Is Windows Phone 7.5 Too Good?

I know I am a Microsoft fanboy, and I am the first to admit it. But I still want to say that I can listen to other peoples arguments and try to look at the facts objectively. I tend to see benefits in a lot of Microsoft things, but that doesn’t mean that I believe that everything else sucks.

I have used a Windows Phone device since before they were even released, built a couple of apps for it and talked about it for different audiences. And it is not a big secret that I like it, especially since I got Mango on my phone.

Having that said, I still believe that there are 2 very good alternatives available. The iPhone is, whatever kind of fanboy you are, a great phone. No, I don’t like a lot of things when it comes to Apple, and I don’t like being stuck with iTunes, and I don’t like Apple’s censorship. But it still is a freaking awesome phone, and pretty much single handedly managed to change the smartphone market into what it is today, which is SO much better than it was with Windows Mobile.

I don’t mind Android either. As a developer, it is very tempting to get an Android device. The specs are ridiculous! But I don’t like that it is still a little “techy”, and lacks pretty much all finesse when it comes to UX. It rips UX details from both iPhone and WP7, and it doesn’t do it that well. And you would expect a dual core behemoth of a machine to be able to handle a couple of transitions, but it still seems to be a bit choppy. But I guess it almost makes up for the lack of polish by having the most open development platform and marketplace.

Ok, so having given ridiculously quick intros to my opinion about both of the other platforms, you can see that I do actually find them to be great platforms. Heading into WP7 the story is pretty much the same.

I love the UX on WP7. I love the integration with social media. I love the fact that it sticks out. And the fact that WP7 has single handedly managed to get me to interact with pretty much all of the big social networks is quite impressive. Before WP7, I had a blog and an account on Facebook (never used it though). Now I am on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to the point that I am getting a little worried where it will end.

But just as with the other platforms, there are things I don’t like. I don’t like the locked down featureset available for developers, or the lack of side-loaded apps. Not to mention that I hate the fact that Bing maps, however great I do find it in the US, still sucks beyond belief in Sweden. Or the tombstoning of applications.

I do appreciate that some of these things are there for a reason, generally to make the experience better in the long run. But it still means that I choose Android over WP7 from a development perspective. If I could only get something as great as Visual Studio 2010 to do it I would be happy doing that.

But why did it choose that headline then? Well, it is something I have been thinking about for a while. The fact that WP7 comes with a lot functionality built in is great, but it also makes me feel “abandoned” when I have to download a separate app.

Having to download games is fine, even if I would have loved to have some simple ones pre-installed, and local things like an app for my subway schedule is also ok. However, when I have to download a PDF-reader, or the YouTube app and so on, it feels as the phone is lacking functionality…even if it really doesn’t…. A PDF-reader or YouTube app is not native to any of the other platforms.

Downloading apps to the phone is something that comes natural when the phone is pretty bare to begin with. Sure there are pre-installed apps on iPhone and Android, but you still run off and get a set of basic apps when you get your hands on one. With WP7 you can do so much without doing that, which makes the trips to the marketplace a lot less frequent. At least in my world…

I think this might get a little bit in the way of the whole marketplace. Instead of pushing people there from the start, like the other platforms, it sort of gives you enough to keep you from running there and getting used to being there… And on the other platforms, the built-in functionality is still an app, it isn’t naturally part of the OS, pushing the “app” idea harder.

So, the question is, is giving too much functionality as part of the OS a bad thing? The answer? I don’t know…

Ok, rant over! I will try to keep my rants to a minimum, but sometimes I need to get it on paper to let it go… Smile

Feel free to flame me, tell me that I am wrong, correct me or whatever you feel like. Would be interesting to hear what other people think…

Comments (2) -

I have a Nokia Lumia 800 and there are a few issues that I would like to see fixed. The most important is to remove the 'delete' icon between the respond and the navigation icons. On a 3,7" it's not that hard to by accident click the wrong option, especially because mails are deleted without any confirmation.

Delete should me moved to the 'more options' section where als move and 'mark unread' can be found. Not a hugh change, but it will improve usability a lot.

Another issue I have with WP is that you can't set custom reminder options in the calendar. When I have an appointment at 10.00 AM and it takes an hour to drive to the appointment, I want a reminder 90 minutes before the meeting. The nearest options are 1 hour of 18(!) hours. My current workaround is to schedule travel time seperated from the appointment and set a reminder on the traveltime and disable the reminder on the actual appointment.

I also notice that my start screen get's a bit crowded. It would be nice to create and access folders like work and private by either clicking a tile or by scrolling horizontal.

Little things, I know, but they make my (mobile) life very hard. I'm sure it will be fixed in future version of Windows Phone.

For developers the Tasks application of Telerik is a good example.

Hi Dave!
I completely agree with you on those things, and the fact that there are some annoyances with WP7. But all in all, I am quite impressed how far the phone has come in just 2 releases. Especially without copying the other OS:s...
I'm not too sure about the folders for the start screen. Maybe if they weren't folders, and instead were like "modes", which would make sense. Microsoft is focusing on features like that with the different calendars and things.
Personally I would love to have a slightly higher res screen, but other than that I am quite happy!
// Chris

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