back to article Windows Phone 7 - what's in and what's out

"In this release, our focus is on phones purchased by consumers," said Microsoft’s Charlie Kindel, describing the Windows Phone 7 developer platform to attendees at the Mix conference in Las Vegas on Monday. "In this release" turns out to be a constant refrain, as he answers questions, usually in the negative. Is there a …

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  1. IT specialist
    Gates Halo

    Trust me to vet your apps

    Trust me. I'm Microsoft. You can trust me to decide for you which apps are allowed and which are not. Who else would be better to decide what you will do today? No naughty apps here.

  2. Andrew Baines Silver badge
    FAIL

    Shame

    I didn't do my normal annual upgrade this year, sticking with my WinMo 6.1 phone from O2. I'd been planning to upgrade at the next renewal to Windows 7.

    Looks like I'll be going elsewhere which is a shame. I only went WinMo 6.1 for the best Exchange support. Now it looks like everyone else has caught up and MS are going backwards.

    Any recommendations for a phone that connects well to Exchange - I don't like Palm's keyboard, or Apple's locking. Just upgrade to WinMo 6.5?

    1. Citizen Kaned

      yup

      6.5 is way better than 6.1. well, its better anyway. cant you get a free 6.5 upgrade?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Nexus One

      Syncs with exchange, works, looks nice. What more could you want?

    3. TeeCee Gold badge
      Gates Horns

      Shame?

      A bloody catastrophe more like.

      I've stuck with WinMo through a series of devices for several years now. Allows me to do WTF I want with it and I've accumulated a useful application base over time, some free, some not.

      Since I'll apparently have to change everything anyway, I'll almost certainly be going with an Android device once this one turns its toes.

      "Sales in freefall? I know, let's fuck over what remains of our customer base.". What planet are they on? Back-compatibility is what keeps them in the game for the OS and browser side of things, so dumping it for the phone side in favour of playing "me too" with the established iPhone and Android products makes as much sense as stuffing their heads in a gas oven and turning it on.

      I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure they've fucked themselves good 'n proper here.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge
        Stop

        android. hmm.

        let me see. I'd like android to sync to my BMW 530 and my ford galaxy. I'd also like the battery to last longer than one day without it being off all the time. Be able to plug it into my PC and act as a memory stick without faffing about clicking here there and everywhere just to get pictures and music off. Plug into my netbook to tether without arsing about with a rooted app.

        All of which possible on my omnia but not on my lg touch max (eve)

        That being said, this winmo/phone 7 looks like a stoooopid idea. It takes all the good bits of 6.5 and throws them away. Great move, i'll ignore it.

      2. Terry H

        Spot On!

        Well said sir!!

        My feelings 100%. When I stop using my Touch Pro 2 I'll be an Android user. And if someone could get the camera to work I'd flash it now.

        I will never under any circumstances run win phone 7.

    4. Joel Mansford
      Thumb Down

      WinMo 6.1 Upgrade

      Just head over to xda-developers.com and upgrade your existing phone to v6.5. Oh also checkout running Android on it - no need to reflash!

      As for the article, well, MS copying Apple's approach to a completely MS controled platform looks like a major FAIL to me. I liked that in WinMo you could just knock up a .NET app in Visual Studio, try it in the emulator and deploy it.

      Having everything MS controlled I think is a major mistake and will kill it off completely, last year I resisted buying a fourth WinMo phone and got an Android HTC Hero and haven't looked back.

      1. The Other Steve
        FAIL

        Uh huh, yeah

        "Having everything MS controlled I think is a major mistake and will kill it off completely"

        Yeah, that's right, just look at what it did to iPhone sales. Erm, oh, hang on ...

    5. The Other Steve
      Paris Hilton

      Yes but really

      OTOH MS (or indeed Apple) are providing the developer with a channel to market. I think people who are not themselves developers underestimate the utility of this. As an ISV, getting your shit out to people who will buy it is by far your biggest business challenge.

      With an App store, much of that overhead is gone. Sure, you still need marketing strategies, because in the gazilions of tit wobbling apps, you need word of mouth or good PR to make your app visible, but a good chunk of your sales, billing and distribution bureaucracy is gone.

      People who never worked for or been ISVs might find it hard to get their heads round, but a 30% cut and sticking to some rules are more than a fair swap for that.

      Consumers want a phone that doesn't crash every five minutes, so having MS check that some fucktard isn't hacking at the native API with an axe is a good thing for them.

      90,000 people a day think this is a great business model when Apple does it, so it's hard to see who loses out, other a couple of thousand whiny freetards who wouldn't buy an MS product even it was encased in skin vat grown from a clone of Natalie Portman's nipples.

      And, and this is important, no one gives a fuck about them anyway.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    I hated my TyTn II until

    I found XDA-Developers. It initially came with Windows Mobile 6.0 which was slow and painful and Orange as the provider lagged behind HTC's new releases so that they could dump their crap on it whilst supposedly testing it.

    I now run a cooked WinMo 6.5 pro with a number of community created free (but commercial grade) pieces of software that would NEVER get through Microsoft's Marketplace as they step on the toes of a number of to pay for Microsoft Partners. It has made my Windows Mobile a pleasure to use that I have as much customisation room as I have with my home PC. I'm afraid if Windows 7 is locked down as much as the iPhone, then I foresee moving to something like the Nexus, Blackberry or even Palm in the future for our business requirements

    On another note, is Microsoft marketplace going to block foes like Google?

    I do however think people will benefit from a standardisation of the WinMo hardware/software with it's shiny Bing button that prevents people from upgrading from 6.5.

  4. leon stok
    Unhappy

    Great...

    Removing the good from WiMo, and taking the bad things from the iPhone.

    I was thinking about WiPho7, but this is just not for me.

    No doubt it'll be a great success with the 'Oooh, Shiny' crowd though.

    1. Ben Holmes
      Thumb Up

      Oooh, shiny...

      What a lot of people tend to forget is that there's nothing particularly wrong with pandering to the 'Oooh, Shiny' crowd, as they will no doubt make up the greater percentage of the smartphone-buying public. And with Windows-based mobile sales "in freefall", that's arguably who MS need to appeal to at the moment to turn things around. And the way this chap has worded his responses, certainly makes it sound as if its case of 'Shiny first, functional later'.

      I understand why they're doing it - but that doesn't mean I approve.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    So many ways to fail

    So they're going to support just 2 screen resolutions. Not one, which would make app dev easy, not many which would make device design innovative, but two.

    And they're going to prevent me from installing/running the apps I want on the device I own.

    And they're going to prevent background apps in the first release.

    Oh, but the one thing I don't want is that PoS Flash, but they're going to give me that, despite the fact that it's the scourge of the internet.

    Thanks, MS. You fail in so many ways. I'll stick to Android for now.

  6. alistair millington
    FAIL

    OMG. Another MS product circling the drain.

    So what is this release actually containing that is a selling point then?

    It's based on win CE, (I was using that in 2002 on a Toshiba pocket PC) Hardly bespoke and brand new like Android, palm or Apple.

    It's not running SQL that you can use.

    Apps can't talk to eachother.

    Apps can't can't run in the background

    Can't auto update

    It's not really pushing silverlight while everything else MS does is pushing silverlight.

    It's not gonna let the the end user do what they want as MS always lock stuff down to partners etc.

    Developer will have 30% creamed off for MS

    It's another "walled garden" affair, only without Itunes.

    It uses .NET but not the latest .NET

    It uses Adobe flash, well known for being buggy and pants.

    So then, what are the selling points? Well there is still most of 2010 left to see.

    Only slack jawed yokels would buy a win 7 phone based on that interview. It certainly isn't sounding the do all jesus phone fighter that they need it to be.

  7. Tony Hoyle

    Are microsoft mad?

    So.. they're starting from zero - no back compatibility, hence no apps, and implementing a locked down system that has to compete with the established iphone, android and blackberry market.

    If they think windows mobile sales are in freefall *now* just wait until they see what market makes of that idea.

  8. Doc Spock
    Megaphone

    The Revolution is Coming...

    The revolution is coming and it will be simplified. The geek will not inherit the Earth, but rather "Jane/Joe Average" will. Before this turns into an amanfrommars( 1) style post, let me explain.

    The same howls of derision are emanating from tech sites as were heard when the iPhone launched. Specifically, "it can't be tinkered with => fail." Well, I'm sorry, but the vast majority of the buying public do not care.

    Technology is becoming simple. More importantly, however, technology is becoming usable (and by usable, I mean usable by the general population, not a select few tech geeks whose bookcases comprise solely of Linux books and Harry Potter**).

    Apple saw this. Microsoft see this. Google, oddly, hasn't. Nokia also know this, which is why they dominate the low-end feature-phone market.

    Of course, most commenters on tech sites will fail to grasp this concept and proclaim that "the sheeple like teh shiny" or some similarly stupid drivel.

    ** in the interests of fairness, I describe myself as a tech geek and own at least one Linux book - but no Harry Potter books...

  9. Craig Foster
    Thumb Down

    Seriously?

    This will be the Vista ME of the mobile world.

    They have taken *EVERYTHING* bad in the competitors and rolled it into one stinking floater.

    There is *NOTHING* that is a sales plus in the platform description, so it's guaranteed that MS will lose what little they have of their market share.

    I like the third party UI's like Sense, and MS has ignored the usability fixes others have made and screwed the platform due to what is obviously internal committee decisions.

    1. Monty Burns

      Downgrading to average

      Indeed, I see exactly the same point as you ......

      except I don't to be "Joe Average" walking around looking average. Of course, thats how progress is made right? Staying average...

      I wana play, tinker, flash, jazz up, style how I want. Thanks MS for at least releasing 6.5 as thats where I will be staying for a good while by the looks of it. So far, it rocks on my HD2 and i'm one seriously rom flashed, customised, happy end user!

      After all, why would I want to ruin my fantastic phone experience by going to an Ipho.... er sorry, WinMo7 phone?

      MS, go get your mass market and thats what your after, just be aware that you have taken away a big tool of innovation. Lets hope Android gets better in the next year.

  10. elmerfudpuckered
    WTF?

    WTF are they thinking

    Did Steve Jobs just take over Microsoft?? I have a Touch Pro 2 and hammered all my cabs to a backup drive since the Mogul. I hang out in PPCGeeks and XDA, and Modico. And now the platform has become a Iphone wanabe! Jobs is LOLing this as we speak. He has finally beat Microsoft into submission. Now we will have to wait a while till the Geeks and XDA come up with a a way to "jailbreak" Winmo 7. I will hang on to my TP2 and will be looking at what google has to offer for my next upgrade.

    1. The Other Steve
      Gates Horns

      Money well spent

      "Now we will have to wait a while till the Geeks and XDA come up with a a way to "jailbreak" Winmo 7"

      No need, just like the iPhone. Buy a dev subscription and open source everything. Course, this doesn't work if people want to make cash from things sold outside the channel, but those people have chosen the wrong platform to play on, so fuck 'em.

      Course, this is only 'free as in speech' ...

  11. John70

    Backward compatibility

    Why would you want WinMo7 to have backward compatibility with previous WinMo's?

    Do you want WinMo7 to be bloated like Windows is?

    Personally I think Microsoft should create a new OS (Windows and Mobile) from scratch and screw backward compatibility. Get rid of the bloat.

    If your WinMo6.5 app is any good, the author would create a new version for WinMo7 to stay up to date.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge
      Stop

      hmm

      Im not sure why you say "bloated". If you use many of the hacked firmwares out there then you have a mighty phone. And by hacked, I simply downloaded the activesynce, the modem driver, firmware and away I went 6.1 -> 6.5. My ancient by modern standards omnia will happily run tomtom, surf the web and use flash-lite, play just about any film or music going with coreplayer, sync to exchange, download my own IMAP emails from 2 separate accounts, store all of the contacts separately not in one mush, use OS maps courtesy of memory map (with onboard GPS of course). Oh and tether quite happily to my netbook for HSDPA loveliness. A good days use and there is still 50% charge left for the next day all on a 2 year battery.

      I also have an old iphone (the wife has it) and a new LG touchmax (eve) android phone. I bought that as the KB was great on it. I hate the OS. It is slower than the omnia, more of a faff to do everyday tasks on it, the batterylife is horrific - I dont care about 3G/HSDPA bug, fix it! Give me an app to fix it! It wont sync with either of my cars (common fault in forums).

      Dont get me started on the iphone, its capabilities as a true smartphone are laughable.

      That being said. All that make winmo6.5 great have been removed from wphone 7. No more tomtom as im not buying it twice. No more memory map, same as. And no chance of removing the bloat added by the service provider. Unless a good hacked firmware comes out then im avoiding like the plague.

  12. Geoff Mackenzie

    "In this release"

    Sounds like the constant refrain was "Not in this release." My long-obsolete Nokia E61 is more functional than W7P sounds.

  13. Rich Woods

    Ignore the geeks at your peril

    This is a response to the comments that say that simplifying a mobile experience is a good strategy. That's kind of correct, but you should be extremely cautious of "alienating the geek" at the same time. This is because the mass market is complex and not nearly as clearly divided into easily targeted pools as some seem to think.

    Everybody knows a geek, and when they are buying a smartphone they will usually ask their opinion. The iPhone worked because all the geeks knew it was a seriously good piece of kit. When their non tech savvy friends asked them about the iPhone, they told them such, if the geeks hadn't like the iPhone it would never have been as successful as it has been.

    What Microsoft seem to be doing here is putting in place a number of restrictions that throw up red flags in the minds of the geeks. No app accessible database, no inter-app communication, no apps as services, no backwards compatibility, a tightly restricted marketplace, the list seems to go on. When the average smartphone buyer asks his geek friend his opinion on Windows Phone 7 series, there's too much in the way of a simple "yeah, it's a nice bit of kit" reply.

  14. David Given

    Microsoft Android

    This is, basically, Android for Windows. It's using .NET instead of Java, and the WinCE kernel instead of Linux, but it's very much the same thing.

    Is this a good idea? I have no idea. Microsoft have a long history of sucking at consumer electronics (*cough*Zune*cough*), but if they finally get their act together they may end up with something worth using --- Silverlight should at least mean that the UI ought to be pretty. And it cannot possibly be worse than WinMo, unless they suddenly announce it's based on Symbian.

    I doubt very much they'll beat Android, though. All the next generation of Chinese cheap phones will run Android, simply because it's free and works pretty well. Android may be fragmented to buggery but it'll still have huge momentum...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, this is...

    Windows stupid name 7 = iPhone 2008 then? Methinks that, when you need to do much better than the competition to catch up to their lead, starting out with a strategy that is already more than 2 years out of date isn't going to work.

    1. MK

      Zune

      Have you actually used a Zune? Seems most Zune naysayers are those who have never even touched the hardware. If WP7 gives me Zune marketplace compatibility, I'll consider it just so I can stop carrying another device.

      1. Giles Jones Gold badge

        Zune

        That might be because Microsoft never bothered to release it in the UK. You can get grey imports, but why bother when an iPod will have a warranty.

    2. The Other Steve
      FAIL

      Oooh, I'm so frightened

      "but you should be extremely cautious of "alienating the geek""

      Why ? What are they are going to do ? Unfollow me on twitter ? Boo fuckin' hoo.

      I think we need to be clear that when we're bandying the word 'geek' around in this context what we're really talking about is "the tiny but horribly voluble percentage of technically literate people who regard any interference with their perceived 'right' (note that this is different from 'ability') to have total access to every single piece of silicon on the planet as a form of oppression.

      Put another way, if you're a 'geek', and you refuse to recommend something to a 'non geek' because although it has all the features a 'non geek' will probably ever want, but fails to conform with your borg like political agenda, you are, in fact, a twat.

      Fortunately, consumers are becoming sufficiently savvy to realise this, and they look instead at the tech and their personal requirements to see if the two match up while disregarding the awful self righteous web monkeys' high pitched whining about 'freedom'.

      And about time to.

      1. zooooooom
        FAIL

        @the other steve

        You're _the_ Steve aren't you? :-o

    3. c 1

      Microsft ndroid - WTF?

      @David Given - what are you smoking?

      "This is, basically, Android for Windows. It's using .NET instead of Java, and the WinCE kernel instead of Linux, but it's very much the same thing."

      Except for multitasking,

      and ability to install any app you feel like without using a "marketplace",

      and ability for OEM custom UIs,

      and native code support,

      and dozens of other things.

      But your right : WM7 does not sound all that appetising now.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Do not want

    Wow, so the great new feature of Windows 7 Mobile (or whatever the hell its called) is that its a knock off of the iPhone one-app-at-a-time scheme?

    1. The Other Steve
      FAIL

      The market has a solution for that

      Do Not Buy.

      Simples

  17. Jerome 0
    Thumb Up

    Flash

    So according to Kindel, "Flash is necessary in order to provide a full web experience", but Windows Phone 7 does not currently support Flash.

    Ergo, Kindel is stating that Windows Phone 7 is actually a bit rubbish, and you should probably just go out and buy an Android device instead.

  18. Alastair 7

    Got to love how...

    ...everyone in these comments are saying that Windows Phone 7 is going to fail because it's making all the same mistakes the iPhone did.

    The iPhone is a massive, massive success. Not to the geek crowd that occupy El Reg perhaps, but as far as the vast majority of people are concerned, iPhones are great. And MS are absolutely right to follow that model.

    "It's based on win CE, (I was using that in 2002 on a Toshiba pocket PC) Hardly bespoke and brand new like Android, palm or Apple."

    Given that Android and WebOS are based on Linux, they're not that new either. And the iPhone OS is based on OS X which is based on BSD... need I go on? If things were utterly brand new they'd probably be full of problems. Using a solid, existing base is hardly bad programming.

    1. Quxy
      WTF?

      There's the Apple brand, and then there's Microsoft...

      Yes, the "ooh, shiny" crowd loves the iPhone, despite its limitations and Jobsian control -- because the interface works so very, very well and it's made by oh-so-cool Apple. But the Microsoft brand is ALSO well known by the trend-following public... and it's a long, long way from Apple's cool factor. So I'm as puzzled as other commentards about what the marketing group in Redmond must have been smoking.

  19. Xonrug
    Thumb Down

    Missed Oppportunity

    Why are Microsoft ignoring the enterprise?

    RIM have the corporate market almost entirely to themselves and it's making them lazy. I would have loved Microsoft to get truly competitive in this area.

    Sigh... More Blackberry rubbish for the next few years then.

  20. The Other Steve

    Huwah, WInMo Dev Team, What are they good for ?

    "What was Microsoft doing to address the known problems of its mobile platform before then?"

    Huwah, good god, absolutely NOTHIN'! Say it again.

    And that despite the massively negative feedback they were getting from both customers and (especially) developers. Feedback they simply dismissed out of hand, even as it was obvious that they were years behind the state of the art and making themselves look stupid (Pocket IE anyone ?)

    As for the whole "Boo Hoo it's managed only" whine, who cares ? As long as the hardware platform is specced to support it, it really doesn't matter. MS have been taking shit for crashy WinMo platforms for a long time when most of the abhorrent behaviour was caused by the almost uniformly pathetic skill levels of WinMo developers working in native code.

    I mean, I like C as much as the next person, but unfortunately the next person is a muppet who should never have been let near a computer, never mind a C++ compiler. As someone who has occasion to develop WinMo software from time to time, I'd like to thank MS for making sure that all those tossers have the GC to clean up after them.

  21. zooooooom

    sigh

    The ONLY reason that I bought an MS phone over an iPhone was because it was an open platform - open in the sense that it was my device to install the software I wanted on it. That advantage just went away, so it looks like my next phone will have to be a genuine open platform.

    Apple can only win at their game because they have the edge in shiney, fair play to them - people like shiney, but there can only be one king of shiney.

  22. Julian 3

    Its all about the marketing

    Microsoft are aiming this at low to mid end consumer market. Will probably look nice but do very little out of the ordinary on a technological basis to distinguish itself from any other platform. I'm guessing Microsoft will do a big marketing push. It worked for Apple. Lets hope it doesnt have the same oppressive licencing regime as Apple have.

  23. LDS Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Eye candies for consumer losers killing the smartphone

    It looks the need for eye candies targeted at the consumer losers are killing the smartphone concept itself. And you are not free to buy and install whatever you want. It looks the eighties and their cartridge based consoles. No native apps, they would make smartphones look fast, why not force them to parse lot of crappy interpreted or intermediate code and draw lot of useless effects? The average loser needs something to show to the average loser friends.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think you guys have missed something

    There's no doubt that it's a risky decision from MS to ditch backward compatibility, but if they're going to put silverlight support into it then they really don't have much choice. most legacy apps simply don't port to silverlight, it's a completely different approach to structuring an app.

    However, they are putting silverlight in it! I can put together a quality silverlight app very quickly and make it look good, as can a lot of developers. Compare this with the toil of trying to program an iPhone and I think a lot of developers will be thinking "at last, I can actually get on with making interesting apps without the overhead of trying to fit things into a bizzare language".

    The upshot of this is that it will not take long for a large application base to build up, simply because it's so easy to write them. Then if they start addressing some of these "not in this release" areas, I think they'll have a real contender. First of all though, they need to get the development community writing silverlight apps for mobiles, while they sort out these features.

    1. The Other Steve
      Thumb Up

      Silverlight at the end of the tunnel ?

      I don't wish to impugn your personal abilities, but I can't help pointing out that the sentence "I can put together a quality silverlight app very quickly and make it look good, as can a lot of developers" would be more honestly written as simply "a lot of developers put together a silverlight app very quickly."

      Slverlight is good, since its nature is not to be fugly, but hopefully that means that people who grok silverlight will move to WinMo, not the other way around. I for one would happily see most of the crop of current winmo develepors left behind. In a ditch.

  25. pitagora
    Stop

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits

    Looks like windows mobile is about to take all the defects of Iphone, without any of the benefits. The reason I like WM now is that I can develop apps for it without being censored of the likes of Apple. This leaves room for open source, for custom software made for business use, etc.

    If WM becomes an Iphone clone, then I don't want it anymore. If I have to chose the lesser of two evils, then I will chose the one with the most apps available (and that's iphone).

    So message M$: removing the freedom in programming (all that control) will definitely loose me as a customer, and developer).

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    So, I'll be discarding my WM apps then.

    Had several Mindows Mobiles phones over the years, and I actually like them. They *are* good, especially in the corporate environment. I read the 'haters' in these forums and conclude many register readers don't belong here (or perhaps I no longer belong here). I mean, judge technology on merit, not loyalty. Please.

    My current employer gives us all a Nokia if we want it, but I'd guess 80% of us hand it straight back. Most people have a better phone in thier pocket when they walk in the door on day 1, and don't want to carry two phones. On-call support get a Blackberry, but thankfully my on-call support days are long gone.

    My big problem with Windows 7 Mobile is the apps. I've collected a bunch of useful (to *me*) WM apps over the years. If I get a Windows 7 Phone, I have to give up those apps. I don't want to go hunting for replacements. I just can't be bothered.

    I think I'll just sit out this next round. Nobody is making stuff I want.

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