Windows Phone 7 - a disappointment
I am, or was until today, a big fan of WM based on:
- the easy UI customization
- plethora of business class 3rd party apps
- available alternate browsers which did both the full / mobile web well
- the ability to purchase apps from multiple places
- open file system with included file explorer
- a wide variety of screen sizes / physical keyboards
- Copy / Paste
I will reserve final judgement on Windows Phone Series 7 until the specs are finalized, and I have a chance to play with the new OS. I like the current standard pre-Series 7 WM interface customized with utilities such as Pocket Plus, and I multi-task applications daily. I have tried the slicker UI shells for WM, but usually end up back with the standard UI utilizing Pocket Plus enhancements. From my perspective, the pendulum has swung way too far in the direction of how pretty, animated, and slick the UI's are vs. does the device do what you want easily, quickly, reliably, and with the minimum number of inputs. It seems that no matter how feature deficient a device may be, and how many more steps it takes to perform a task, it is ok with the tech press as long as there are multiple animated transitions, and it looks "cool". Whenever the iPhone is mentioned in the mainstream, and tech press, the comments range in tone from salivating to orgasmic with barely a mention of the many features missing that other smartphones have included for years. Of course some Apple fans tell us those missing features are not needed. It is funny that when Apple adds one of the missing features in a software upgrade, those same Apple fans praise the new (old for other vendors) feature as a major innovation, and act like Apple invented the feature that has been around for years in other platforms.
I realize MS had to make a major change to keep pace with the more modern over-hyped, finger friendly, eye candy focused phone OS's, and I do not have a problem with that per se. Unfortunately, IMO, they went too far, and threw the baby out with the bath water, Based on the limited info available, the things I liked about WM such as multi-tasking, and customizable UI's have been discarded for extensive social network integration, and slickness. I know I am probably in the minority, but I am disappointed with this release.
I will reserve final judgement until the Windows Phone Series 7 specs are finalized; however, based on the initial info available, this long time WM fan (over a dozen WM PDAs / Smartphones) may switch to another platform, probably Android since the iPhone is too limited for my needs. I hope MS announces that many of the features power users like with WM are still there, and they only showcased the new features in their Barcelona presentation.Update March 15, 2010
The news posted on the gadget sites from the MIX10 Conference are not encouraging (from my perspective). Yes, the interface is cool, and the hub concept is certainly unique, but (and these are just the big negatives):
- no / limited multitasking
- no UI customization
- no external storage cards
- all apps must be purchased from the Microsoft Marketplace
- no user accessible file system (apps can only see their directory) - this is the killer for me
Goodbye WM, it was nice while it lasted. I may purchase a HTC HD2 with WM 6.5.3 while they are available, and (if I purchase), the HD2 will be my last WM device unless I purchase a used Classic WM device from eBay. Another option is to skip the HD2, and go directly to Android when my current contract is finished since the iPhone is way too feature deficient for my needs. If I wanted a feature deficient, over-controlled "smartphone", I would have already purchased the iPhone.Update March 17, 2010
The final straw was announced today by Microsoft at MIX10, no copy / paste. Unless Microsoft comes to their senses before I need another smartphone, definitely hello Android, goodbye Windows Mobile. In fact, their stripping of all the features I liked about WM from Series 7 has disappointed / annoyed me so much, I am not sure they could win me back even if they returned all my favorite features.Update March 26, 2010
Still have not changed my mind about how disappointing the new Windows Phone Series 7 is for me. MS basically threw out, or severely restricted the features I like while adding in the features that are of little interest to me. My current Sprint contract is up the end of October, and my Touch Pro is still running fine. I have not decided whether to purchase the HTC HD2 (probably the best WM Classic phone every made), or go directly to Android possibly the new Sprint HTC Android EVO 4G that should be available this summer. Fortunately, I have 7 months to make up my mind, and maybe Microsoft will have come to its senses by then, and restored the features us power users cherish. Since I am already a Sprint customer, I could probably upgrade to the EVO when it is released in the summer rather than waiting until the end of October.Clarification
Although I probably will not buy another Windows Mobile device after Series 7 is released, I will still use Windows Mobile devices. Since the "Classic" Windows Mobile meets my needs better than any other platform, I will continue to use my current devices until the hardware fails, or a killer app is released on Android. Although I have newer devices, I still use two 2004 era Toshiba e830 WM based PDA's daily for browsing, database entry, calendar, contacts, and spreadsheets. Pocket IE is constantly maligned in the tech press because it does not display full pages well. My personal preference is to view mobile sites on screens < 7". The older versions of Pocket IE are excellent for mobile sites, forums, and popular single column pages like Craigslist. Pocket IE allows you to increase the text size to a comfortable reading size, and flows the text properly to eliminate the need for the dreaded horizontal scrolling. This ability to increase text size with proper text flow is essential as you get older. Unfortunately, Mobile Safari, although excellent for full webpages, displays some single column pages with too small a font size to read comfortably even after using double tap zoom. If you pinch zoom with mobile Safari, unfortunately the text does not reflow, and you are forced to horizontally scroll to read every line which gets very old very quickly.