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Microsoft Windows Technology

Does Microsoft Finally Have a Phone Worth Buying? 427

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the send-me-a-demo-unit dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft has finally shown 'Windows Phone 7 Series' and it's supposed to be a completely new smartphone OS. A phone from Microsoft to get excited about that is going to work properly and take on the iPhone's world domination? "
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Does Microsoft Finally Have a Phone Worth Buying?

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  • by Blazarov (894987) <blazarov&mail,bg> on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:10AM (#31144174)
    There are still a lot of questions to be answered, before I can say if I like it or not... Does it support multitasking? How are notifications handled? How efficient is the down-scrolling action compared to the sideways swipe in a real world usage? How would apps look with this spill-over-the-side text philosophy? I agree that the fact that they have started completely from scratch is rather exciting, and also the minimalist design approach is rather bold, but until the above questions are answered it is hard to tell if this will end the "iPhone Domination"
  • Re:World Domination? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by VMaN (164134) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:16AM (#31144236) Homepage

    I hate it when someone quotes "US market share" as "market share" with the fire of 1000 suns.

  • Nicely done. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by quadelirus (694946) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:17AM (#31144238)
    As a complete Apple fanboi, and one who owns 3 macs and swears by his iPod Touch (I don't like AT&T), I've got to say, that thing looks like it has a really nice interface. Kudos to MS, just from glancing at it (and not having played with it) it looks like the interface could be nicer than both the iPhone OS and Android. If this came out for my cell carrier I would have a tough time deciding between it and an Nexus One. I use Windows 7 at work and have enjoyed it (mostly because MS copied so many of things I prefer about the Mac interface onto Win7, it isn't OS X yet, but getting closer) and I'm willing to keep an open mind about this.
  • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:23AM (#31144294) Journal

    In the real world, Nokia might be the one to talk about, but even so, its share is far from "world domination"

    And yet, the iPhone is the phone that everyone is talking about. New phones are being touted as "iPhone killers", not "Blackberry killers" or "Android killers". When it comes to usability and design, the iPhone is the yardstick that other phones are being measured against. In that sense, it does dominate the market... or at least the marketing.

  • by micron (164661) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:24AM (#31144310)

    This is a serious step 1 here. I have had several Windows Mobile phones in the past. What sold me on the iPhone was that I could hear the phone ring, and actually receive the call. With Windows Mobile, more often than not, I would get the call.. go to answer... phone locks up... reboot phone... call person back. FAIL on the basic UI of the phone. The other features would work well... just often found myself rebooting the phone when it came time to get a call.

  • by MrHanky (141717) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:29AM (#31144384) Homepage Journal

    Oh wow. "BSOD." "FreeBSD" elitist. "Interesting."

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:32AM (#31144412) Journal

    No goofy shading and transitions? Simple design? No backgrounds?

    This has promise. I'm a "black screen wallpaper" guy, and until Windows 7 I used the "classic" look in windows (I'm still considering switching back, as the whole translucent thing is more a distraction than anything else).

    What I want is a finger-operable OS that allows quick access to all my programs (and easy program switching), is finger operable, makes scrolling and web browsing easy (I've yet to see a browser that can reliably determine the difference in a small swipe vs a click), is finger controllable, and allows customizable parameters for most actions (when to ring, when not to, when to wake, when to sleep, when to check email, etc.), and - most importantly - is finger controllable.

    I know that there are lots of people who want a PDA instead of a phone, and prefer using a stylus. Really - it's a phenomenal annoyance to have to pull out a stylus for practically every operation because the icons are the size of a piece of glitter. It's nice to see that they might be moving into the 21st century with their UI.

  • by jedrek (79264) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:36AM (#31144468) Homepage

    Whether a person likes Microsoft or not [...] they are late to the phone game.

    Microsoft's first OS for smartphones (Pocket PC 2002) was release in October 2001, that's over 5 years before Apple and a full 7 years before Google's foray into the mobile platform. You can say a lot, mostly bad, about it, but MS has been at this longer than those two companies put together.

    Everyone and their mom aleardy had a phone when the iPhones came out, too, it didn't keep Apple from selling 34 million of them and making hundreds of millions in the process.

  • by Etherized (1038092) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:49AM (#31144694)

    This is a valid point. The "MS Phone" at this time isn't even a product - it's just a demo. By the time something actually gets to market (later this year, maybe?) Android, WebOS, iPhone OS, Maemo, etc will have had a good bit of time to "catch up" with any missing functionality.

    MS is, essentially, the last to the table of those I mentioned, and that's a dangerous place to be, even with a superior product. All of the others (well, possibly excepting Maemo) already have mind share and already have, more importantly, applications. The Windows 7 phone will mystifyingly not support any legacy winmo apps, so it's starting off at a massive disadvantage.

    Despite these disadvantages, I think it's too soon to say whether MS is going to be able to catch up eventually. The Zune keeps getting better and keeps carving out its own little niche market; maybe Windows Phone 7 will do the same.

  • by dubbreak (623656) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:59AM (#31144850)

    There is no good widget set, there is no clear UI design guideline, and there is no good way to develop an app that doesn't end up feeling like a clunky mess. The iPhone, on the other hand, has a widget set that is reusable and has intuitive usage, there are very clear design guidelines, and most of all there are real artists who want to make apps for the platform.

    To me this is the most important change required to make this successful. I dev for WinCE currently (not phones, but the product does have a UI and a small touch screen). The tools suck. MS doesn't have a nice widget set like Apple. You want anything pretty or intuitive that doesn't look like it's straight out of windows 2000 you either have to build it yourself or dish out and pay for a 3rd party kits (which would be fine if the pickings weren't so lean).

    I've dabbled with xcode and what's available for the iphone (I have a mac and itouch, just limited time to play), and what's available is a world of difference. Plus they have UI guidelines which I see as a good thing since consistency is a very important part of HCI. The tools combined with the guidelines mean it's easy for a developer to create an application that looks and feels like it belongs on the iphone and doesn't clash with the metaphors of the initial interface. To me this makes the iphone and apps feel cohesive instead of an OS and Apps that you happen to throw on there. It's the cohesiveness that makes it better than previous offering in the arena.

    If MS steps up to the plate and creates some great tools things could be interesting. Mobile tools haven't been release for VS2010 yet, so maybe this is why they have been delayed...

  • by FlyingBishop (1293238) on Monday February 15, 2010 @11:08AM (#31144970)

    the iPhone really created a functioning 3rd-party app marketplace

    That gets repeated often, but so far no one has created a functioning 3rd-party app marketplace. Yeah, they got lots of adoption because they were the first to do it, and have been making a pretty penny as a result. But the developers are not.

    Even the ones who have made good software have yet to recoup their initial investment. Apple's market ( and Android's, and the rest) are great for the established players in the market; the Skypes, the Amazons, the people who have the resources and brand recognition to put together a mobile version of what they're working on anyway. But as far as rewarding innovators, it's completely fallen flat. And that's going to cause problems in the long run, especially in Apple's environment which is so hostile to FOSS (so long as it's outside of Apple's offerings.)

  • by fermion (181285) on Monday February 15, 2010 @11:19AM (#31145080) Homepage Journal
    Blackberry has the corporate market, integrates with Exchange. The Google phones integrate with the million of people who use Google services. The iPhone integrates with the millions of users that use the Apple services.

    Where is a MS phone going to fit in? Users are not going to pay for MS services as they do for Apple services. If MS was going to give away online service, they already would. Well, I guess they do but not with the popularity of Google, since such services are ties to the OS, which is counter to what the web is.

    No matter how pretty MS makes the phone, it is unclear why anyone would buy it. It could be that MS leaves the corporate market to blackberry, and focuses on consumers. This might work if the sold the phone for significantly less than cost, as they did with the xBox. If they did, they would be the only cell phone provider who does so. If they teamed with cricket and the low end carriers they could demolish the competition. Other than that, I hardly see anyone leaving a phone so they can be locked back to the desktop.

  • by plague3106 (71849) on Monday February 15, 2010 @11:39AM (#31145350)

    Well, there's a trick to those growth charts; when you start at zero, sell 10, and you have a HUGE growth rate.

    Lets wait a bit and see how many iPhones are actually around. Of all the phones I see on people, the iPhone is still pretty rare.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2010 @11:43AM (#31145402)

    I work at Microsoft now. The development of smart phones here has followed the same pattern of development that has gone on here at Microsoft for years: the front line technical folks push for something innovative, upper management rejects it, Google or Apple then invents it some time later, then upper management suddenly decides they need to get in the business and pat themselves on the back for making the decision "spearhead" into new markets. I remember being in a meeting some years ago where some lower tech managers were proposing we get in the smart phone business, only to be told by some MBA they he should let the "big boys" handle the business decisions. Now the Apple has made a killing in the smart phone business they have their panties in a wad to do the same thing, only now it's probably too late to penetrate the market with dominance that was possible years ago. Nothing seems to get done here anymore unless some upper manager can make it their pet project and get all the credit for it.

  • by Have Blue (616) on Monday February 15, 2010 @12:53PM (#31146206) Homepage
    It's not just that, it also has a lot of hidden software tricks that make it easier to communicate your intent. When you put your finger down on a button, it invisibly grows larger, so your finger is less likely to slip off if you move it a fraction while tapping. The keyboard keys also do this, based on the text predictor, to make the next letters in the likeliest words easier to hit. Safari allows you to scroll in every direction if you want but it also makes the horizontal and vertical axes "sticky" so if you're trying to go straight down the page you'll probably succeed without realizing the phone helped you.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2010 @12:55PM (#31146238)

    WinMo is used widely by business that rely on apps to service tens, even hundreds of thousands of employees. Having a phone OS that will be running and supported in 3-4 years is a big plus when you support 10,000 mobile devices. Having one that runs .NET is nice too when you start factoring in developer time.

    You obviously have no clue what you are talking about other than the slashdot headlines you read and the iphone/android wet dream you have at night. Arrogance? Pot, meet kettle.

  • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7&cornell,edu> on Monday February 15, 2010 @01:33PM (#31146680) Homepage

    Yeah, it is interesting that in some ways, the biggest complaint many have about Windows Mobile is the same complaint some people throw at Linux - they complain about having too much choice! (KDE vs. GNOME vs. whatever in Linux, the various dialers/reskins/alternate UIs available for WM.)

    What is a weakness in the eyes of some (flexibility and choice) is a strength for others. A WM phone doesn't provide the "out of the box" user experience that iPhone does, but it is far more powerful and flexible.

    It's what Linux on mobile devices SHOULD be, but as I mentioned before (and you confirmed affects even Android), Linux on mobile phones has a bad habit of getting tivoized. There are exceptions (OpenMoko and the like) but they're smallfry.

  • Re:Nicely done. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) on Monday February 15, 2010 @02:46PM (#31147616)

    I think it looks nice, but I wonder how usable it is. It's hard to tell from a short video. It does seem like they have sacrificed a bit of functionality for the sake of being stylish. Such as the giant words at the top that get cropped as you scroll sideways, yet don't really tell you which page you're on. It's looks as if they were trying to use the title as a scroll indicator, which would have been stylish and functional, but it doesn't seem to work well.

    Hopefully it turns out to be a good device, because MS really needs one.

In the sciences, we are now uniquely priviledged to sit side by side with the giants on whose shoulders we stand. -- Gerald Holton