back to article Five ways Microsoft can rescue Windows Phone

Windows Phone might be the most impressive bit of software Microsoft has produced - but it isn't setting the world on fire. The iPhone and Android go from strength to strength - the latter proliferating so widely even Google doesn't know how many Android systems are out there. (It can't count the Chinese forks which don't use …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft don't care..

    They already make more money from Android than WinPho. Windows phone is more of a hobby than a serious project. Microsoft are far more concerned with other divisions such as the Xbox and Office.

    Nokia, on the other hand, have put their entire business in the hands of Windows Phone - a project I don't think Microsoft really cares if it succeeds or fails.

    1. Ru

      Sure they do

      They just can't bring themselves to do something about it.

      They've already hurt themselves enough with their disasterous mobile strategy over the past few years. Like so many other things they've been doing of late, it all seems a bit uncoordinated, and there's the underlying sense that they might just bin it in a fit of pique.

    2. Magnus_Pym

      Here's a theory

      Microsoft's policy on the phone is to integrate it into the Wintel ecosystem so tightly that it becomes the default business phone. If the mobile(cell) becomes an extension of the business desktop then a typical business installation becomes Windows/Office/Winphone.

      Outlook has another section called calls. Your company phone is tied into your company login. then all your office stuff/settings/security is also your phone. The deskphone is obsolete. Your bosses get to know where you are, how quickly you are moving, Who you speak to and for how long. They could even record your calls remotely.

      They bought Skype to integrate voice calls into the system. Intra-office calls all go through the company network and can be tracked back to your desktop. You no longer need a desk phone. The phone tracks location, Outlook knows your location and routes call appropriately. They bought Nokia to bring locked down business winphones to the market.

      1. Magnus Ramage

        At my work, we recently shifted from a conventional phone system to VOIP using MS Lync. Much as I hate having to turn on a PC and run a specific app just to be able to make a phone call, I'm grudgingly coming round to it. It's well integrated with Outlook and works remotely via VPN. It's a strange experience being called on your office number while sitting at home on a laptop, but quite effective when you frequently work from home. I gather that Lync clients for Android and iOS are available, but not sure how well they work, so I can well imagine a deeper level of integration of mobile phones in the way you say.

        1. Vic

          Disclosure: I sell SIP systems

          > At my work, we recently shifted from a conventional phone system to VOIP

          I do that too.

          > using MS Lync

          Not that, though.

          > It's a strange experience being called on your office number while sitting at home on a laptop

          My office numbers - and my home number - come through to my laptop, to my luggable (Snom 300) phone, to my Wifi phone, to my Android tablet, to my mobile phone, ...

          I get full integration with my CRM system as well, as long as I'm on a "trusted" network connection[1].

          VoIP is a useful way of doing things,. But don't fall into the trap of thinking Microsoft invented it.

          Vic.

          [1] I've got ways to get a phonebook out for anything I can download a phonebook to - but I've noticed that most phones don't have any security involved. So I just restrict the download to addresses I know are well-controlled - i.e. local LAN or VPN.

        2. Levente Szileszky
          WTF?

          RE: Lync...

          ...is probably the most awkward VoIP implementation that ever reached en masse deployment; as always Microsoft was waaaay too late to the party and by the way Lync works it's pretty obvious they only care about binding you to Outlook/Office, the last cash-cow.

          In short: VoIP has NOTHING to do with Microsoft and Lync is the last thing I'd suggest to run anyone.

    3. Frank Butcher

      Of course they care

      Within years the desktop computer market will be a niche. Mobile OS will span all of ppl devices. My cure for winpho is yes, more content, but crucially Price, I can get a capable android for £50 , sorry Nokia/MS you are going to have to dabble in the murk of budgetland. And one other thing, embrace open stds, If I cant play my DVD/Blu CD rips on the phone its not going in my pocket. So many free android apps eg remote controls, mapping,navigation and get some good/great games. And Microsft CAN withstand a billion or two being burnt to get market sare. making a full takeover/merger a possibility. Reasonable OS .....

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        "the desktop computer market will be a niche"

        Sure. You do know that you sound exactly like the pundits and random idiots who were predicting the death of the mainframe in 1990, right? They've been wrong for 22 years and counting.

        Last year somewhere on the order of 85 million "client" PCs were shipped *per quarter*. Most of those were desktop systems, or laptops which are essentially portable desktops (certainly the vast majority aren't "mobile" in the sense of "mobile phone", nor are they running a "mobile OS", insofar as that phrase means anything).

        Will desktop computers - ie, discrete appliance general-purpose computers for a single user - dwindle "within years"? Sure; nothing lasts forever, and millions of non-specialist computer users taking care of their own CPUs and storage has largely been tremendously inefficient and a security disaster, among other problems. But it won't happen soon, and as Keynes noted, there's a limit to how much you want to bet on the long run.

  2. hammarbtyp Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Good article...

    However a couple of points. Firstly I'm sure that RIM would argue there are in fact 3 mobile eco systems out there and while not a major player in all markets, in some markets such as business they are important. This provides another obstacle to an area MS would normally see as a strength i.e exchange support

    Also if they increased Skype prices to non windows mobile devices wouldn't that just push people to look at alternatives such as google talk?

    1. alexh2o

      Yeh I really don't get the Skype bit - the article basically wants MS to go back to the 90s. Skype's value is in being platform neutral and available everywhere! I also don't get how operators afraid of becoming dumb pipes would see Skype as anything other than another threat to their offerings?

      1. TheOtherHobbbes

        You have to ask

        "...the article basically wants MS to go back to the 90s."

        if Microsoft has ever managed to leave the 90s?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The real problem is the legacy

    As with a lot of Microsoft software the first version wasn't quite the exciting phone as they proclaimed it to be. Even very simple common tasks such as multitasking or using your own music file for a ringtone wasn't possible. Of course Microsoft has fixed this with the latest upgrade called 'Mango' but many people will only remember that first "horrid" version and as such won't bother trying out new versions for quite some time to come.

    And what about those people who may be tempted anyway? Well; in the mean time a new dilemma was created by changing the policy in which the updates are provided. Everyone who works with Windows (or Microsoft software in general) and kept up a little knows that in many cases Microsoft software tends to starts out poorly but eventually does manage to catch on.

    So; apply the update (usually done by using 'Windows update') and you're home free.

    But what about the Windows phone? Recently Microsoft has announced that updates will now be a responsibility for the network providers; Microsoft itself won't supply any updates themselves anymore.

    So here's my dilemma; what if I do buy a Windows phone but end up with a network provider which doesn't provide any updates because "the phone is good as it is" ?

    Quite frankly I wouldn't be surprised at all if many people simply played it safe; why risk running into possible problems which are very likely never going to be addressed (due to no updates being provided by the operator) vs. a phone where you have a certain guarantee ?

    1. Arrrggghh-otron

      While Android remains as workable and as customisable as it is, I see no need to ever entertain owning another Window Mobile device ever again. I've been there and have no desire to go through it again. Nokia on the other hand, if they released a decent spec Android phone with a qwerty slider I could be persuaded as their hardware is usually very functional.

      The first manufacturer to come up with a set of handsets that are decent spec, with decent battery life and ideally for me one of them has a 5 row qwerty slide out keyboard, that doesn't cost more than £200 sim free and where the hardware is open and supported (directly or by a modding community) for several years and isn't upgraded every 12 -18 months leaving the old models to rot, I suspect, will be on to a winner.

      1. xperroni
        Stop

        Successful businesses sell to *consumers*, not geeks

        No.

        What you are describing is not a successful product, it's a geek's wet dream.

        Normal people are like the honey badger on "open" platforms, they don't give a sh*t .People _want_ a black box; they want to come into a shop and come out carrying a shiny gadget that they can turn on and "just work" with, no fiddling required. Most don't bother with mechanical keyboards anymore, the pidgeonspeak of instant messaging and Twitter has all but obviated the need for writing anyway. And they'll happily flock back for "upgrades" as long as you add some new gimmicks to each hardware revision.

        I'm sorry, but what you propose is a recipe for disaster: it's the view of a hobbyist market that hasn't existed in any relevant scale for some 30 years now. Whoever tried to succeed in the mainstream market with a product like this would sink faster than you can spell "openmoko".

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ Arrrggghh-otron

        "...owning another Window Mobile device ever again. I've been there and have no desire to go through it again.."

        OK, here we go again. WP IS NOT Windows Mobile. None o/t WinMo applications run on WinPho. Also technically WinPho lacks most o/t things that you took for granted in WinMo. I refer to things like full bluetooth transfers, bluetooth (and before that even Wifi-) syncing, full outlook integration, full multitasking (for ALL apps) etc...

        So You (and I for that matter too) should indeed look at Windows Phone with new eyes. The problem for me is that Windows lacks certain features which I definitely require. If my requirements are not met then WP (and iOS and Android too for THAT matter) is NO option for me.

        Again it just doesn't matter on a phone what OS it has. If the device meets your expectations and fullfill your needs then even e featurephone is sufficient. Unfortunatly many modern smartphones lacks some features that were present on (some) featurephones or past smartphones. Usually ppl find it out AFTER they bought their new shiny toys when it's all a little too late (especially when you have to fork out the same fee that could get you a full blown laptop PC) .

        As for Nokia bringing out an Android handset. No they shouldn't. Nokia will just sink in a sea of anonymity between the big Android players (HTC & Samsung). Especially in the low budget market (which is currently owned by Samsung and LG). Nokia NEEDS its OWN OS. And it doesn't matter whether it's called Symbion or moogee as long as it does what ppl expect it to do.

        Are you a bit naive perhaps? All these manufacturers (and OS developers) need continue income. This can only be achieved when ppl continuously buy their stuff. They can't support a phone for too long or they'll cripple their own stream of development. it seems that you want hi-tech but don't want to pay for it (or can't afford it).

        1. Arrrggghh-otron

          @xperroni Geeks are consumers too!

          What makes you think that such a device couldn't be used by normal consumers? It would already work out of the box but could be easily upgraded should you choose. At least the choice would be there.

          That most don't bother with a hardware keyboard is why I suggested one model out of a range to have a hardware keyboard.

          A geeks wet dream perhaps, but then so was the iPod when it first came out.

        2. Arrrggghh-otron

          @AC

          I have looked at the new Win phone. It doesn't float my boat, nor do I feel like hanging any expectations on it improving to a point where I would recommend it. Perhaps in a few years I will look again, or sooner if Android goes off in a direction I don't like. These things happen.

          As for the OS, It matters to me and it clearly matters to some non-geeks too. Try explaining why market differentiation means the same OS doesn’t work the same way on a new device. If I was buying a new device which fit my needs and I could install any OS then the OS wouldn't matter.

          Nokia has been descending into anonymity for years and pinning their hopes of recovery on an OS aimed at consumers that comes saddled with years of baggage (whether you like it or not, it is true) doesn't sound like a smart move. I would hedge my bets at this point. Sure run Windows Phone but why not also run Android? There is clearly a market for it.

          Naive no, bored of seeing manufacturers hobble their own products and limit their markets maybe. There is more than one way of generating income, goolge doesn't sell Android (I know about the patent licensing issues but that is another issue). Perhaps I am just bored of the relentless consumerism but I would be genuinely pleased if a smart phone I chose was still current after the end of a two year contract.

          If the manufacturer doesn't want to support their own device after 12 months, there is a whole community willing to do it for them. Why not help them, and build some brand loyalty in the process?

    2. Jim Coleman
      Meh

      @ShelLuser: Actually the update policy hasn't changed at all. Right from the start, providers had the right to reject any update. But the deal was that they had to then push it out when the next update was made available. So all they can do is delay an update by one cycle. And as updates have been coming thick and fast (I've had about 5 in the last 15 months), that's not a problem. Don't believe everything you read on teh internetz.

      Plus, no provider has ever prevented any update up to now anyway. Compare and contrast with Android. Will all Android phones always get the next update? Yeah, right.

  4. Irongut

    Metro UI

    I'm not suprised the ridiculously huge font annoyed you, it was one of the things that put me off WP7 last time I changed my phone. That and the wonderful social networking tiles that every reviewer loves but I neither want or need.

    And now MS want to bring both to Windows. :(

  5. Tiny Iota
    WTF?

    3 and a bit

    Make sure the words actually fit onto the screen without disappearing off the edge

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Actually the text off the screen is designed to inform you that there is more than just what is on the screen. Spoken as a zune user who wondered the same.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Facepalm

        Yeah,

        we'd all want to read a book printed in the same fashion as well.

  6. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Missing the point

    It's not much use trying to run after an already full market. They should try and get the productivity market, the one where people don't care about Facebook integration, but things like integration with their business systems.

    A mobile device which simply "clicks" into any existing VPN infrastructure and allows you to access desktop applications would actually be something that businesses could use.

    1. Gary F

      That's what Win Mob 6.x was for

      That's probably why Windows Mobile 6.1 and 6.5 is still being used by some businesses. If Microsoft kept compatability for legacy software then maybe SMEs and large corporates could have retained or chosen the Windows platform. WM6.x had many business focused apps and integration with corporate networks, and 6.5 could have been the start of something that merges the old style GUI with modern expectations, but MS threw out the baby with the bath water IMHO.

      1. Ommerson
        FAIL

        Had they done this, WinPho would have sucked just as much as WM6. The gulf between the two is huge.

      2. Manu T

        @ Gary F

        indeed. Don't forget that at the release of Windows Phone. Microsoft declared that Windows Mobile was to be kept for business users. WP was clearly targetted at youth (facebook integration, xbox-games/live, zune music player etc...). This changed when they turned 180 degrees and killed off WM6.x and suddenly introduced e.g. exchange support into winpho amongst others.

        Microsoft has a bad reputation with the old geeks but again they don't target their products to these ppl anymore. They go after the young whom haven't got the same bad experience that we have with Microsoft.

        In fact in the 'old' days when you were pro-Symbian then you were against windows mobile and vice versa. And now these 2 clowns 'join forces'. How believable is that?

    2. kissingthecarpet

      Blindingly obvious

      MS apps are now firmly associated in the public mind with "Work" etc. anyway - I think they're wasting their time if they think they can poach a lot of Apple/Android customers. Surely they're no.1 when it comes to business integration, & business seems to trust them the most. Flawless RDP (over VPN or not) that just works, Office integration etc. - you think they'd be doing it better than anyone else.

  7. Philip Lewis
    Paris Hilton

    Here in Denmark

    Here in Copenhagen, Denmark, a country that really has a high cellphone penetration and a very high percentage of smartphones, the situation is this.

    You cannot ride public transport anywhere without seeing an add fro WP. It is in your face everywhere.

    I ride the commuter trains/metro daily. The most common phone appears to be the iPhone 4, but for every one of those there are probably 5 other assorted brands. I have been keeping a weather eye out for the new WP from Nokia - unsurprsingly given the "in your face" advertising.

    So far I have seen a couple of "brightly coloured phones", but they were in fact N9s - which is pretty amazing since the N9 was marketed here only briefly and cost a staggering amount (compared to prices in other markets. e.g. it was double the price in Copenhagen compared to the same phone in Bangkok - this is abnormal). I see a lot more N8s than you might imagine even exist by reading US centric tech journals.

    Actually, I have only seen one WP and it wasn't a Nokia (no clue what it was).

    So there you go ... casual empiricism at its finest

    philip

    Paris: ... because she is empirically casual

    1. CheesyTheClown
      Happy

      There's even more to it

      Problem #1 : Nokia doesn't support their phones

      This is a huge problem because when you buy a Samsung Galaxy or an iPhone 4S, you know that this phone will be the true love of the company who made it for months if not years after it's made. With Nokia, you can't even be sure anyone outside of marketing can remember it.

      Problem #2 : Nokia doesn't support their phones

      Everyone in Europe can tell you about how their first mobile phone was a Nokia 6000 something. It was simple and worked awesome. This was long before software updates or mobile Internet. But they don't have Nokia anymore because everything that came after felt like junk that was hacked together quickly.

      Problem #3 : Nokia doesn't support their phones

      At any given time, you can find dozens if not scores of latest and greatest Nokia models of phones. Even for a company the size of Nokia, there is no way in hell that many phones can actually be supported. And for every one phone you see, there are two that are being developed of which only one will ship. When you buy Nokia, you're buying a device and that's it. Buy a Galaxy or a iPhone and you're buying a device to access a full user experience and service.

      Hell, Nokia's been shipping Windows Phone for weeks and already they have more models out of Windows phones than Apple ever shipped of iPhone.

      Problem #4 : Nokia doesn't support their phones.

      Updates to the operating system will be targeted at a few specific models. There's no guarantee that you'll get an update to your phone later on with a phone where the manufacturer just doesn't care what you do with the phone after you buy it.

      If you don't believe me about these 4 major problems, watch Elop's presentation of Windows Phone and see how much he actually focuses on anything other than what it ships with.

  8. Don'tWantAHandle

    Don't change the layout of WP!

    I've been using Windows Phone 7 since Vodafone made the LG available over a year ago. Personally, I *love* the look and feel of WP, and that includes the use it makes of text AND SPACE.

    I don't mind that Rowi only displays three tweets on the screen. I don't mind scrolling to see more tweets. To me, if it is going to fit in more tweets, it would either have to use a smaller font (which my aging eyes would then struggle with) or make the layout look more cramped.

    Given my recent experience at trying to get WP taken up as a corporate handset, I think the main challenge lies in the fact that people don't even *look* at it. When 36 staff were offered smartphones, 30 of them opted straight for the iPhone without any hesitation. No questions at all - and I *know* that they don't really know about Windows Phone so it doesn't come down to things like the use of space. People either aren't aware of the platform or are just being sheep and following the trend.

    I think that Microsoft extending Metro to other platforms could well help WP, particularly if (as rumoured) Windows 8 will offer some interesting usability when coupled with WP8.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Welcome newboy

      First post - signed up specially ?

      1. Tiny Iota
        Holmes

        I would have thought...

        ...that most people do indeed sign up especially to post. I know I didn't sign up just for the heck of it, waiting for the right time to post in the future. You have to start somewhere.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          But just signed today

          to post a very pro comment

          1. dogged

            Unlikely to be astroturfing. He can spell.

          2. OffBeatMammal
            Windows

            new users....

            probably because he's tired of all the negative, anti-MS rants that happen here all the time. just because he's a newbie doesn't mean he has to be negative and cynical

            1. alexh2o
              Joke

              Careful there OffBeatMammal... you'll have all the Reg commentards downvoting you like mad for suggesting such things!

              Stick to the script - Android is the one true saviour of humanity, iOS is for fashionistas with no tech knowledge, Windows Phone is the worst thing since Hitler, and BlackBerry users might as well just be shot for support a "dead" platform!

              Oh sh*t... now I've gone and broken the rules too! Thumbs down o'clock!

            2. Jim in Hayward

              @OffBeatMammal - I have news for you. Microsoft has a legion of haters because they deserve it. For too many years they lead battles of FUD and phoney 'grass roots' campaigns to pump up their sales and reputation afters decades of deceit, thievery and their embrace, extend and extinguish policy. People don't forget. Microsoft is now running with this 'look, everyone hates us' campaign to try to get folks sympathetic about them. Apple survived all of the MS attacks. Netscape survives in the form of FireFox. Unfortunately there are dozens of other companies that did not manage to survive. Microsoft made their bed. Now they have to deal with the consequences. No one wants to hear anyone ra-ra-ra MS anymore. Get over it.

      2. Don'tWantAHandle

        No, didn't sign up specially. This was just the first article I ever actually felt inclined to comment on signed registering!

    2. GettinSadda

      Brilliant marketing point there: Windows Phone - for the old and half-blind!

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        @ GettinSadda

        >>>Brilliant marketing point there: Windows Phone - for the old and half-blind!

        Actually it is. Most populations in Western countries (and China) are ageing rapidly. So large print, high contrast might well be a good way to go.

        One of my main selection criteria on phones is readability, as I have a major eye problem. I can just barely read the address list, and texts on my Android phone, without digging out reading glasses. So it's only just useable, when I'm out and about (the purpose of a mobile). And I can't force white text on a black background in all apps, which I'd prefer to do to make it more readable for me, true for everyone in bright light.

        So perhaps WM7 should be the smartphone for old gits? They've got all the cash anyway, so as the boomers get old, companies are going to have to cater for their needs.

        I vote for GrumpyOS, as the new name.

        1. Weeble

          When I'm Sixty Four

          >> Brilliant marketing point there: Windows Phone - for the old and half-blind!

          Agreed, the problem is how to dress it up such that people can buy your products without being seen to admit that they're old-n-grey. This is Doro's problem.

          Ever since the 2-line-LCD display became old-fashioned, I've failed to find an affordable phone I can read - they all have such noisy graphics as backgrounds (with no mechanism to change them).

          > I vote for GrumpyOS, as the new name.

          Sorry, Disney's already got that one: Snow White and the dance of the seven mobile phones.

          1. Vic

            > This is Doro's problem.

            I think Doro has a number of problems.

            I've got a Doro IP phone. It (sometimes) connects to a WiFi network, and gives me a SIP line.

            Nice idea, right? Unfortunately, it's shit. The biggest problem being that the battery only lasts the one day even if you turn it off

            Putting crap products on the market will blight your outlook for a considerable time. Microsoft might like to remember that before releasing "early" versions of WinPho...

            Vic.

      2. Sean Timarco Baggaley

        That's not as mad as you think.

        The population of most Western nations is ageing. Designing a user interface my own mother can use without having to squint is therefore not a terrible idea. She has trouble using my iPhone and iPod touch, so I doubt she'd have any more success with an Android device either.

        A Windows Phone 7 device may well be a better choice for my parents and older relatives. (Yes, I'm the "good with computers" member of the family. As you can imagine, I get to do a lot of free IT support.) Most of them have Windows laptops, so they're not tied to the Apple ecosystem.

        I also agree with the earlier comments that Nokia need to look beyond the reference specs for WinPho 7 and start innovating on physical design; a clamshell "Nokia Communicator" model could sell very well in some vertical markets.

        But the main problem is that Microsoft need to nail the systems integration side and have the phone connect as seamlessly to computers running Microsoft's OS as iDevices do to Apple kit. I've seen too many reports of issues in this area to be willing to recommend a WinPho7 unit yet, despite being a fan of its GUI. (Yes, you read that correctly: an Apple user praising a Microsoft GUI.) It needs refinement, but it has a lot of potential.

        1. Jim in Hayward

          @Sean Timarco Baggaley - LOL. No, they are just tied to the Microsoft ecosystem. sheesh.

    3. fiddley
      Happy

      agreed! DO NOT TOUCH THE INTERFACE. It's beautiful and classy, something you can't say about the other other two. Nerds never seem to get this, I certainly don't want IN YOUR FACE information overload otherwise I'd still have an android. I don't think any major changes are required, just a few siri-like gimmicks to show off, a couple of beautiful clean hardware designs like Apple churn out, and, crucially, a bit of mindshare. I suspect WP7 is a slow burner but will mushroom at some point. It's too good not to.

  9. Semaj
    Facepalm

    Awful Brand

    The problem is that people hate Windows Phones. It doesn't matter how good they make the phone, people hate the brand for it's past.

    They should have totally ditched the Windows Phone brand and called them Metro phones instead, not even including the Windows logo.

    Otherwise yeah, all good points in the article, especially the comparison to XBox.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      I agree with you about the PocketPC based platform, that was pretty awful although I did stick with it for about 10 months or so.

      The non-touch version was actually pretty good, if a little clunky. But that was back when people wanted candybar phones you could easily stick in a pocket, not the coffee cup coasters people want now.

    2. Brian Morrison
      FAIL

      Ditch Windows brand? Naaaah.....

      ....because Ballmer is in charge at Micros~1 and he was the person that created the Windows brand because it was generic and covered any and all windowed UIs.

      He can't get rid of the only thing he's ever done!

      1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

        Weirdly, the one thing WinPho7 lacks is...

        ... windows! It's all "tiles".

        So there is some logic in suggesting a different branding. Especially if Microsoft are planning to apply a very similar UI to their desktop OS.

        On the other hand, "Microsoft Metro" is a bit of a mouthful.

        1. Jim in Hayward

          I do believe the Metro brand is used and owned by another cell phone provider (MetroPCS).

        2. rpjs
          Coat

          Perhaps

          Instead of "tiles", they should have called then "panes"

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Except the idea that the Xbox is a 'success'.

      Its losses run into the billions. It'd have bankrupted any company without a bottomless pit of cash.

      1. OffBeatMammal

        wow, the AC trolls are out

        you obviously like living in the past. Xbox has been profitable for some years now - http://www.quora.com/Is-Xbox-profitable-for-Microsoft - like any major hardware/software launch it takes a while to recoup the R&D costs and deal with things like the RROD recall but they stuck with it and continue to enhance and add things like Kinect.

        1. Jim in Hayward

          Not actually. They still have not recovered the 5+ billion investment in the product. XBox survives because Microsoft is an unethical monopoly and is able to keep the cash pumping long enough for it to at least break even. Some success!

        2. Jim in Hayward

          But I will give you Kinect. That has saved the XBox from total failure.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          No it isn't.

          Get your facts right. Xbox *360* is profitable. Xbox as a whole is swimming in bottomless, unrecoverable debt.

          And Quora is no more reliable a source than Wikipedia.

  10. EddieD

    You missed one

    Get them into stock in the shops.

    In large quantities.

    Every time I go into 02, CarphoneWarehouse, Phones4U is see racks of seemingly identical iPhones, Samsungs, HTCs, a few odds and sods of LG SE etc, but no Lumia Phones.

    "No demand mate" was the comment in the 02 shop on Princes Street.

  11. tapanit
    Linux

    Doctorow and PS

    Hey - I read Cory Doctorow's novels and occasionally even Postscript source, but Windows phones I won't touch with a ten-foot pole if I can help it!

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
      Happy

      I've read Cory Doctorow (Little Brother a modern classic and Makers meh) and owned WinMob phones.

      I wouldnt touch Postscript source with yours.

      1. David Hicks
        Devil

        Little Brother a modern classic?

        It read like he was having one off the wrist under the table while he was writing it, so excited did he seem about the possibility of an oppressive future, and a young protagonist all set up to resist it heroically. Entirely one dimensional IMHO.

        I owned a Win phone in the days of the Orange SPV. I still have the scars.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes , I've scanned Postscript too!!

      I did buy a WinP7 hTc Mozart cos it was dirt cheap, and it's still working after 6 months - which is more than a cheap samsmug android I got at the same time.. my hTc is now at Win7 Mango 07.10.8107.79 whatever that means. Look, Win7 is an entirely average phone at around half the price of an iPhone 3GS - should you actually try looking widely enough, (I noticed that even Lumia 710s are down to £230 in Italy yesterday)

      The line in Andrews piece about WinP7 'lacking removable storage card support' is actually a strength! I was an early Nexus One adopter and that particularly nice handset used to f**k with my microSDcards to such an extent - lost 1 x 16GB data & 2 x 4GB's to unrecoverable errors that needed a week on a linux box to try and recover (most) of the data, per event! Thanks Google!

      I swore for my next update that soldered memory is preferable to a mem that might not be there when you need it! - so WinP7 won. Duuno what I'll get next time!

      1. David Hicks
        WTF?

        Erm

        Surely the memory card is extra storage, and you have the basic amount either way? So a card reader/slot is always an extra benefit?

        Removable storage does come in handy in various ways...

        Sounds like that handset sucked though if it kept eating cards.

      2. david bates

        I've got an Nexus One as well...

        Never had ANY trouble with either of the SD cards I've had in it (I upgraded to a bigger one), either using the stock ROM or one of Cyanogens.

        What on earth were you doing to the poor thing?

      3. Jim in Hayward

        You are obviously going to the wrong telco. iPhone3GS is FREE with contract in the USA.

        1. dogged

          "FREE with contract "

          oxymoron.

          1. Heathroi
            Stop

            better than not free.

      4. David Barrett

        "I swore for my next update that soldered memory is preferable to a mem that might not be there when you need it! - so WinP7 won. Duuno what I'll get next time!"

        Hmm, then the Mozart must have been a tough choice given that its bundled memory is provided by an 8GB MicroSD card. Its a fu*ker to change (requires a void waranty and a torx) but at the end of the day its just a concealed SD card held in with a piece of tape.

        I believe the mozart can handle upto 32GB but its a bit picky about what it wants shoved in it.

      5. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Logic?

        The phone I had last had a wonky 7 key. Half the time it didn't work, the rest I got 4 or 5 of them.

        So by your logic I should look for a phone without a 7.

        While that would make sure I don't have any problems with 7s, I don't think that would be a better phone.

  12. Speeder
    Meh

    One thing about the UI

    It seems to me that your missing the point about the UI.

    I like it better than Android or iOS because the home screen gives you the most applications in a nice overview. That makes a lot of difference. Another thing is you can put more than eight on the home screen, you only have to scroll up or down without switching to a different screen.

    But the other points are things to think about for them i think.

    1. Paul Shirley

      Help me out here: what is it about scrolling vertically to expose more links that's so much better than scrolling horizontally to expose more links?

      Also: please explain the difference between a 'live tile' and a widget? Other than the name and that widgets don't have to look like 'tiles'?

      Perhaps you could also solve my confusion over why using 1/8th of the screen to show my SMS/Email/Missed call count is better than showing it in the notification line beside the signal strength, volume and connection indicators - using no extra screen space?

      In many ways WP7 is different simply to distinguish itself from the competition rather than any functional justification with an added dose of lawsuit avoidance. The WP7 UI is certainly different, distinctive, even memorable. But none of those terms are the same as being 'better'.

      1. fiddley
        Thumb Up

        The interface is blazingly efficient though - you can get to any app in four moves:

        Starting at Homescreen

        More -> 'A' -> 'First letter of app's name' -> Possible Swoosh (If it's not already displayed)

        Thats ANY app. You can get to a max of 261 apps (I think) in 3 moves cos you won't need the swoosh. Nearly the same with contacts, but you sometimes need two swooshes...

        iPhone in three moves is, I think, 68 possible apps - I stand ready to be corrected on that! Android is similar.

        1. Paul Shirley

          "The interface is blazingly efficient though - you can get to any app in four moves:"

          The Android contacts chooser also does it that way, although its even quicker to just start typing the name and let search do the job without starting the contacts app!

          Nice, *if* the task is finding any random app, especially compared to scrolling through 10 pages/156 apps in my Android app draw.

          ...but not optimal because that's not how people use devices. Right now my 9 most used functions have 1 click links, the next 22 are in folders 2 clicks away and searching through the whole app list is a rare event. I still have widgets and unused space on that single screen. If use changes I'll rearrange things to a more efficient mix.

          Efficiency needs to be aimed at the right part of the UI to make a difference.

      2. Speeder
        Black Helicopters

        Well can't help you with the difference between a live tile and a widget.

        But i hope you have noticed that the bar with the signal strength, connection indicators is hidden most of the time in WP7. So it would be logically then to show the number of messages, missed calls in "widget" in stead?

        To distinguish itself is the whole idea behind competition isn't it? If everything looked the same there wouldn't be much to choose. Just be happy there is difference between the competition ;) Otherwise we would have nothing to argue about.

        1. Vic

          > Well can't help you with the difference between a live tile and a widget.

          Please do. I can't see any significant differences...

          Vic.

    2. Manu T

      @ Speeder

      Funny, i used to say the same of Windows Mobile 6.x ;-)

      I also used to say this about Symbian Anna vs Belle.

      One example: On Anna you could get 6 email-account-widgets on 1 screens showing the first new email on each.

      On Belle you can only have 2 email-widgets on a homescreen but these are huge and scrollable so that you can easily read your entire mailbox from the homescreen (which isn't bad either).

      I guess evolution and changes happen always. Some things appear bad at the beginnen but later turn out not so bad at all. Perhaps Winpho is such a thing.

      The problem is that as far brand-awareness is concerned. A Nokia phone running a Microsoft OS is impossible, unnatural or simply wrong. A HTC or Samsung phone sure. Those whores sleep with everyone and make/made handsets with every OS just to dumb their shit on the market without any regard for customers' satisfaction (particularly Samsung).

      From Nokia, I expect something else and that is not a Lumia.

    3. M Gale

      The UI

      Launcher 7 is an Android Market download away, if you want the tiled look. It'll even fit the wider widgets on 2x1 tiles for you and has an application list that is easier to navigate than the Android default due to having the very basic addition of alphabetical tabs. There's a free (ad supported?) and a "donate" version, which if I remember right off-hand I paid 62p for.

      I have to say it lays dormant except for the occasional "I can make it look like a Windows Phone" brag though. Those "tiles" are basically massive icons, you can't fit much on a screen and the swishy graphical touches and web page preview tiles don't mitigate the fact that I find the stock-like ADW Launcher just easier to deal with.

      Still, if tiles are your bag, Android has 'em.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A title is requi

    The Metro interface is designed to l

    good in screenshots but is not so g

    you don't like swiping over to read t

    that is truncated by the edge of the

    screen

    1. Peter 48
      Pint

      I see what you did there - very clever :)

    2. dogged

      These always make me laugh

      I have an HD7.

      The only lines that ever get truncated are app (baked in as well as downloaded) titles and since you already selected the app, that's basically chrome anyway.

      I mean sure, lolzers, you're a funny guy but you clearly never actually used it.

      1. dogged

        Six thumbs down for telling the truth?

        Ouch.

  14. CaptainHook

    Not a huge puzzle IMHO

    "This discrepancy puzzles people. Reviewers like WinPho a lot - it's clean, fast, functional and forward-looking."

    The problem is the Microsoft bit of the branding.

    People who buy smartphones; at least in the recent past, it's becoming far more mainstream; grew up watching MS use every dirty trick in the book to maintain a monopoly in Server, Desktop and Office Software and as a result charge them, or their businesses, ridiculous amounts of money for what was being provided.

    Breaking file formats, crappy security, extortionate prices and just not 'playing fair' in with MS competition or it's customers. It always felt like an abusive relationship. We had to put up with it, because they were the only game in town.

    As the mobile device becomes more important, MS has found it's not needed any more and is trying to buy its way in using a combination of a huge war chest and it's Windows branding, but they don't seem to understand that it's branding is at best not a selling point, and at worst a negative selling point.

    Had I been responsible for selling Nokia handsets, I would have done everything I could to minimize the MS side of things. Certainly not had an OS related to Windows in name or style.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      "Reviewers like WinPho a lot - it's clean, fast, functional and forward-looking."

      And free. Don't forget free.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Breaking file formats, crappy security, extortionate prices and just not 'playing fair' in with MS competition or it's customers.

      ...which is why everyone loves Apple phones instead?

      Uh-huh.

      1. Jim in Hayward

        which is why everyone loves Apple phones instead?

        Yep! 120,000,000 sales can't be wrong. Deal with it!

    3. Magnus Ramage

      @CaptainHook: I agree that the MS branding is problematic, but I'd put it differently. I don't think most non-techies care much about the abusive relationship thing (though it's true enough), but what I think is a real issue is that Microsoft = Corporate. Windows, Office and the rest are the stuff the suits sell. We all use it (well most of us), some of us even manage to cope with it, but few people get excited by it. They've turned into the company that sells dull corporate stuff. Now if Nokia wanted to sell Lumias to suits, PHBs, or grey people in large corporate IT departments, that would be fine. But if they're consumer-facing (which has been Nokia's main market in the past), it's a problem.

      1. Goat Jam
        Holmes

        Consumer Facing? Nokia?

        Nokia have never been consumer facing.

        Their customers have always been the telco providers.

        Nokia designed their phones to tick the checkbox requirements of the telco's who then pushed the phones at hapless, captive consumers who for many years had a choice between functional but less than spectacular feature phones from Nokia or Sony Ericsson or clumsy Windows Mobile or CE based "smartphones" that were designed to please corporate IT people but not actual human beings.

        Apple were the first manufacturer to put the end user in the driving seat and that was a game changing move that wrong footed every other phone maker, none of whom had ever considered that people were their customers at all.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Is that why the customer could choose any teleco they wanted...

          ... as long as it was the one Apple wanted them to have?

          What was that about hapless and captive?

          1. Goat Jam

            Not everyone lives in the U.S. of A. Dan.

            When the iphone launched in the rest of the world people had a choice of which carrier to go with and you could even buy them unlocked.

            From Day 1

            HTH

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge
              FAIL

              See icon

              And also as I can't be bothered to type it out, see Wikipedia...

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_iPhone#European_release

              Thank you.

  15. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Too late to market, too slow to catch up is my summary. If Microsoft had released the new OS around the time Android appeared it might have stood a chance. But it comes a bit too late, once people have paid for apps they don't really feel like throwing it all away to try another platform (and get locked into a lengthy contract in many cases).

    1. Peter 48

      disagree

      in the tech market there is no such thing as too late if you have the right product, and the balls to back it. Sure apps to increase the risk of lock-in but there is no reason why you couldn't offer a system that allows for migration for example (at least from android). Give incentives to Devs to offer transferable licenses for example or promote discounts to transfer your app library. There are plenty of ways to lure people to the Redmond side (this btw applies to google and apple as well)

  16. Simbu
    Mushroom

    It should succeed

    Even if you don't like WP7, you should be encouraging its success. The market needs the competition. iOS is still out of the price range of the majority of consumers. That means your choice will default to Android if you want a smartphone. Blackberry is going to die, and then Android (as good as it is) will own all of the smartphone market where users can't afford or don't want iOS.

    It's not about if you like WP7 or not (and it IS a nice OS), it's about encouraging its success because a competitor to Android is good for everyone.

    1. flying_walrus
      WTF?

      Out of the price range?

      The 3GS is free, ffs. Who's price range is that out of?

      1. Brian Morrison
        Thumb Down

        I think that was meant was....

        ....most people don't want to surrender their soul.

        1. Dana W
          Happy

          Exactly.

          You are right, I DON'T want to surrender my soul. That's why I buy nothing that has anything to do with Microsoft.

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        The 3GS isn't free

        The 3GS costs £300 SIM free from Apple. There are unlikely to be any discounts around. That's bloody expensive for a phone that's now 2 1/2 years old.

        Similarly specc'ed Android handsets can be had for about £150-£200.

        If you mean 'free on contract', then that means even more expensive. Neither the phone, or the bundled minutes in a contract are free. You have to pay monthly to get them, after all...

        The phones have a very large mark-up, compared with getting a SIM free one, and a separate package.

        I recently checked the pricing for a friend. He would be paying £800 for an iPhone4S on a 2 year contract, as opposed to £500 SIM free from Apple, and the same minutes from the same company.

      3. Peter 48

        contract dependant

        The cheapest iphone 3GS contract where the phone is free is still £15 a month, for which you can get a dozen android phones that compare very favourably to the 3GS (Galaxy Ace, Desire S or xperia mini). On PAYG it still costs £300 and that is where android shoots ahead, as the galaxy Ace can be had for as little as £120. This is what people mean when they say cheaper.

        1. Jim in Hayward

          Silly Brits. Move to America! ~LOL~ JK. Don't know anything about your telco situation. Here is USA it does work out as cheap for a 3GS. Cheaper than any Android available (you can get several Andriod smartphones for around 40 bucks with contract).

          1. Manu T

            Free as in 55 bucks a month for 2 years?

            That doesn't sound free at all. It sounds more like prisoner of AT&T for the next 2 years.

            North Americans have a really strange sense of freedom. Perhaps you shouldn't use that word so much. At least some ppl in Europe realize that nothing is free. And that the 'freedom' we have is very restrictive with all the political hypocrisy, impenetrable jungle of rules & laws and economic slavery.

            In fact if WE come protesting in the streets for whatever reason, the cops are also awaiting to beat the crap out of us. Just as everywhere else.

    2. Chemist

      "The market needs the competition."

      Just like the desktop ?

    3. Jim in Hayward

      I disagree that iPhone is out of the price range of most consumers. You mean FREE is not cheap enough? iPhone 3GS is FREE! And the price of the iPhone 4S with Siri and 32MB SSD ram is $299 US. That is actually cheaper than many Andriod smartphones.

      Please get over the 'Apple is expensive' mantra. That is soooo 1999!

      1. Manu T

        "I disagree that iPhone is out of the price range of most consumers. You mean FREE is not cheap enough? iPhone 3GS is FREE! And the price of the iPhone 4S with Siri and 32MB SSD ram is $299 US. That is actually cheaper than many Andriod smartphones.

        Please get over the 'Apple is expensive' mantra. That is soooo 1999!"

        You probably forget to read to light grey text on that white background at the bottom on Apple US-website 3GS page. It clearly statesfor the $0-option:

        1)Requires new two-year wireless service contract; sold separately to qualified customers.

        - the page with contract say: e.g. AT&T From $54.99 to $134.99. So the cheapest 450min/talk and 300MB/month plan cost: $54.99 x 24 months = $1319,76.

        And unlocked it says: Black 8GB1 Unlocked $375.00

        I find $375 a strange notion of FREE

        So please stop this 'it's totally FREE' bullshit. The only thing really free is the sun coming up every morning!

  17. Chris Miller

    It's a business device, stupid

    Fixed that subhead for you.

    Where do MS retain an overwhelming presence? Inside the organisation. What they are doing is to build a smartphone that will integrate seamlessly with Office, Exchange, Sharepoint, Onenote, Active Directory, etc. The pitch to business will be that here's a device that can actually deliver an RoI. Watch this space and see if I'm right.

    1. Steve Knox
      Thumb Down

      WP7 is NOT a business OS

      One of the first things they sacrificed to get it out on time is on-device encryption. It still doesn't have it. It's useless for actual business work without it.

    2. Chris Miller

      Wp8 will include BitLocker (allegedly).

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        That's nice Chris.

        Nokia need to ship phones now though, and not sometime next year.

        I can't recommend a phone based on what some marketing dept says the next version might probably have.

        When getting a phone, you will be locked into whatever hardware is shipped for 18 months to two years, and as there is no certainty of updates on anything, it had better do everything you actually need to begin with.

        As shiny Apple and Android phones are already being used by our own sales and marketing people, and those same people remember Windows Mobile, the question has already been answered.

        Maybe in two years, except by then there will probably be some killer app on our existing phones that we can't do without.

        Rather like the Windows lockin on the desktop.

  18. Peter 48

    By far the biggest element they are missing is decent marketing - get the damn phones into stores, displays, promote them on TV and radio, in news papers & magazines. Get them into movies and TV shows etc etc. Everything else is little more than finetuning. Look at apple, their fist attempt at iOS was severely limited, being little more than an app launching platform, but the combination of embracing apps and marketing the hell out of it followed by continuous refinement with each generation has put apple on the course to being top dog today. MS need to learn from this and start spreading the word and the gospel if they ever want to compete against the church of Job or the android collective.

    Personally I would have to see the following before I ever contemplate switching

    1. add support for microSD cards

    2. Either get bing maps up to google maps standards or bring in more devs to develop some decent navigation apps for WP7

    3. add support for higher screen res and bring in dual core support. In fact start relaxing the hardware spec control a little to allow for some more variety.

    1. dogged

      Maps

      I think Nokia have that one covered.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > 1. add support for microSD cards

      WinCE/WP7 seems not to support adding a card while running, nor will sync data for removal. The result is that cards will not be noticed and/or corrupted. It may be that it is essential to shut down and restart to swap cards.

      Also CDs and USBs would (in the past) infect desktop machines with malware merely by being inserted. MS wanted to avoid this (especially where 'malware' is defined as anything not purchased from MS).

      > 2. Either get bing maps up to google maps standards

      The Nokia deal was supposed to get Nokia's mapping and navigation software for Bing and WP7.

      > 3. add support for higher screen res and bring in dual core

      WinCE/WP7 is fixed to 480x320 or 800x480 _only_. Adding more pixels will break most of the software.

      WP7 does not multitask effectively, it approximates MS-DOS's TSRs, with limitations. Dual core would just waste one core.

      WP8 should fix these issues, next year perhaps. Meanwhile anything WP7 that you might buy now will be obsolete because it is unlikely to run WP8. MS broke the WM6.x compatibility with WP7 and may well do so again with WP8. They should supply little coffins with every WP7 phone sold.

      1. Jim in Hayward

        You know...for a company famous for backwards compatibility Microsoft is REALLY messing up on this one. Apple ditched backwards compatible from OS X and OS 9+ and before but that was IT! Everything iPhone works with all apps because they push the iOS to all phones, all vintages (except the first gen, I think. But do any iPhone 1.0's still exist?).

        Microsoft - a company doomed by their past misbehavior.

    3. Jim in Hayward

      @Peter 48 - I am perfectly happy with WP7-8 now. It will lose. And it should. Microsoft made their bed years ago and now have to sleep in it....and never wake up!

    4. Jim in Hayward

      Here in California I see several WP7 ads. None of them work though. I think it may be time to call their actors from the Windows 7 commercials.

      ~LOL~

    5. Manu T

      @ Peter 48

      Totally disagree on that

      1) Yes, Okay. Also add call recording :-), full multitasking, full bluetooth transfers (read: NFC) and please make the bloody devices able to connect to a hidden SSID!

      2) There's Nokia Maps. Who needs stupid Bing (even the name sounds ridiculous). Google Maps sucks because it's a plot to sell data-plans! Only the Android version allows for a limited amount of offline-mapping data on the phone. Which means either buying a third party nav-app (Hey TomTom where are you when Microsoft needs you) or buy a Nokia device with Nokia Maps (propably the only reason to actually buy a Nokia WP7 device in the first place). Unless some smart hacker releases a Nokia Maps hack that can run on all WP7-handsets because it really is just an app, right.

      3) Are you nuts!?! Higher resolution on 3.5/3.7 screen. 800x480 is really sufficient for that kinda screen. Microsoft should NOT relax HW-specs at all. It's a testament to Apple that software updates goes much smoother across its limited range because of these tightly controlled HW-specs. In fact, M$ had a BAD reputation from being a bit too loose in the past. So they shouldn't make that mistake again.

  19. dogged

    To make this pig fly..

    you need to vary the form factors. And, dare I say it, lose the Holy Jobsian dedication to the touchscreen as the single form of input.

    A smartphone is best outside of office environments. In an office, you have a better option available for everything a smartphone can do, with the single exception of texting and phone calls and for calls, a landline has far less reception issues.

    This means the optimum smartphone buyer is actually not the office bound IT wonk (95% android) or Starbucks-dwelling hipster (100% iOS). It's people who work for a living.

    A builder wants at the very minimum a hardware "answer call" button so that he doesn't have to get his cement covered thumb on the touchscreen. The lack of one is a hideous oversight. Ideally he wants a clamshell phone which protects the screen.

    He'd like big buttons because he is not a girl (usually) with tiny fingers and therefore T9/predictive and numeric buttons are optimum. If he could flip a slider and manage all the touchscreen magic from the keypad, he'd probably be delighted. He is outdoors so the screen must be matt. He wants bluetooth because he doesn't want a fine for answering calls in his van.

    He'd probably like big or replaceable storage for music but I doubt he's ever going to be using this as a portable video player. He needs email and CAD-produced images delivered promptly and he'd like to be able to return his comments.

    Basically, the current crop of smartphones are toys. Expensive toys but still toys. This market is underdeveloped until phones that do work environments start appearing. When that happens, whichever OS can handle it will be the one that takes the spoils.

    As of right now, that's none of them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How many sugars do you want in _your_ tea?

    2. geekclick

      RE: To make this pig fly..

      He would also like it to be drop proof and have a battery that lasts more than a day with heavy use from taking calls for quotes, Jewsons, finding out where the lacky is with his bacon sarnie etc.

      Serious gap in the market for a decent "tough" builder friendly phone....

      1. dogged

        I'd kill for a bacon sarnie right now.

        You're right about drop-proof but "clamshell" always used to cover most of that. My old Moto RAZR V3 took one hell of a bashing but is still a serviceable backup phone when required. And yes yes yes on the battery life thing. The sad part being, that's really where Nokia could make a huge difference.

        To the other poster - just one. But three in my coffee, please.

    3. Paul Shirley

      current crop of smartphones are toys

      ...just remember the public love their toys ;)

      Got to agree on the form factor, Microsoft painted themselves into a corner here. After investing so much effort in talking up Android fragmentation as a problem, fragmenting their own platform to widen appeal is likely to be resisted far too long.

      Even simple things like adding a landscape mode hard keyboard requires forward planning to ensure the UI still works. Android built that in from the start and still has problems - sufficient that landscape is no longer supported in most launchers unless forced. How WP7s vertical interface could be made to work in landscape is a puzzle.

      Similar argument for vertical Blackberry style form factors. The vertical UI collides with landscape screen again.

      Whether you like the grid of icons approach or not, it's inherently flexible enough for different screens, with no inherent preference for orientation or resolution

      WP7 seem to have too many implicit assumptions to be easily diversified onto other form factors.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > How WP7s vertical interface could be made to work in landscape is a puzzle.

        Just add ribbons.

      2. Manu T

        @ Paul Shirley

        Gee, mr. Shirley, perhaps you really ought to look better at Symbien (Belle) then. I use my 701/C7 mostly in landscape mode. It works great. No problems in that OS.

  20. John70

    What's in a name?

    Maybe Microsoft would have better success by dropping the name Windows from Windows Phone 7.

    When people see the name Windows they think bloat, viruses, etc.

    May be call it Metro OS and the handset mPhone. Wonder if Apple will get upset with that.

    1. dogged

      Disagree

      When MOST buyers see "Microsoft" they don't think about it at all. If you were right, there would be no XBox and lo! There seems to be an XBox market doing very nicely thank you.

      Your argument applies only to a proportion of nerds. That proportion is _currently_ the segment of the population buying smartphones (along with Apple cultists) but it is the tiniest fragment of the actual potential market.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Eh?

        Xbox is actually a pretty tremendous example of Microsoft doing exactly what the original poster was suggesting they do with this.

        They've managed to create a well known brand "Xbox" which stands on its own without any preconceptions or baggage left over from other products - you won't see the word Microsoft anywhere on the packaging for an Xbox apart from in the small print.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        What Tony said.

        In fact, they only started putting 'Microsoft' on the TV ads a couple of years ago.

      3. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Windows, not Microsoft

        People in the street talk about 'Windows', and even 'Windows Office'

        The Microsoft brand isn't big outside of people who work close to IT.

        The Xbox doesn't say Windows anywhere. Xbox is the brand, and it is doing quite well.

  21. Gil Grissum
    Pint

    I've been watching the platform since launch and definitely like what I see, but when it came time for me to do my annual upgrade with Sprint, there were no Windows Phone's available. NONE. There was the Galaxy S II (Android) and the iPhone 4S. Having had bad experiences with Gingerbread upgrade on an EVO 4G, I opted for an iPhone 4S because I needed a phone I could live with for two years and not have phone envie one year into the contract (like other Telcos, Sprint no longer offers annual phone upgrades). Where's the WIndows Phone ad campaign? Android and iPhone have theirs. If there's no advertising, no one is going to know the thing exists. T-Mobile now has a Windows Phone ad campaign but do any of the other Telcos have any Windows Phones?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows Branding

    Interesting that a number of posts have questioned the value of using the Windows branding; maybe Microsoft should have gone the Xbox route and called it "Xphone"?

    A good article though; and, like some other posts, I think that Microsoft should capitalise on their server integration with products like Exchange and SharePoint to attack the corporate market. I think it's too late to go for the consumer segment; that belongs to Apple and Google.

    1. Heathroi

      or zunephone

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...The smartphone market is one driven by a desire for unique and distinctive devices"

    NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!

    If it were true, there would not be any army of iClones out there! They can't all be unique and distinctive devices.

    The market is driven by sad people who believe that owning an iPhone makes them special. That "hey look I'm cool cause i've got an iPhone too" crowd.

    Have you not worked that out yet?

  24. The Original Steve

    Take issue with a couple of points

    Ignoring your one (non-native) example I've found Metro to be delightful. Andrew - can I suggest using the native / integrated twitter client on the people tile?

    The WP start screen has 8 tiles, then a further 8 as you flick down. Rinse and repeat.

    The tiles are essentially widgets - and I don't recall ever having more than 8 per home screen on my HTC Desire. As you can have whatever you want I disagree with your comparison against other platforms.

    Retail placement is Nokia, not the platform developers issue to resolve.

    Regarding the spec being loosened I'm of the understanding that MS are working on this with the Tango and Apollo builds out this year. Dual core support, higher resolution, NFC and other features.

    Whilst it has its issues I'm happier with my 3 month old Lumia 800 than i was my Desire. Loved playing with new ROMS and nothing beats Android for customization - but a reliable, solid device that requires no task manager, doesn't need me to "manage" my storage or other fluff - well I'd take a WP7 over Android or iOS as it stands right now.

    1. Jim Coleman
      Meh

      Watch out - with positive words like that for WinPhone, it's only a matter of time before someone on here accuses you of working for Microsoft. Happened to me.

  25. M E H
    Gimp

    Nokiaholics Anonymous

    Having had numerous Nokias, until their buggy software pissed me off in the late naughties, I really want Nokia to succeed.

    What is puttting me off is the version number: WP 7.5. I think I'll wait until WP 8 thank you very much.

    What I'd like to see is Nokia to have a lot more influence into the next version so they can bring their experience of hardware management (especially battery life) and the UI to WP8.

    I just don't know if Microsoft can get a way from the desktop mentality of expecting the hardware to keep up with the software bloat instead of writing to meet the limitations of screensize and battery life.

    Gimp because I don't want to admit to wanting a Microsoft/Nokia on El Reg.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "What is puttting me off is the version number"

      That's rational.

    2. Manu T

      @ Nokiaholics Anonymous

      "What I'd like to see is Nokia to have a lot more influence into the next version ..."

      If you want that you should get a Nokia N9 or a N8/C7/700/701 or other S^3 device. Nokia can only bring apps (especially their navigation app is of importance to M$.) to the platform.

      "..if Microsoft can get a way from the desktop mentality.."

      have you forgotten IE4? That product WAS better than Netscape at that time. The way M$ kills competition is by introducing indeed a BETTER product for free (undercutting margins of any competetion) and then when all competetion is gone they have a tripple-strategy 1) creating incrementally worse products and 2) hypocritically breaking standards (that made their product the better product) while even attending standard creating-organisations and 3) even enforcing your own non-standards. This goes on until eventually competition/resistance re-suffices again. Then it all starts over.

      Nokia sleeping with M$ is a very bad idea especially for Nokia! The way that mole Elop has paved the way by prematurely burning both Meego and Symbian is testament to that.

  26. Shady
    FAIL

    Meh...

    The Apple fanbois will only ever go for the iphone. The deluded, self-loving media types will only ever go for the iphone even if they aren't fanbois, so Windowsphone has to steal most of it's market share from Android, which boils down to HTC and Samsung.

    Assuming you have no problem with windows or Microsoft (I do not) Here is the problem for windows phone - customer looks at an HTC advert or screengrab and thinks "I WANT to use that, it looks great". They then look at an S2 and think "that looks awesome - lots of icons and apps that DO something - I don't know what, but I'll enjoy finding out", then look at windows phone and think "Look how bland that looks - what does it actually do?", and the punter is NOT inquisitive enough to find out.

    Me? I don't do facebook or twitter, I'm an old fart, so I look at windows phone, take away the facebook and twitter updates and I'm left with... a dumb phone.

    1. Dana W
      Meh

      Twaddle.

      Shady@ The Apple fanbois will only ever go for the iphone.

      I'm a big Apple booster, and I seriously looked at Android this time. The only thing that kept me away was lack of a direct iCal synch. I didn't feel like paying an extra $50 for the Missing synch, and I have no desire to leave it to Google. They have far too much of my personal information as it is without giving them my friends list as well.

      When Android can give me iCal, and address book synch I'm more than willing to give it a go.

      1. Shady
        Megaphone

        Obviously

        Can't speak for EVERY fanboi / none fanboi. I was making a generalisation, which I'm still convinced holds true for the vast majority of iphone users. I'n my own circle of friends / contractors (about 15) we are split roughly 50/50 between Android and Apple, with one windows phone user. The windows phone user wanted to take a risk, to be different - he's ready to ditch his phone because he just doesn't use it - although it is more user friendly it lacks enough eye candy to make him WANT to use it - consequently he uses less than his old HTC Desire. The Apple guys will stay with Apple until their iPhones are wrenched from their cold, dead hands, and the Androids are all in a "see how the mood takes me" when it comes to upgrade time. As for myself, I've got an HTC Desire S, my first foray in to the smart phone world and I'm a little disappointed. When my contract is up I will give the iPhone a go, but I will consider the Windows phone IF I can be convinced of it's merits - I already have an iPod touch and don't mind carrying two devices with me.

  27. tiggertaebo

    One tiny thing and I'll buy

    All I want is for Nokia to put one of their excellent N97/E7 style keyboards on a WP7 device and the cheque is in the post. It's not like it would be difficult!

    1. Manu T

      @ tiggertaebo

      "It's not like it would be difficult!"

      Yes it would. Because in its current state WP7.5 doesn't work in Landscape (very well) . Then you would complain and make sneer remarks of it in El Reg.

      So until it works as good as it does on that E7 (and on Symbian landscape works very well) it's a definite no-go.

      And right now, both Nokia and Microsoft can't afford to make many cock-ups!

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cheaper devices needed!

    This is what Android has as an advantage.

    Legacy 1GHz processors are cheap as chips these days.

    Get some more "budget" devices out there and you'll get more interest.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    One Killer Problem of WinPhone

    In my opinion as a software developer one of the biggest obstacles will be MS's policy of not providing a native API (C, C++, Pascal, Ada or the like) to developers. MS is deluding itself into thinking that ".Net is the future of all programming" and that is simply not true.

    Despite all the propaganda from the Java and .Net camps, the old-style statically compiled&linked languages such as C and C++ lead in terms of performance and power efficiency *by a factor of 3 to 10*. So if a developer wants to bring a sophisticated game, image recognition or audio processing algorithm to the Winphones, he simply cannot.

    Android, Bada and iPhone allow for native code, which means the most sophisticated apps can be done on these platforms.

    That all might sound like an arcan techie problem, but applications are *the* defining aspect of modern smartphones, so it does actually matter in the end.

    Picture of a burning Winphone, overheated by .Net code.

    1. Jim Coleman

      Native coding will come with WP8 I think as that is when they switch the kernel from CE to NT. Once they've done that, there's no further need to block native code.

      1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

        Hope so...

        I spent the worst year of my career maintaining a ball of .NET C#. I never thought there could be something as soul-destroying as debugging Java's delegated clusterfucks, but MS showed me differnt... never again.

        I'd really like to see Nokia lean on Microsoft to get Windows Phone to support Qt. If WP8 does lift the ban on unmanaged runtimes (and MS have claimed this), then Qt could be on its way anyway, but a bit of corporate leverage wouldn't hurt.

        Incidentally, while I find the whole "Metro" UI to be too big for phones, I think it's a real breath of fresh air on tablets. Looking at a side-by-side comparison of a Win8 tablet and iPad (here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntSdfGzF60M&feature=youtube_gdata ), I realised why Tim Cook alluded to Microsoft in Apple's recent earnings call.

  30. Ryan Clark

    "Where's the Windows Phone Communicator - with a clamshell or slide-out keyboard?" - I have an HD7 pro with slide out keyboard which works great thanks.

    @dogger - It does truncate text, I noticed last week when looking through my "people" it truncated one name so neatly with the edge of the "whats new" screen, it looked like a different name which I didn't recognise as someone I knew.

    The home screen is an awful waste of space as is the apps list. I don't like either of them.

    I don't get if it is business device why have Facebook integration at all? I could do without that and why if you make an office hub and connections to Sharepoint available, why can't I save my files direct to Sharepoint? Only phone or skydrive. Just being able to open them is of limited use as I actually create files on the phone too.

    From a general system perspective, as a technical user, I still think it is hamstrung in the same way as iOS is and I would much rather use my wife's Android phone for a some things.

    Still it does a lot of things very well and is on par with Android and iOS but hardly anyone else appears to be using it. As MS gold partners, the company made a decision to give them a good try and they don't really disappoint.

  31. Tim 11

    Step 1 - drop the windows brand

    Nokia is still a very strong brand, they have been through some hard times recently but they are well respected and people will forgive them if they start to produce decent phones again.

    The latest edition of windows phone may be better than previous abominations but it's too late, it's already tainted by association with previous versions, and indeed just by association with the words Microsoft and Windows.

    Erase the windows name from phones completely - keep quiet about Microsoft's involvement and just make the whole thing strongly Nokia branded.

  32. Paradroid

    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.

    1. Jim Coleman
      Meh

      @Paradroid:

      "Where's the multiple tile screens?"

      Scroll down

      "Where's the global search box"

      Press the search button

      "The ability to close apps from the task switching screen?"

      No need, they tombstone when you're not using them so take up zero resources

      "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."

      Fixed in Mango

      "poor hardware quality (HD7)"

      My HD7 was fine thankyouverymuch

      "the lack of decent games"

      Really?

      "30fps limit on games"

      Removed in Mango

      "games released cost 3-4 times as much"

      Again - Really?

      1. Paradroid
        FAIL

        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)

  33. George 8

    Windows 9 is when the win arrives...

    At this time, having hated micrsoft for the entire 90's and a good part of the noughties, I find myslef hoping, wishing this wins. I've had an Iphone since iOS2, waited for exchange support. Its the best device out there today for exchange and other features. For me, and it came as quite a surprise when I realised it, a front facing camera for video calls is a must. Facetime just works. MS must ad this.

    Android is chaos. Handset makers are happy as you have to buy a new handset every now and then as they have failed to port the latest andriod version. The Android Market place is dodgy too. Android is in my book best avoided. Wife has a Galaxy and *HATES* it.

    For me, MS are in this for the long haul, hopefully Nokia can stay around long enough for the win. Windows 8, when we get it will start the idea of a consistent and combined experience, across work pcs, home pcs, ultrabooks, tablets, phones and whatever other devices might arrive. Win 8 in my book is the starting point for people to realise exactly what they can have. By the time we get Windows 9, *IF* MS do it properly, we will have a game changer. By then, TVs will have to have an OS. By then XBox 720 (or whatever it will be called) will have to have an OS. MS should not miss the opportunity to put Win 9 everywhere. With an XBox 720 acting as a smart tv hub, or indeed with a TV with built in XBox capabilities and Win 9, finally BillG gets what he has desired since the 80's. 10/15 years later than he thought but the one device in the centre of the home is arriving. Now if every device runs the same OS and has interconnects, why would you buy apple or android...

    Oh, may be thats why Apple and Google are looking at TV too ;-)

    1. Vic

      > Wife has a Galaxy and *HATES* it.

      Tell her I'll offer her £20 for it...

      Vic.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That's not even worth the time to walk to a post office and post it

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > By then, TVs will have to have an OS

      Here's the problem for Microsoft and Nokia. You think that Windows 9 will be the saviour when W8 will be out sometime next year and some TVs _already_ have an OS.

      MS haven't caught up to 2010 yet, they have no usable tablets, no multi-core phone. New stuff is 'next year' while it is already available from others.

      Windows 8 seems not to be 'NT Kernel' but is a new modular kernel designed to be built in various ways so that it can fit on phones and have everything for workstations and servers (which is where Linux has been for years). I would suggest waiting for 8.3 or at least FP3.

      1. dogged

        "some TVs _already_ have an OS"

        While this is true, nobody seems to want to buy them.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          @dogged

          Mostly because they already have a set-top-box for Free(View/Sat)(HD)(+), Virgin and/or Sky.

          They may well have also forgotten what the actual TV remote looks like by now as the set-top-box remote is all they ever use.

          Of course, they could not care less which OS that STB (or even smart TV) is actually running, because they never, ever see it.

          Which is exactly as it should be - those are appliances, not computers.

      2. Tinker Tailor Soldier
        Facepalm

        The Nt kernel always been pretty modular

        It's the user space that a total intertwined mess where everything depends on everything else, sometimes cyclically.

  34. AceRimmer1980
    Thumb Up

    Where's the Windows Phone Communicator?

    The HTC 7 Pro.

    Stick a 32 gig card in it, and away you go.

  35. Pl0ns1971

    Hard to rescue wrong model..

    Few clarifications,

    1) Lack of trust to Google or Apple ? I reckon the problem is lack of trust to MS at the fist place;

    ( would you like to have nice key logging virus on you phone ? )

    2) Accusations of Android phones manufactures are not Android related but Android extensions related - in most cases it is MS Outook synchronization related. So clime it is Android braking any patents is completely wrong and FUD;

    3) Android IS free - proprietary Android extensions are not - and it is up to the manufacturer which to include or not.

    4) Developers don't like MS development model when every change needs to be "certified" back and forward to M$. The process is unefficient and slow - there is not much apps for that.

    5) Users do not like Windows Phone as it sales number is close to disaster.. and the whole Elot Nokia M$ overtaking at the first place.

  36. Stephen Hunt

    Obvious fix needed:

    Get Swype, or similar, on the device. The move from Swype keyboard input to tap keyboard input is painful.

  37. jberger
    Thumb Up

    Shhh, I'll tell you the secret to selling it in the US

    In the US, the contract periods limit turn over in phones to one every 2 years. Microsoft is effectively locked out from competing while existing smartphone subscribers are locked into their contracts and most people are not going to "waste" their next upgrade opportunity on an unknown phone.

    People who want to migrate from a dumb phone will generally stick to a product they know fits their needs, rather than move to something they have never experienced. They've heard their friends rave about iPhone or Droid and those are the only phones they "know".

    If MSFT really wanted to compete, they would offer to buy out contracts for people who wanted to try Windows phone today, or offer an extended 90-120 day trial period where shoppers could buy an try the phone without a 2 yr commitment. That is one way to put the microsoft money advantage to work and get the phone into the hands of subscribers. Then monitor the program and the subscribers very closely and quickly tweak the software to reduce the churn and build momentum for the platform.

  38. Pat 4

    Seriously?

    After decades of piss poor OS performance, absent security, gouging prices, crappy support, monopoly abuse, marketplace bullying and killing any progress deemed as a possible threat... why in hell would ANYONE support Microsoft and purchase one of their phones???

    As long as there is any viable option on the market... Microsoft will get the middle finger salute from most people, simply out of principal...

    1. Sir Sham Cad

      Most geeks.

      The rest of the world only really knows Microsoft as the OS on their home/work PC. The history of the company, "embrace, extend and kill", security flaws, original Win95 release, Vista... all these things are unknown to them and therefore not going to figure in the decision to purchase a smartphone.

      As has been said above the problem is brand visibility. Here are, IMHO, the "brands" that come to mind in the smartphone arena in rough order: "iPhone (not apple. iPhone), HTC, Android, Samsung, BlackBerry, the rest that are sort of the same but maybe not as good".

      MS realised that Nokia's strong brand would be the best way to direct visibility to the WP platform. As the article mentioned I think MS should go exclusive on Nokia and allow the hardware specialists to produce awesome kit that just happens to run Microsoft's OS. Then maybe we'll be thinking "iPhone, HTC, Nokia, Android, Samsung etc...".

  39. Steve Knox

    Skype

    "Here's one: why exactly is Microsoft licensing Skype? Why is it even tolerating it? It paid a lot of money to acquire this proprietary VoIP messaging platform, and sees no advantage from it. How about raising the fees for Skype for some or all non-Windows mobile platforms? One of the first things Steve Jobs did in 1997 to stabilise Apple was to stop licensing MacOS and kill the clones."

    Because although Skype is a proprietary app, it's based on non-proprietary technologies and protocols or there are non-proprietary equivalents. So there's no technological barrier to entry. It's largest market is people who want to connect on the cheap. Raise the price and someone will build their own version and the customers will just leave.

  40. PyLETS
    FAIL

    How to kill Skype

    "How about raising the fees for Skype for some or all non-Windows mobile platforms?"

    Other than killing Skype, the other downsides for Microsoft adopting this policy are having to employ more lawyers and more $billions in antitrust litigation cost. It's not as if MS haven't done this kind abuse of monopoly position before, and had their knuckles rapped.

    This daft policy wouldn't stop me from using my preferred mobile platforms, but it would stop me using Skype. Could it be that Skype's new corporate overlords are aware of the existence of other VOIP network providers with points of presence on traditional POTS networks in enough places and which provide equivalent support on non-Windows platforms ?

  41. Steve 76
    FAIL

    Pity Microsoft

    Microsoft's problem is they are the IBM of the 21st Century. Everywhere, but desired by none.

    No young consumer wants a product for having Microsoft embossed or installed on it.

  42. nordwars

    First, congrats everyone! I'm so surprised that these comments have been so reasonable.

    I upgraded from HTC Desire (I really didn't like that phone) to Lumia 800 about 1.5 months ago.

    - The user experience is really good, I love the hardware and software design. The screen is just great - not just the quality, but the curve looks special and it's nice to interact with. Regarding the text flowing off the screen, this is 99% of the time only the headings, and is a user experience design choice to hint to the user that they should scroll across to see more screens. WP7s design is full of these hints, and you really have to use the phone to realise why things are laid out in certain ways.

    - It definitely feels like a 1.1 device... no tethering... no VPN connectivity that I can work out, limited multitasking... this is hopefully work in progress...

    - Many people - not just in these comments think that the name "Windows" should be dropped. I do see their point. Hopefully the fact that MS is doing a serious marketing department reorg will result in their image improving (can we get some less cringe-worthy ads please).

    - Relaxing hardware specs a bit will allow manufacturer innovation. Nokia needs this, although IMO they currently make the only WP phones that aren't totally dull and effectively invisible to potential customers.

    If WP gains ground, I think it will be against Android. iPhone people just can't think of anything else, or have Macs at home now. Android users just want a phone that works, and sometimes it doesn't with all the fragmentation. Nokia needs to stick at it for at least 1 more year before things will start to improve I think.

    I agree with George 8 that windows everywhere should be MS' target, and I think they are definitely trying to achieve it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "windows everywhere should be MS' target"

      What exactly do you suggest has been their target for the past two decades then? And what do you believe the rest of the world has to gain if that ever happens?

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If we are discussing this now...

    then it's already too late.

  44. JaitcH
    Alert

    "may never be a third smartphone ecosystem" in a given market

    RIM is being kicked around in North America but is has a very solid following in Africa.

    In VietNam cell/hand phones are often referred to as 'Nokias', even though they aren't market leaders here.

    I bought a $10 hand set for my daughter, all sorts of built-in options (programmed numbers for my wife and myself, calling denial, alarm clock, multi-language choice, etc). I don't know what OS it has, all I know it is ideal for children and is old by the millions, along side HTC, Samsung and iThingies.

    So it is the market that determines how many phones can co-exist and that OS plays a minor role.

  45. Mikel
    FAIL

    Non-phone phone

    I wouldn't mind a voip-only Android mobile device.

    Oh yeah - this is a winphone article. I see a lot of great suggestions here. I hope they keep dumping money on this lost cause.

    1. ChrisInAStrangeLand

      I have a VoIP only Android phone called a Nexus S. It costs me 0.75c/MB for prepaid data when I'm roaming from wifi. Your problem is that your country has a carrier oligopoly.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Android patent uncertainties

    > A couple of years after announcing Android, Google did a strategic U-turn that upset many of its partners. It anointed a manufacturer to work with on what is essentially a reference phone ..

    If this is so then why aren't Microsofts partners equally upset with the Microsoft-Nokia reference phone?

    > Android isn't free at all, the patent uncertainties require ODMs to pay third parties - including Microsoft. This is a long way from being resolved ..

    Most ODMs signed-up as they couldn't afford a lenghty litigation battle, therefore such Android `patent uncertainties' have never been sucessfully validated in a court of law. And currently Barnes & Noble are showing no signs of wilting. Such patent uncertainties being promoted by Microsoft who won't directly sue Google but rather go after Android resellers. And with Googles purchase of Motorola we might one day see Microsoft licensing Windows Phone from Google.

    What's the difference between ODMs (Original Device Manufacturers) and OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers)

    1. Pl0ns1971

      Android is FREE it's OpenSource ( Apache 2 licence ). Check the WikiPedia. You can use it I can use it without paying a penny to anybody.

      Please don't spread FUD !

      The problems you've mentioned are Android proprietary extenions related - MS Outlook synchronization most frequently - NOT Linux kernel or any OpenSource ( Apache 2 licence ) software

      related. There are NO "Android `patent uncertainties'" as Andoid as such does not violate any patents.

      It's manufactures who try to use for free proprietary extenions without any licence a cause of the dispute.

  47. This post has been deleted by its author

  48. GregC
    FAIL

    Interesting article, and comments. My WinPho experience is limited to a week with an HD7 (if memory serves) last year, and two things stand out in my memory.

    I didn't like the UI. I kind of understand the thinking behind it, but the tiled interface just doesn't work for me. Personal preference, naturally.

    It couldn't connect to a hidden wireless network, and from a few of the comments on this article it sounds like it still can't. That on it's own makes it a non-starter for me as we have a couple at work.

    Other than that nothing really stands out in my memory, and that in itself is not good - it just didn't make any real impression, whereas I can easily think of things that have impressed me about both iOS and Android.

    I want a third phone OS to succeed, I've ended up on Android more or less by default since my N900's scratched screen got too annoying, but since at the moment nobody seems inclined to build the phone I want (think Galaxy S2 with slide out landscape qwerty, FM transmitter and Meego/whatever it's called now) it looks like I'm SOL for the foreseeable future.

    As for WinPhone and Nokia - I can't see it gaining any traction at the moment. The geeks by and large aren't interested for all the reasons mentioned in these comments, the kids all want BlackBerries for BB Riot Organiser, and it offers nothing up against Android or iPhone apart from a different UI and missing features.

    About the only thing that's been done right by them at the moment is the handset design - like them or not, one thing you can say about the Lumia's is that they stand out from the crowd of black/dark grey, glossy oblongs that everyone else is churning out...

  49. Stephen Channell
    Thumb Down

    When I read the tag-line “Five ways Microsoft can rescue Windows Phone”.. I was expecting an insightful article, but the insight didn’t rise much above “Give it all away?” and bombed “raising the fees for Skype for some or all non-Windows mobile platforms”.. kinda like a “Stockholm Syndrome” marketing strategy.

    Truth is: none of the current generation of phones is like the phone we’ll be using in ten years’ time, because none of them has the functionality we’ll demand… there is plenty of work that needs to be done, and MS still has a chance if they do work first. In the future the phone will be the portal to work and services, and the phone will be the world’s portal to us.. phone payments are just the edge.. for me two points were missed:

    [1] Skype with deep {VoIP,Lync, POTS, PABX} integration is no threat to mobile operators because it moves corporate calls from telco to mobile.. the loss of long-distance surcharge can be compensated with higher data-usage.

    [2] A quick-win would be tools to run Android Java apps on Mango.. it’s instructive that they haven’t gone that way, but focused on better integration for a few apps {facebook, twitter, linkedin}

    1. Vic

      > In the future the phone will be the portal to work

      Not without additional hardware, it won't.

      A phone screen does not fill enough of my field of vision to make it appropriate for work. And the keyboard input methods - be they on-screen or slide-out - are insufficient. Additionally, the lack of a solid base means I can't type with all ten fingers[1].

      This all ads up to a serious lack of bandwidth[2] between *me* and the machinery. That means it is ineffective as a work tool.

      Vic.

      [1] I'm including thumbs, for the pedants.

      [2] I know typing speed isn't everything[3], But if I'm forever scrolling around looking for stuff and fighting the input method, my productivity would definitely suffer.

      [3] An ex-colleague of mine had a brilliant phrase[4]: "A week's keyboard-bashing can sometimes preclude the need for an hour's thought" :-)

      [4] Yes, I did mean it like that. Please don't be tempted to "correct" it, as that means you missed the joke.

      1. GregC

        Which is where the Motorola Atrix idea comes in - the phone is at all times the processor/storage, but when you need to use it as the computer you dock it.

        There's still a long way to go before the phone can take on that role fully - they will need significantly more RAM, storage and processing power before they could be used for (in my case) Photoshop, Flash, Flex etc.... - but given the rate of development in both hardware and software we might only be 2 or 3 generations of device away from that - we've already reached the point where we can play last-gen games (GTAIII - admittedly an oldish last-gen game) on the latest crop of handsets.

      2. Stephen Channell

        In the future the phone will be the portal to work

        Which is better RSA-SecureID, VPN, firewall & lock-down or tethering to an LTE phone.. I could loose my SecurID dongle and not notice for ages, but not my phone.. plus :-( a tethered company phone can report my location.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Reviewers don't buy smartphones

    The public does.

    A few years ago Microsoft's mobile device market share was 15%. The "WinPho" is at 1% or less. Not only are new mobile device users rejecting "WinPho", Microsoft's own customers are fleeing "WinPho" in droves.

    The only way Microsoft has been able to make money in the smartphone market space is by extorting "license fees" from smaller companies under threat of lawsuit, regardless of how weak their IP claims are, and they are ridiculously weak. It was/is cheaper for HTC and others to pay a $30 fee per phone, which is probably more than what they would have paid Microsoft for a "WinPho" license per phone, than to pay legal expenses to fight Microsoft. A downside to signing into Microsoft's extortion plot is the NDA, which keeps the weakness of Microsoft's claims from being widely known, until we learned of the terms when Barnes & Nobel refused to sign the NDA and published its requirements. One requirement was that devices sold with older versions of Android could NOT be upgraded. Microsoft sock puppets, masquerading as "journalists", and MS Technical Evangelists, astroturfing forums like this one, capitalize on that restriction and distort its results by claiming that Google "doesn't care" about upgrading phones already in consumers hands.

    The Barns & Nobel vs MS lawsuit is going as such things usually go, with successes and failures for both sides. However, it will be five years or more before this suit, or the one that really matters, Google (as owner of Motorola) vs Microsoft, wind their way through the courts and the appeals process. A LOT can happen in five years. Just look what has happened during the last five years with small devices, and no one predicted it.

  51. Alfred

    Saucer of milk for the Orlowski table

    "Some things in the world are theoretically human-readable, but nobody ever reads them. Postscript source code is one example, the fiction of Cory Doctorow another"

    Oooo, you bitch! Meow.

  52. Wunderbar1

    You are thinking about this way too hard

    Smartphones are basically fashion accessories. Sure, there are some odds and ends features in each OS that are not in the others, but people don't really care about feature/function as all of the major providers have everything they need and way, way more. It is all about the cool factor with cost a secondary factor. iPhone = Really cool, but expensive. Android = Pretty cool, not expensive. Microsoft = Not cool, mid-range expensive, but the not cool is killing it.

  53. h3

    I have not much really against Microsoft these days. (The way Gates is spending his money is undoubtedly good).

    I don't really want Metro on Windows 8 (At least with Windows 7 I can have sloppy mouse focus).

    Prior to Windows 7 I used Solaris or BSD on the desktop since about 1998. (Hate Gnome 3 and Unity).

    WP7 is good (Reason I use Android is because allot of the root apps that I use are not possible with WP7 or iOS - I would rather use WP7 if I could do everything I wanted though.)

    (Don't like the way anti-social networking is pushed by all the mobile OS's though).

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