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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 seasunset (469481) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:08AM (#31144140) Homepage

    Iphone world domination?

    I don't know what world is being referred here, probably the marketing and fairy tale world. Last time I checked, Apple was a marginal player in the real world (i.e., not some particular geography or some fashionable pundits).

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

  • World Domination? (Score:1, Informative)

    by addsalt (985163) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:11AM (#31144188)
    So 25% of the smartphone market [pcworld.com], or about half of the Blackberry market share, is world domination?
  • by smackenzie (912024) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:26AM (#31144338)
    Has anyone posted this video of the interface yet?
    http://www.windowsphone7series.com/multimedia/Media2 [windowsphone7series.com]

    I hope they keep the UI design team that put this together. It's a refreshing change from the escalating UI-candy wars.
  • by foniksonik (573572) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:27AM (#31144352) Homepage Journal

    Are you talking phones or smartphones?

    Apple's iPhone Continues to Outpace Smartphone Industry Growth [macrumors.com] - while proving your point in one sense, regarding Nokia, also demonstrates a counterpoint to your 'marginal' comment - 3rd worldwide in volume and market share with over 10% is anything but marginal. With a growth rate of > 90% there is every reason to believe iPhones will over take RIM in the near future. If you were to look at "Consumer" phone usage/market share I'd be willing to bet iPhones are already #2 and fast closing on Nokia.

  • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:31AM (#31144404) Journal
    Don't forget the physical aspects either. The iPhone's GUI is succesful partly because the phone has an exceptionally good touch screen. And I don't mean multi-touch or pinch zooming, I mean a screen that registers touches and gestures accurately, so that the interface is easy to use even with fat fingers. Show me another phone that I can operate (even quickly type an SMS) one-handed using the thumb of the hand holding the phone... My message to manufacturers of competing phones would be: don't skimp on the screen!
  • Exactly right (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dan East (318230) on Monday February 15, 2010 @11:37AM (#31145330) Homepage Journal

    You are exactly right, and other manufactures, like HTC, also provide their own UI which serves as the primary first-layer (and often second-layer) interactiveness that the user experiences. Generally this interface is very good, but as you say, when you get into the nitty-gritty, it's just WM underneath, which is the child of Pocket PC, which is the child of Palm-Sized PC (windows CE 2.11), which is the child of Windows CE 1.0, which was an _exact_ copy of the Windows 95 user interface. And here's the real problem - Microsoft has managed backwards compatibility all this time. There's still a huge amount that can be done while maintaining backwards compatibility, like using those widgets only with older apps. One of my biggest problems with WM 6.5 is its messaging system (specifically the user interface). HTC, again, tried to provide a layer over this as well, but it doesn't go deep enough. But the fact of the matter is the messaging system is implemented by Microsoft, thus they can do anything they want with it without having to worry about backwards compatibility.

    I just have a hard time believing MS could get WM7 wrong. Mainly because everyone and their brother is now producing a decent mobile shell (Apple, Google, Palm, and I've just heard Samsung is joining the fray as well). So MS doesn't even have to do anything groundbreaking or original - merely being on par and in the same paradigm as everyone else would be good enough.

  • by dotwhynot (938895) on Monday February 15, 2010 @12:27PM (#31145914)

    Until you can buy one at the store, it's another piece of vaporware from Microsoft.

    Exactly. I liked how we never talked about the iPad before you could buy it for instance.

    Except one company (Apple) has a history of delivering what they promise, and another (Microsoft) does not. It's not about a general rule of "we don't discuss product announcements", it's a general rule of "Microsoft announces things, then only occasionally delivers them"

    But it becomes a bit ironic when the big example of recent MS vaporware used by other posters right here in this thread is how MS dropped WinFS from Vista. Which is exactly matched by how Apple dropped ZFS from OSX ;) http://blogs.zdnet.com/storage/?p=584 [zdnet.com]

  • by derGoldstein (1494129) on Monday February 15, 2010 @12:35PM (#31146008) Homepage

    Why on earth won't it support multitasking when the previous versions have done so quite well? That's like asking whether Windows 7 will support these newfangled things called mice. Multitasking is not even a feature to ask about unless you're coming from the Apple camp.

    That sounds completely reasonable, until you google "windows mobile 7 multitasking".
    Here's what I got: one [unwiredview.com], two [livbit.com], three [electronista.com]. That last one is official.

    MS is attempting to get into the market by doing what they used to do best: Cloning. This means get every last bit of detail into their version of the product, *including* the drawbacks. They can fix this in later versions, and in the meantime they can say "what? it's not like the competition supports it...". This industry is absurd.

  • by iluvcapra (782887) on Monday February 15, 2010 @12:50PM (#31146160)

    Pedantic-- Apple never announced ZFS for OS X. Some people at Sun mentioned that Apple was looking at ZFS, and Disk Utility had an undocumented facility for mounting ZFS drives as read-only, which had the effect of feulling a lot of speculation, but at no time did Apple ever announce that they were going to use or support ZFS.

    This is different from the WinFS case, since MS had been putting WinFS in its product literature and presentations up until the Longhorn reboot. Apple fanboy rumors != Apple announcement.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2010 @01:09PM (#31146412)

    Learn your history. Apple NEVER announced ZFS for OS X.

    if so, they sure fooled the media to think they did at the time.. ZDNET: "Apple announces ZFS on Snow Leopard". http://blogs.zdnet.com/storage/?p=335&tag=col1;post-584 [zdnet.com]

    and even Apples own web site editors where apparently fooled to think so.. from ars technica "Up until Monday's WWDC keynote, the preview page for Snow Leopard Server specifically referred to ZFS support as one of its key features!" (as per story this web site info purged by Apple) http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2009/06/apple-dashes-hopes-for-zfs-support-in-snow-leopard.ars [arstechnica.com]

  • by dmesg0 (1342071) on Monday February 15, 2010 @01:21PM (#31146538)
    I recently switched from WM to Android (N1) and I think that WM is actually more open for developers than Android. A lot of stuff on the Android requires rooting the device, while on WM it was a matter of a simple installation:

    A simple example: even adding a font on android requires rooting.

    More complex example: voice dialing on Android doesn't work from blluetooth headset. The bug report generated thousand of replies, but google is in no hurry to fix it. Third party developer cannot provide such functionality (and no one will develop complex software that requires unlocking and rooting). WM, on the other hand, had 4 different packages for voice commands, and it was a matter of simple installation to switch from one to another.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday February 15, 2010 @01:23PM (#31146558) Journal

    Pedantic-- Apple never announced ZFS for OS X

    More pedantic: Yes they did. Apple had ZFS touted as a feature for OS X 10.6 until a couple of months before 10.6 shipped... without ZFS. Archive.org doesn't seem to have recent caches of Apple's web page, but the Google cache has this [209.85.229.132]. For those who can't be bothered to click on the link:

    For business-critical server deployments, Snow Leopard Server adds read and write support for the high-performance, 128-bit ZFS file system, which includes advanced features such as storage pooling, data redundancy, automatic error correction, dynamic volume expansion, and snapshots.

    They did have an entire page explaining why ZFS was great, but I couldn't find it in ten seconds of looking through the Google cache.

  • by adamstew (909658) on Monday February 15, 2010 @01:46PM (#31146812)

    You can do all of that on an iPhone.

    Compose an email and exit out to the web browser, do your googling, then return to the mail app. You'll be right where you left off in composing your email.

    If your browsing the web and want to text someone, switch to the messaging app, then when you're done, and reopen the web browser, you will be right back where you left it... sessions, cookies, even partially entered form fields and all.

    If you're on a phone call, you can do anything on the phone... including run all other apps, listen to your iPod, browse the web, and look at your contacts. There is even a link on the main "call" screen that says "Contacts" while you are on a call to quickly jump to them.

    About the only legit complaints I have seen (so far) about the lack of background tasks have been the inability to listen to 3rd party audio apps while doing other things... you can't stream pandora while browsing the web.

    Even IM apps have a good way to "run in the background" with push-notifications.

  • by Zorkon (121860) on Monday February 15, 2010 @01:50PM (#31146870) Homepage

    But you have a small, tiny screen. With no window manager. In order to "Google something while composing email", you have to switch between two full screen applications.

    So from an end user point of view, there is no difference between multitasking between two running apps, and starting/stopping two apps from saved states.

    "So I can look over my contacts list while on a phone call"

    You can do that on a "non-multitasking" iPhone. In fact, you can browse the web while on a call. Or compose an email for that matter.

    None of the examples you've provided actually require a device that multitasks user applications. Now, if you had thrown down the "run an instant messenger in the background" argument, *then* you might've had something... but push notifications work surprisingly well for that too.

    You just *think* you want multitasking because you haven't realized yet that the way you interact with full-screen modal apps in a small handheld device is very different from how you work in a windowing desktop operating system.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2010 @02:51PM (#31147662)

    I'll put my two cents in:

    1: Windows Mobile is decently secure. It has a good way of encrypting data on memory cards, and has a fairly robust remote wipe mechanism either via Exchange or the MyPhone feature. This is especially nice because one doesn't need a third party add-on like BES to manage this functionality in Exchange 2007 or 2010. I'd love to see more security features that Blackberries have (hard erase if not on the network in x days, hard erase if a SIM card is changed, etc.)

    2: Windows Mobile can run all kinds of apps, and the development tools for those using the .NET Compact Framework are pretty good.

    3: Microsoft has a decent codesigning system for security in WM. Additionally, companies can require all apps be signed by their own key, either by OTA provisioning, or provisioning before the phone leaves the HQ.

    4: Unless locked down by provisioning or an operator, one does not need to root or jailbreak a Windows Mobile phone for full access to it. Tethering is very easy to do.

    5: (and this can be good or bad) Apps have a lot of room to do what they need to. This is why a lot of niche market programs for Windows Mobile.

    Windows Mobile biggest downside until 7: The UI. This isn't MS's fault, because it was developed in the age of PDAs where the main interface tool was a stylus. However, with the sea change to fingers and multitouch as the primary means of input on a touchscreen, Microsoft was left with having to redesign a UI that not just the OS, but thousands of apps. Other phone operating systems did not have a legacy installed base to worry about, while MS has to be concerned about this, which also hamstrung 7.0's development.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday February 15, 2010 @05:40PM (#31149764) Journal
    Note that it's 16% of the smartphone market, not 16% of the mobile phone market, or even 16% of the mobile-phone-that-can-run-third-party-apps-and-has-a-multitasking-operating-system-with-protected-memory market, which includes smartphones and feature phones, with the feature phone part of that market being about four times the size, although with lower margins. Nokia and Apple, sabre rattling aside, both still make the majority of their money in markets where the other has absolutely no presence.
  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Monday February 15, 2010 @06:00PM (#31149996) Homepage Journal

    Even IM apps have a good way to "run in the background" with push-notifications.

    Note that "push" inherently means "tethering to a remote server". It's impossible to have an IM app that connects directly to AIM, Google Talk, etc. that stays online when you switch to another app. You have to trust a 3rd party service to connect on your behalf and tell your iPhone or iPod that you've received a message.

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