the third party UI of your choice (which you can then shut down if you happen to need all the hardware at your disposal and restart when you don't) and an application base to suit.

    This also has the advantage that when you're adding stuff on you don't run into incompatibilities with OEM O/S customisations or deliberate hamstringing by the network operator.

    Best of all you get (and only pay for) what you want rather than what some Twitbook-fixated marketing arsehat in Korea or Taiwan thinks you want.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Agree with Bill

    I like to use my Smartphone with a keyboard or Redfly and I like resistive screens as well as I like to do detail work on the screen in the cold! The only option we now have the SE X2 with WM6.5.

    1. CS3000

      Battery

      Just out of interest what sort of battery life are you getting on your HTC?

      1. Rob

        On my TP2

        I'm getting an average of a day and half, that's usually consists of data connection almost permentantely on, using email, taking notes, bit of satnav, surfing the web and using bluetooth headset.

    2. CS3000

      Overhaul or shift in focus

      Maybe I am missing something here - please correct me if I am wrong; but Win Mobile 7 seems to be a completely new OS that is aimed at the consumer phone market...

      Could it be that Redmond have realised that the business market has stagnated and that the next big market is the one that Apple kick started with the iPhone (thats the consumer smartphone if you haven't guessed and an n900 does not count)

  20. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Size matters

    A phone will never be a laptop replacement, the screen's simply too small.

    Let's face it, for any significant business use the MINIMUM size a screen can be is one that will display a whole A4 page at a readable resolution, in a portrait orientation It doesn't actually have to be 298x210mm, but it does have to have the size and resolution so you can see, read and edit a standard sized document. My Dell's 15inch screen is good enough, but phones just can't cut it.

    Recently I've been using an Acer Aspire 751 with it's "massive" (the advert's word) 11.6 inch screen. It's hateful. Fine for it's intended use of playing 16:9 movies, but useless for me to work on. Apart from not being big enough, the format of a wide, thin screen is no use for document work. You can only get less than half a page's height on the screen and scrolling hither and yon gets in the way of focussing on the content. Same with websites, which are almost all designed for tall pages, not wide ones.

    Anyway, back to phones. Since you'll never get a decent sized business friendly screen on a phone, you'll have to carry a lappy for work. You can't go pulling that out of your case everytime a call comes in, so it's necessary to have a phone too. The smalled the better: all it has to do is let you talk to people and occasionally fumble your way through sending an SMS. No more than that: no games, calendar (though date & time on the screen is nice), applications or browser - the experience is just too frustrating.

    So far as Windows 7 on a phone goes. I simply don't care. So long as I can press buttons and talk to people, what's inside it is simply irrelevant. It's only an appliance - the workings don't matter.

  21. Mage Silver badge

    Qtopia

    The earlier PDA edition was a miniature windows style GUI and needed a stylus. I ran email, VNC, VOIP, calculator, Opera, text editor on it.

    The later Phone edition had finger friendly buttons but almost no applications. Better design for a 320x240 screen and pointless design for a 4.3" 800x480 screen.

    My tests since 1987 show that the typical 1/4 VGA is a novelty for Apps (I have an E65 with such a screen and really email, web browsing, IRC, VNC, Putty are pointless, it's a phone and media player). The minimum IMO is about 4" 800x480, or maybe up to 5" wider screen (longer but still fit pocket) maybe upto 1200 x 600, or at least 960x 480 square pixels 2:1 screen.

    Series 7 Phone is Microsoft's last chance. They are now less than 9%. Honestly the GUI sounds better suited to a 1/4 VGA (320x240) candy bar, clamshell or slider than a Smart phone with suitably large display. The iPhone even is just too small a display, though much better than 1/4 VGA.

    So really Win Mobile 7 is several years behind Qtopia in thinking?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well, that makes 2 of us then

      I feel like I'm not alone anymore!

  22. roy 3
    Flame

    Get an Nokia N900

    Debian Linux. I have had Open Office run on it. It's true multitasking, has a decent keyboard, good mailclient and decent browsers. Try one and you know MS shafted you all those years with their 'Windows Mobile'.

  23. Leverage
    Gates Halo

    So what else is new?

    I am sorry but this is a bit of a silly article. It is the usual ignorant anti-Microsoft nonsense that completely misses the point.

    Windows Phone 7 Series is a phone platform:

    Exactly. Unlike you, the majority of people will use it as a phone that does other things on the side.

    But it will never be a portable computer:

    No. It is a phone platform.

    And after more than two decades of waiting, is that really too much to ask:

    Somewhat. You are barking up the wrong tree. If you want a portable computer that you can use as a phone then wait for an iPAD that you can fold and put in ya pocket.

    1. chr0m4t1c

      I think the problem is...

      That MS don't know that it's a phone platform.

      They've been touting WM as a portable application platform since it launched (remember all the fuss they made about Pocket Outlook, Pocket Word and the rest?).

      Now WM7 is being launched as a multimedia communications platform with little focus on the apps or the phone functionality.

      Perhaps if the various "Pocket X" applications on the earlier versions had sucked a bit less (e.g. you couldn't even view HTML emails until something like late v5 or early v6, I forget which), then the platform might have had a chance at taking some of the market that Blackberry have.

      I think WM7 is finally a step in the right direction for them, but we won't really know until there are a few devices on the market.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      @Leverage: not anti-microsoft really?

      If anything the author was probably more in favour of WinMo 6.5 and the platform that evolved from PocketPC, which was prior to anyone putting a phone in a PDA. Then again, I guess you're probably too young to remember that judging by the naivete of your comment? And if it's anti-Microsoft because they're focussing on an operating system that first and foremost works properly as a phone, then it's not like Microsoft are in any way leading the way with that. If anything they've come to realise that PocketPC derivatives fall way short of what people want for phones, but only because others have shown them that's the case.

      Yet bizarrely, the author of this article is one of the few who seems to think that phones were better off pursuing the more general purpose operating system that Windows Mobile/Pocket PC had delivered to varying degrees before. Evidently he's in the minority and if he thinks there's such a huge gap in the market, why tell everyone instead of creating his own company to fill that void? My guess is it's easier to write a 'Santa's wishlist' style article on a site like this.

  24. StooMonster

    Microsoft iPad a-like before long?

    One wonders how long it will be before we see Windows Phone 7 running on a giant Zune (AKA giant iPod = iPad) format.

    Also, anyone know when the SDK is due?

  25. ForthIsNotDead
    Thumb Down

    Why not...

    Have a phone for phone calls, and a pocket computer for pocket computing?

    My Psion Series 5MX still does what it says on the tin...

    1. Jerome 0

      Re: Why not...

      Because the two devices share about 90% of their components?

      1. The Other Steve
        FAIL

        Because

        "Because the two devices share about 90% of their components?"

        Apart from the fact that that's just plain wrong, the main component that they don't share is the battery and associated gubbins, due to vastly differing power requirements.

        Vastly differing power requirements arise because a phone is expected to be 'on' all the time.

        Once you start using your phone as a general purpose computational device, you battery life will suck, because it's not designed to fulfil that goal, the CPU is matched to the power source on the assumption that it will typically be idle for most of the time, as will the other major components that drain power such as the screen.

        Your netbook is designed to run it's screen and CPU all the time, and you'd be lucky to see upwards of 6 hours of battery life if you ran it with WiFi and bluetooth on all the time, although this vontinues to get better, the form factor is still nowhere near that of a phone, and will remain that way until we get better at making either batteries and/or fast processors that use much less power.

        Wait another decade and perhaps the power requirements for GP computing will fall to the point where a phone is a suitable form factor for doing all your processing. Until then, get used to carrying multiple devices if you need the extra computing power.

        1. Octopoid
          FAIL

          er.. what?

          "Once you start using your phone as a general purpose computational device, you battery life will suck, because it's not designed to fulfil that goal"

          Of course, if you were designing a phone to be a general purpose computational device, you could pick a battery that was designed to fulfil that goal...

          "Until then, get used to carrying multiple devices if you need the extra computing power."

          Nah, that's alright. I think I'll just carry on using my Xperia X1 for the extra computing power. The battery lasts well over 24 hours, even when you're using it for General Purpose Computing.

      2. Jerome 2
        Thumb Up

        Are you French or do you live in the Bronx with your 'hos?

        If not, I must compliment you on your most excellent name :)

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The Omnia II considers the slick display of interface animations to be the most important thing"

    Just like the real Windows 7 then....

    can't find any of the buttons or files you actually need but at least the desktop looks nice... sort of.

    I'm waiting for Microsoft to replace the BSOD with a soothing picture of an aquarium. Don't make it work, just slap some polish on that turd.

    Same for WinMo

  27. Trygve
    Megaphone

    I bet you want a flying car too...

    Something that just ain't gonna happen either. Face it, manufacturing a small compact reliable cheap feature-rich pocket computer with all the latest technology for a global target market of a few thousand turbo-nerds is a guaranteed losing proposition.

    No-compromise small computers will never arrive, so you may as well just go out and buy whichever of the many many alternatives currently on the shelves have the compromises that you can live with, or else just shut up.

    I am assuming you aren't dumb enough to bankrupt yourself launching a $3000 pocket device that does exactly what you and a handdful of others want, so why demand that others should be?

  28. Greg Berlin 1

    Scanners

    I work with Honeywell (used to be HHP) scanners. The latest use mobile 6, and I have had tremendous problems with the Op Sys because I want an operating system that allows me to do data transmission over GPRS, and not a mobile phone! The point is that the device costs about £1300, and is rugged enough that my clients can use it for 16 hours (sometimes 24hours) a day!

    If they go to mobile 7, I will be looking for hardware that has a decent operating system where I can control what the user can do, not the operating system.

    1. The Other Steve
      Black Helicopters

      Be there or BSquare

      This is probably a result of MS's insane licensing scheme for Windows CE. A custom CE image put together with Platform Builder would be far more appropriate for a hand held scanner, but this is a) hard, time consuming and possibly outwith the core competency of Honeywell's dev team, and b) a fuck of a lot more expensive than just licensing a WinMo 6 ROM.

      (For the uninitiated, WinMo Smartphone Edition (or whatever the fuck we're calling it this week, Classic, Standard ?) is Win CE with phone bits bolted on).

      Back in November, MS divested all the licensing rights to Windows Mobile to a company called BSquare (note that the new OS seems to be called "Microsoft Windows Phone 7 ", not "Windows Mobile") who seem to understand that there are plenty of non phone markets that rely heavily on WinMo and CE based kit, so presumably either a new and even more confusing range of SKUs will become available, or the old ones will remain so. BSquare will also be running logo testing for OEMs and supplying the Platform Builder toolkit necessary to crank out an OS Image.

      I've yet to hear anyone from the MS WinMo team say anything even remotely informative about strategy (or anything else for that matter), though, so don't take my word for it.

  29. gadgetopia
    Thumb Up

    Microsoft made a phone and I love it already

    Someone has a different view:

    http://www.itwire.com/your-it-news/mobility/36903-microsoft-made-a-phone-and-i-love-it-already

  30. Delie

    A bit silly

    This article is a bit silly, and lacking meaningful content.

    The new Windows mobile software/phone, and your desire to have a pocket computer are almost two separate issues. They're releasing something that a lot of people want, and that's a good thing. If it doesn't fit exactly what you're looking for - get something else, but clearly that doesn't make what they're offering a bad thing.

    Hey, i'd like a Ferrari, but that doesn't mean i'm going to cry every time another company come out with something that isn't a Ferrari does it? it'd be like me comparing a Ferrari to a television and complaining the tv is utterly crap, because happens to not be a Ferrari, when in actual fact - they're both good in their own right.

    Delie

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Badgers

    Defining the GUI

    Where the iphone has scored is in not trying to run office apps on a small form-factor. Innovative use of a touchscreen & GUI elements make it possible to do more with a tiny screen that the windows gui just doesn't cope with - and the point of using a windows os on a phone is so you don't have to redevelop the apps, but that is a strategy which just doesn't work. Even Apple has redone the apps to deal with different dynamics between the iphone and ipad. This stuff matters.

    Also, Apple haven't targeted businesses apps which is MS's strong point. iphone apps tend to be small and grab data which is useful when mobile. Train/movie times, vlc/mythtv remote controls, sports scores. gps/map/address books, music, mini-video and mini-games. Windows has no serious historical advantage here. If you need a SAP client or spreadsheets with vba macros, use the cheap company-provided laptop, because Apple isn't that interested.

    If you want a portable mini computer you'll need:

    1) optical links for video (with magsafe type connectors to reduce wear&tear) and wireless keyboard/mouse

    2) apps which detect the presence of a big screen/touch screen and adjust accordingly. I'd hate to use the iphone touchscreen gui with a mouse on a big screen almost as much as a windows gui on a phone screen.

  32. Mike Flugennock
    FAIL

    Speak for yourself

    I've long ago had it out the wazoo with phones that try to do everything -- including, these days, pinpointing my physical location so that nearby shops can shove advertising in my face. I _love_ having a phone that does nothing but send and receive phone calls, and the occasional text message.

    The only non-phone feature that I miss on my trusty old Samsung is a camera. That's pretty much it.

  33. Is it me?

    Why would you buy a redfly anyway.

    I don't see what this gives you over a cheap laptop/netbook, what advantage is there over having a phone and a computer. I quite often type on my computer when talking on the phone, how would you do that.

  34. OffBeatMammal

    try it, then decide

    jeez... all this bitching based on a previous generation device and some speculation.

    nothing better to do I guess

  35. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Cannot multitask

    @Frank Bough no it can't. I mean, the OS can multitask, the phone can multitask, but if Apple doesn't allow anyones apps but a few of their own to, then de facto it cannot. That actually makes it even worse IMHO -- if the OS was just incapable of it, that'd be one thing, but artificially disallowing it is just wrong.

    Anyway.... I'll reserve my judgement, but if WinMo7 will not run earlier apps at all that will certainly be a mark against it -- they'll be starting at "0" (in terms of having 0 apps) while competing with Android, IPhone, Palm Pre, etc. etc. instead of at least having the advantage of having a large library of apps already by the time they even came out.

  36. pctechxp

    Maybe

    People just dont want pocket computers so thats why your vision has not become a reality,

    Think about this too, your laptop or desktop which packs a seriously powerful CPU has to be cooled and that means either a liquid cooling system (personally I'm not convinced about these in PCs) or fans.

    Although improving, notebook batteries don't even come close to those in mobiles, why? because of the cooling requirements.

    Would you be happy with a small fan blowing up out of your shirt pocket or out of your trousers and standby time measured in hours rather than days?

  37. J 3
    Happy

    some of us don't want to go back to the days when a phone was a phone

    "some of us don't want to go back to the days when a phone was a phone"

    Well, I never left those days! :-)

    I do enjoy reading about what the little buggers are capable of doing though.

  38. Gil Grissum
    Gates Horns

    Windows Mobile (Windows Phone, Windows CE, Pocket PC, Whatever...)

    Windows mobile fell short for me a while back with Windows Mobile 6. Microsoft got stuck there. Palm got stuck until the Web OS and the PRE and Pixi (which I cannot get on AT&T). Instead of an iPhone (closed platform, no replaceable battery, no keyboard, etc), I got a Blackberry and I can't see going back to Windows Mobile or moving to iPhone. I can get work done. I can entertain myself. I can communicate. The 8310 Curve isn't the latest, greatest, or best, but it does what I need and that works for me just fine.

  39. jon 77

    Why not just get a netbook?

    have you seen the PRICE of those??? £200 to 400... Might as well just get a small laptop!!

    On many forums I read, many want a pocket-able PC + phone (that my phone company will give me for free, in exchange for a good contract & unlimited internet)... Geeks luv android - see link for why..:D

    http://www.gpf-comics.com/archive.php?d=20100111

    even worse, budding 'homer simpsons' cannot see why it cannot do what a normal PC does, and blame the browser author for it!!!

    -The sort of 'loud idiot' that goes into a butchers and demands "why dont you do cakes!?!?!?!"

  40. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Why can't Redmond stick to computers?

    Er - they don't do computers they cripple them. That's why they though they could get into phones - which are after all crippled computers these days.

    Mind you if MS hadn't crippled computers people probably wouldn't be arguing over which shit they'd rather not have on their crippled computer when they could actually have it all.

  41. Don Mitchell

    Go to gizmodo

    If you want some real information about this phone and the new OS, check out a series of articles on gizmodo.com. You won't find balanced reporting about anything Microsoft does here.

  42. Shig
    FAIL

    Redfly!?

    Christ! you bought one of those?

  43. jon 77

    @roy 3 ... Debian linux, eh??

    sure it will do all that, but can you install it on the N900??? and still use it as a mobile phone???

  44. Dr. Ellen
    Jobs Horns

    I want a dumb phone, and a smart PDA

    I can understand - some people want a dingus that Does It All. I'm not one of them. If my phone craps out, I want my PDA unaffected, and vice-versa. Same for my MP3 player.

    I'm clinging for dear life to my lovely old iPAQ PDA. It has a small screen, but I have good eyes; and it fits perfectly into an exterior pouch on my purse. I have a dumbphone, which fits in the smaller pouch. If I'm going to a coffeeshop or such, I'll take my netbook, which does fit in the purse itself.

    But it seems PDAs are getting hard to find.

  45. Paul2724
    Thumb Up

    I agree with the OP

    I am also in the 'I want my phone to just be a phone' camp.... I carry a WinMo6 PDA (very nice HP iPaq) around with me that does all the 'Pocket PC' stuff like eBook reading, mobile video player, picture and document viewer as well as email and web browsing. Its far better at all those functions than any 'smartphone' I've tried (and yes I have tried a Jesus phone - didn't like it). And it multitasks :P

    The main problem with smartphones is they are just physically too small to do the 'Pocket PC' stuff well enough for my liking. To make them big enough to do that they become too big to be a good phone - I don't see this problem going away anytime soon...

    My phone is the most basic I could find that had the ability to give internet connectivity to my PDA when I don't have access to Wi-Fi.

  46. shane fitzgerald

    Yawn...

    If I had just bought an ironing board but actually wanted a dishwasher I would not be expecting a paycheck for writing tales of woe about it on the internet.

    get over it - get an N900. It does what it says on the tin.

  47. Asher Pat
    Unhappy

    Someone made a competing product to Apple...

    and the fanboys hate already hate it!

    1. BobaFett
      WTF?

      @Asher Pat: FFS, RTFA!

      I'm guessing English comprehension isn't one of your strong points? Read the article again (assuming you can read at all) and you might realise that the author isn't keen on any smartphones which are limited in functionality or are "dumbed down" for use as a phone.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Android

    Android doesn't need to underline your spelling mistakes in red - it corrects/suggests as you type. And there's no reason why an Android app can't have a red-underlining spell-checker. Just because nobody's done it, the implication is that it's not useful on a mobile device.

    And Android will be able to run Opera (it's being ported right now), but why would you want to when the native browser is so good?

    This article is a bunch of whinging irrelevance. You sound like you're harking back to the days of WinMo when it was at its worst, most unstable and crashable. If you want a mobile computer, get an android or iPhone device and stop complaining.

  49. Danny 14 Silver badge
    FAIL

    wut?

    I love my omnia. It is a fantastic phone and it multitasks quite happily. Then again I have flashed it with winmo 6.5 and HTC touchflo is running on it and ive pruned out all the services I dont actually use - oh and upgraded the "phone" part too so the battery life is better (and probably illegal too and frying my brain).

    Messaging? Fine, 2 email accounts syncing? Yup - shame it wont "push" but a minor inconvenience. Tomtom running on it? Yup. mobile opera? yup. Music and video? Yup - although I did buy coreplayer which does a far better job. Tethers 3G? Yup - great for the netbook on the train if I am really doing some work.

    Contract is up next month so im getting an omni pro. For the amount of minor corrections and surfing I do, the foldup bluetooth keyboard is overkill really so a small thumb pad is better than the screen keyboard.

  50. Bram
    Paris Hilton

    A little short sighted

    There is apparently going to be a business version of the windows phone series 7, so you can have a stripped down version with more functionality.

    Windows mobile is still the best for business because you can do what ever you want with it and Im guessing the business version of windows series 7 will allow you to customise nearly everything unlike the consumer version.

    Try not to get your knickers in a twist

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh look a phone...

    that does everything a laptop does, but in a really fiddly, flaky fashion.

    Pass me the pen and paper...

  52. nasov
    Linux

    question is...

    why buy a RedFly for $199 and use it as an extension to your BB or MSWinMob enabled phone when for the same price you can get an Asus eePc?

  53. Robert Synnott

    More similar than you'd think...

    "Unlike an iPhone, the Omnia II has the ability to multitask, but it chooses not to."

    Actually, the iPhone is in exactly the same situation; Apple's software is allowed multitask, but third-party applications are _not_.

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