Hi, I'm iPhone Rene, and You're Windows Phone? -- Round Robin

Rene Ritchie

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Wow, I turn away from WMExperts for a year and you guys go and get all nu-cu-lar with that massive HD2? Talk about bringing a tablet to a smartphone round robin!

Anyway, it's great to be back, and I'm way out of my depth, and Mal keeps threatening to cook my ROM (which sounds really aggressive, frankly) and so I need your help. My closed-system, form-over-function, candy-coated mind needs opening.

Here's what I'm grappling with:

1) I just accused Google and Microsoft of making smartphones because they felt they had to for business reasons, not because they *really* wanted the phones themselves. Am I right or wrong? Does Steve Ballmer himself love Windows Phone as much as Steve Jobs loves iPhone? If not, is that a problem for the platform and the users who do?

2) What's with the branding? Seriously? Why is there an Xbox, a Zune, and a Windows Phone? Xbox is an incredibly successful brand. Why didn't Microsoft call the Zune Xpack (or whatever), and change WinMo to XPhone. And why didn't ZuneHD use the same tech as the Xbox, and why doesn't WinMo use the same tech as Xbox and Zune? With Apple, everything uses the same stuff, the same store, and the iPod touch and iPhone run the same apps. Why didn't Microsoft do that 5 years ago?

3) Most of the press seem to have discounted WinMo 6.5 as just another placeholder in a long line of incremental placeholders. Is that fair or false? Did Microsoft bring enough to WinMo 6.5 to keep the faithful for another year, or was it really a full on update to delight all of you now, regardless of future OS?

4) And speaking of future OS, what's Windows Mobile 7? Is it the ZuneHD with a phone? With Xbox integration? Will it finally be the OS only Microsoft is really big and boss enough or pull the trigger on? And if it only comes out by the end of the year, is that soon enough?

5) Mindshare. Windows Mobile doesn't get mentioned much in the smartphone space anymore. Fair or frakked, the common conversations swirl around the iPhone and Android, often with BlackBerry, sometimes with Palm thrown in. Does it matter Windows Mobile isn't in the public mind more? Is Windows Phone branding going to change that? Does Microsoft need to change it? And how can they?

Thanks much! I look forward to learning much more about Microsoft's mobile platform! And remember, this is an OFFICIAL Smartphone Round Robin thread, so every day you reply, you get another chance to win your choice of Windows Phones! (Get the details: http://www.smartphoneroundrobin.com/)
 
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Dave Blake

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Welcome back were glad you had a chance to join us. How?s life in the box? lol :) I will try to answer your questions even though I think they are all really related to just one answer.

1) I think you are correct Google wants everything for themselves and that?s okay for them but for Microsoft I think like many Microsoft projects Windows Phone has been neglected Microsoft thought they had the advantage with there business resources that was all they needed. At this point Microsoft has almost missed the boat on this emerging market I think Microsoft really thought they had more time. I think Steve Ballmer is a little embarrassed by the situation and is putting more resources towards the future of Windows Mobile/Windows Phone. This is evident in some of what he has said and in some of the additional advertising we have seen recently. I have used WM phones and PPC?s for years until this year I had not seen any ads for WM sponsored by Microsoft. Can Steve Ballmer make WM a platform he is proud of? I think he will and I think we will see this with MW7.
2) They are not the same product they have different places in the market and deserve/demand there own branding. Xbox, Zune, and Windows Phone branding is okay with me but they all need to be introduced as Microsoft products I think this would help people to understand that they are all related. It is obvious to me by the content of the commercials that Microsoft is trying to get this message across to the average consumer IE ?take your windows stuff with you? from the commercials. ?iPod touch and iPhone run the same apps? I feel certain that in WM7 they will I just hope that Microsoft does not lock down the platform the way that iPhone has. ?My closed-system, form-over-function, candy-coated mind needs opening.?
3) I would say just another step and for me there is nothing wrong with that. Ever since the converged devices came in to existence every device I have owned has improved my experience. Just 5 years ago when I had my PPC6600 which was my first converged device it was running on WMP-2003 had a 240x320 QVGA screen I would say we have come a long way in 5 years. As technology has changed the platform has struggled to take advantage of what is available. How many different forum factors are there available in the iPhone world? I am an individual I will have choices I change forum factors/devices a couple of times a year just to keep things interesting so for me I am delighted by every step I have experienced with Windows Mobile so yes Windows Phone is enough to keep this enthusiast coming back for more.
4) I think we all hope Windows Mobile 7 rocks the world but I thing it will be another step hopefully taking advantage of all the technology available today and it must incorporate XBOX and Zune any thing else would be a failure on the part of Microsoft. At this point I have enough to play with to keep me happy for another year so if it takes till 2011 to put out that big go get it update Microsoft can deliver I am fine with that. I have already started saving my nickels because come December or January I want to be one of the first to jump on WM7.
5) I would say that?s a fare statement, there is plenty of Droid iPhone buzz going out there and Yes it matters, if Microsoft doesn?t invest the moneys necessary to keep this platform in the main stream WM7 could be too little to late. The general public is just now starting to get interested in smart phones it is up to Microsoft to decide where they want to be in this market.


All your questions really boil down to one answer Marketing. Microsoft is its own problem here and marketing is the key. IMHO Microsoft has the advantage here over every platform. There is something that WM has that all the others don?t question is will the Big M invest the monies necessary to let the masses know? Can Microsoft propel WM7 I hope so?

Dave
 

badersk

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Wow, I turn away from WMExperts for a year and you guys go and get all nu-cu-lar with that massive HD2? Talk about bringing a tablet to a smartphone round robin!

Anyway, it's great to be back, and I'm way out of my depth, and Mal keeps threatening to cook my ROM (which sounds really aggressive, frankly) and so I need your help. My closed-system, form-over-function, candy-coated mind needs opening.

Here's what I'm grappling with:

1) I think for Microsoft, at least initially, you are right. I don't think until the iPhone they thought consumers were looking for a smartphone, but they finally realize they were wrong. Google just wants to be on top of everything. I don't think Steve Ballmer really gave WM much thought until the bad press they got with 6.5.

2) I never really gave this much thought because while I have been a WM user for a long time I don't have an Xbox or Zune. But now that you mention it there could be more cohesiveness in the Microsoft branding, but I do believe they are working toward better integration, if you just look at the interface of the Zune HD, WM6.5 titanium, Windows Media center and the Xbox they do look similar. Hopefully they will integrate the store as well.

3) The tech press really like to discount Microsoft altogether however with Windows 7 they simply could not because it is such a good OS, they did however ignore many of the core improvements of WM6.5 in that they improved the menus, battery life and memory management. They should have done more I will agree but it is much easier to use than many give it credit for and is a very powerful OS. Knowing up front it was an interim release, I was pleased with it, but WM 7 needs to be much much more. There was a post on engadget about the failings of Microsoft in the mobile space and one of the comments really highlighted the good and bad of WM and what needed to be done to fix it, in fact the comment was better than the post.

4) I hope so. I don't care about Xbox integration but I really would like to see it have the zune software integration with support for coding video straight from WMC to the Zune software. Also use the Zune software instead of Mobile device center.

5) I believe it does matter especially in the consumer space, because consumers listen to what the media tell them they should want and if they don't like WM for any reason the public doesn't know. I have had many people who have never used WM tell me that I would be better of with an iPhone or android because it can do more than WM and that is not true, it is prettier and easier but not more functional. So do I think WM gets short changed? Yes. Has Microsoft brought it on themselves? Yes. I hope the Windows Phone branding will help but until they can make the Tech media excited about it, I don't think it will.

Thanks for such an enjoyable and balanced Round Robin.
 

Rico

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1) I just accused Google and Microsoft of making smartphones because they felt they had to for business reasons, not because they *really* wanted the phones themselves. Am I right or wrong? Does Steve Ballmer himself love Windows Phone as much as Steve Jobs loves iPhone? If not, is that a problem for the platform and the users who do?
As a company Google simply wants another way to data mine humans. That's it. Search is still their bread and butter. Microsoft wants "Windows Everywhere", which in turn means licenses sold everywhere and more people in the Microsoft ecosystem. Apple, Palm, RIM, and Nokia seem to be the companies more "personally" invested in delivering a smartphone.

As best i remember, Windows Mobile was never intended for phones; it was strictly a PDA platform, until Microsoft realized that Windows Mobile onto devices with cellular radios and calling them smartphones allowed them to compete with Palm in another arena. With the release of the iPhone, everything changed, and they slowly started to realize that they couldn't do that anymore.

2) What's with the branding? Seriously? Why is there an Xbox, a Zune, and a Windows Phone? Xbox is an incredibly successful brand. Why didn't Microsoft call the Zune Xpack (or whatever), and change WinMo to XPhone. And why didn't ZuneHD use the same tech as the Xbox, and why doesn't WinMo use the same tech as Xbox and Zune? With Apple, everything uses the same stuff, the same store, and the iPod touch and iPhone run the same apps. Why didn't Microsoft do that 5 years ago?
Horses for courses. Xbox and Zune reach different, generally more specific (read: younger, more tech friendly) markets than a product like Windows Mobile. By tech, i'm assuming you mean the software side of things, like OSes and APIs. The Xbox and ZuneHD can both use XNA for game development. The Xbox doesn't run Windows Mobile because Windows Mobile is a subset of Window CE (which the Dreamcast used) and doesn't scale well upwardly. The ZuneHD likely runs Windows CE over Windows Mobile, as the former is simply a better fit for the device. Of course, i'm talking a bit out of my hind end here.

Part of the reason we don't see the same platform between devices is that Windows, unlike Apple, is EVERYWHERE. It's on every form factor -- desktop, laptop, MIDs, PDAs and smartphones, embedded devices like in-car media units, etc. i'd love to see two OSes which scaled to fit their platforms magically run all those devices, but i doubt that'll happen with Microsoft. Even the iPhone is running a subset of OSX. Given the difference in expectations between hardware and an OS, it's no necessary to run a full OS on a device with a fraction of the capabilities of a desktop.

i'd also toss in the fact that from stories posted on the web and in books, Microsoft's development teams are so horribly mismanaged and bureaucratic that it's a wonder anything gets done. Five years ago, OSX was the only real competition to Microsoft as a whole. They had no reason to really compete, and without that no real reason to make real their promises of an integrated lifestyle.

3) Most of the press seem to have discounted WinMo 6.5 as just another placeholder in a long line of incremental placeholders. Is that fair or false? Did Microsoft bring enough to WinMo 6.5 to keep the faithful for another year, or was it really a full on update to delight all of you now, regardless of future OS?
Speaking solely of units sold in the US, i'd say it largely doesn't matter simply because HTC, Samsung, and LG are the three Windows Mobile ODMs that we see here, and all three have skinned the OS to obscure much of stock GUI. It's not as smooth a workflow as the iPhone, but that's partially to be expected when you allow companies to skin your interface.

Windows Mobile 6.5 is solid, and newer builds bring some visual freshness, but let's be honest, what enthusiast doesn't want the latest and greatest? Who among us doesn't want (not necessarily need) that sort of wow that devices like the iPhone have? i really want to see what MS has cooking for Windows Mobile 7 as they know just how important a release it is. We've also seen them make some big strides in UIs with the Xbox 360, Zune HD, Office 2007, and to a slightly lesser extent, Window 7.

4) And speaking of future OS, what's Windows Mobile 7? Is it the ZuneHD with a phone? With Xbox integration? Will it finally be the OS only Microsoft is really big and boss enough or pull the trigger on? And if it only comes out by the end of the year, is that soon enough?
The phrase "Zune HD with a phone" needs to die as much as "iPhone killer" and "lipstick on a pig". The Zune HD interface is a decent launcher and presents information cleanly (aside from the annoying superfont style which clips data off the screen ineloquently), but it's hardly enough fulfill the needs of a smartphone.

Microsoft finally gets it. They've been pushed into a corner from the likes of Apple, Google, and Palm. They know that UX is as important if not moreso as a bulleted list of features Windows Mobile 7 will likely ship with. Zune and Xbox integration should be out of the box. Windows Mobile 7 likely offer features that none of its competitors offer. And like the Zune, it likely won't destroy its Apple equivalent, but it'll offer very compelling reasons to switch.

A holiday 2010 release isn't really that bad a thing. They need the time to make sure they get it [mostly] right the first time, unlike with Windows Mobile 6.5 which was pushed out the door to make the holiday season, and is already looking dated with Windows Mobile 6.5.3.

5) Mindshare. Windows Mobile doesn't get mentioned much in the smartphone space anymore. Fair or frakked, the common conversations swirl around the iPhone and Android, often with BlackBerry, sometimes with Palm thrown in. Does it matter Windows Mobile isn't in the public mind more? Is Windows Phone branding going to change that? Does Microsoft need to change it? And how can they?
i think the Windows Phone branding will really help, along with a "Windows Experience" phone as mentioned on the most recent WM Experts podcast, a device which lacks ODM customization and sticks with the stock Windows Mobile 7 UI. Given that, Android devices are the most similar. RIM controls the Blackberry UI as Apple and Palm do with their respective UIs. With such control over the UI and ultimately the UX, it's easier to maintain a brand.
 
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Fobok

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Wow, I just now noticed this thread. Is it not liked from the Round Robin webpage? Does that mean all the posts this last week in the other thread don't count for the contest?

Anyway! I agree with pretty much everything you've brought up. Personally, I would love to see some combined branding across Microsoft devices, as well as a cross-compatibility. If Windows Mobile supported (or supports, it might already and I don't even know) some kind of cross-device syncing and media playback, like I can play media files from my PC on my XBox, could I do the same with a Windows Mobile phone? I can't even think of any more features offhand, but still. I have a Windows PC, and an Xbox. A phone that could somehow tie into those two things and create a unified experience would be great.
 

Fobok

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I'm not really sure which thread, or both, count this week for the round robin, so posting in both. I know only one will count if both threads do. :)
 

Rene Ritchie

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AND... we're back!

Sorry for the delay, what with New Year and CES 2010, we lost a week. But now the Round Robin is once again in full swing and, having spent some time at Microsoft's Windows Phone booth over the last few days, I have a better idea of "what is" for the platform. Better, as in not as bad as before -- I still need your help!

If you haven't already, please give me your input on the questions above!

And add in -- What did you think of Windows Phone's presence in Steve Ballmer's CES 2010 Keynote? Enough? Not enough? What?!
 

Fobok

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And add in -- What did you think of Windows Phone's presence in Steve Ballmer's CES 2010 Keynote? Enough? Not enough? What?!

Maybe it was just the liveblog coverage I was following, given I was following a gaming site's coverage which, of course, was mainly focused on the Xbox stuff, but there didn't seem to be too much at all. Given that there's a mobile-centric convention coming up, though, I guess that's not all that surprising.
 

Rico

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i'm shocked there hasn't been a greater response to this thread, largely given the iPhone's status as "the one to beat" in the smartphone market.

And add in -- What did you think of Windows Phone's presence in Steve Ballmer's CES 2010 Keynote? Enough? Not enough? What?!
i really expected more info from exhibitors on the floor with whatever Windows Mobile devices they have than from Microsoft officially, and that's what happened. CES is largely a gadget show for consumers. Next year's CES we'll see a number of Windows Mobile 7 phones i'm sure, and i'm sure Microsoft will demonstrate how Windows Mobile 7 phones tie into their three screens strategy. We actually saw a bit of that with the HD2 demoing their media streaming app/service.
 

Fobok

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i'm shocked there hasn't been a greater response to this thread, largely given the iPhone's status as "the one to beat" in the smartphone market.

I think the problem is this thread isn't linked yet on the Round Robin page, so people are still being sent to the earlier thread.
 

Rene Ritchie

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It's me. I'm off putting. But I'm hoping you all will help me anyway.

So, Sense UI, is that hiding the true power/purpose of Windows Mobile on these two devices? Last year I liked the Treo Pro more than the Touch Pro 1 because it was so unabashedly WinMo -- fast, fiddly, and front-facing. Now it seems hard to find a plain vanilla (or Titanium) Windows Phone.

Are we losing something in the race by HTC and others to become more mainstream friendly and accessible?
 

jankyhanky#WP

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1. Of course Microsoft doesn't care. Their bread and butter are Windows and Office. WinMo has it's purpose with niche clients such as the military, inventory scanners, etc.
2. Microsoft doesn't seem to want unified branding like Apple. Apple sells a culture / lifestyle. Windows sells products.
3. 6.5 is pretty much still the same as 6.1.
4. WinMo 7 will be a surprise to us all, if it even exists.
5. Google and Apple have brand advantage. Everyone loves their names.
 

Fobok

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Are we losing something in the race by HTC and others to become more mainstream friendly and accessible?

In the case of Windows Mobile 6.x, I don't think so. I think the interface has such a bad reputation it's driving people away. Things like Sense UI hide that interface, which I think helps keep the platform alive.

Now, Windows Mobile 7 very well might not need hiding, so if they do continue to put those UI's over top of it, then we might very well be losing something. We'll just have to wait and see.
 

jankyhanky#WP

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Touchflo, Wizbar, and some of these UI's have been over the top or just plain silly. WinMo 6.5 and even 6.1's interfaces work fine. They just aren't very good looking. Touchflo makes winmo HARDER to use. I can safely say that I would never use the messages and the contacts panel on touchflo.


I would be happy if WinMo cleaned itself up so that HTC wouldn't want to skin it anymore.
 

nihouma

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It's me. I'm off putting. But I'm hoping you all will help me anyway.

So, Sense UI, is that hiding the true power/purpose of Windows Mobile on these two devices? Last year I liked the Treo Pro more than the Touch Pro 1 because it was so unabashedly WinMo -- fast, fiddly, and front-facing. Now it seems hard to find a plain vanilla (or Titanium) Windows Phone.

Are we losing something in the race by HTC and others to become more mainstream friendly and accessible?

It definitely takes the power and tucks it away in a corner. But it doesn't hide it. You can still see it without looking.

I think without what HTC and others did, Windows Mobile wouldn't even be getting any press. Imagine the Touch Pro2 wow-ing anybody when you are stuck with the default 6.1 today screen. Maybe 5 years ago, but this is the age of UI and UX. Sense definitely brings both of those to today.
 

Fobok

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I think without what HTC and others did, Windows Mobile wouldn't even be getting any press. Imagine the Touch Pro2 wow-ing anybody when you are stuck with the default 6.1 today screen. Maybe 5 years ago, but this is the age of UI and UX. Sense definitely brings both of those to today.

Totally agreed, 5 years ago it would have been (was? Not sure how old 6.1 is, though can't imagine it being that old) amazing. Not today. Not from the videos I've seen anyway.

I'm hoping 7 will be, though.
 

nihouma

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Totally agreed, 5 years ago it would have been (was? Not sure how old 6.1 is, though can't imagine it being that old) amazing. Not today. Not from the videos I've seen anyway.

I'm hoping 7 will be, though.

If those so-called "leaked" shots of 7 are real, I'm probably gone. Unless HTC can pretty it up. Seriously though, Microsoft has to make a killer UI and UX if it wants 7 to succeed. One that beats not just iPhone, but Android, webOS, and Symbian^84822838. It has to feel easy, but also flashy all the way down. That is what UI and UX has become. Not only easy, but also flashy.

And the UI and UX of WM didn't change at all from 5.0 to 6.1. It was almost exactly the same all the way through :(
 

jankyhanky#WP

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The UI on TouchPro2 is way too over the top. What's wrong with 6.5 stock? The new HP
iPaq Glisten and LG Expo left it almost intact on their new phones.
 

eXPerience333#WP

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Wow, I turn away from WMExperts for a year and you guys go and get all nu-cu-lar with that massive HD2? Talk about bringing a tablet to a smartphone round robin!

Anyway, it's great to be back, and I'm way out of my depth, and Mal keeps threatening to cook my ROM (which sounds really aggressive, frankly) and so I need your help. My closed-system, form-over-function, candy-coated mind needs opening.

Here's what I'm grappling with:

1) I just accused Google and Microsoft of making smartphones because they felt they had to for business reasons, not because they *really* wanted the phones themselves. Am I right or wrong? Does Steve Ballmer himself love Windows Phone as much as Steve Jobs loves iPhone? If not, is that a problem for the platform and the users who do?

2) What's with the branding? Seriously? Why is there an Xbox, a Zune, and a Windows Phone? Xbox is an incredibly successful brand. Why didn't Microsoft call the Zune Xpack (or whatever), and change WinMo to XPhone. And why didn't ZuneHD use the same tech as the Xbox, and why doesn't WinMo use the same tech as Xbox and Zune? With Apple, everything uses the same stuff, the same store, and the iPod touch and iPhone run the same apps. Why didn't Microsoft do that 5 years ago?

3) Most of the press seem to have discounted WinMo 6.5 as just another placeholder in a long line of incremental placeholders. Is that fair or false? Did Microsoft bring enough to WinMo 6.5 to keep the faithful for another year, or was it really a full on update to delight all of you now, regardless of future OS?

4) And speaking of future OS, what's Windows Mobile 7? Is it the ZuneHD with a phone? With Xbox integration? Will it finally be the OS only Microsoft is really big and boss enough or pull the trigger on? And if it only comes out by the end of the year, is that soon enough?

5) Mindshare. Windows Mobile doesn't get mentioned much in the smartphone space anymore. Fair or frakked, the common conversations swirl around the iPhone and Android, often with BlackBerry, sometimes with Palm thrown in. Does it matter Windows Mobile isn't in the public mind more? Is Windows Phone branding going to change that? Does Microsoft need to change it? And how can they?

Thanks much! I look forward to learning much more about Microsoft's mobile platform! And remember, this is an OFFICIAL Smartphone Round Robin thread, so every day you reply, you get another chance to win your choice of Windows Phones! (Get the details: http://www.smartphoneroundrobin.com/)


The simple fact that android and microsoft make their phones just for competition really shades the glory for them.
 

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