Windows Phone 7 Press Conference, October 2011

The WP7 launch is an excellent 1.0 launch, especially by Microsoft standards. However, the version of Internet Explorer running on the launch WP7 devices is a liability, not an asset.

Oh, I’m not saying he’s wrong about fragmentation or necessarily factually wrong about any of it – I haven’t used a WP7 phone, so I’m in no position to judge.

It’s just that his post sounds like it was lifted from a friggin’ Microsoft marketing press kit.

Yup! It’s also pretty damn ironic/startling to see such an unabashed Microsoft fanboy.

Do you work there LMN8R? Do you own a lot of stock? Where is this pathos coming from?

I agree. Granted, they’ve done a lot of work with it and it’s fast and smooth and has a very good “optimized for a phone screen” experience. Zooming and text rendering and so on.

But from the point of view of a modern browser feature set, they’re way behind. They need an IE9-based browser renderer in there. Not that IE9 is actually finished. (I mention IE9 because there’s no way MS will base their mobile OS browser on anything that isn’t IE, not because it’s the best out there).

As for stuff they’re doing that wasn’t in Android 2.0 or iOS 3.0…

Sure, it’s hard not to sound like a press release, but hey, the basic facts of these things are out there and quite frequently discussed. Xbox Live, the live tiles, the “hub” thing that devs can plug into, Office apps, consistent app trial versions in the marketplace (with one-click upgrades, not buying a separate “full” version), their web portal stuff is ahead of what you get by default on those others (find your phone, make it sound, pull pictures, etc.)…

Some of the stuff is more like what was integrated by vendors like HTC into androids, like a unified contacts list that pulls in from your Facebook as well as your other contact lists.

Really, none of that (except maybe the Xbox Live stuff) is all that big a deal. What will make Win Phone 7 a success or not is probably the way the whole UI and phone organization works. It’s actually not just a grid of app launching icons and folders like iOS or Android. The whole tile/hub thing really is something a bit different, and that’s probably what will sell people on it or not. You’ll either get your hands on one in a store or from a friend or something and say “oh this is smooth and quick and a neat and different way to use a smartphone” or you’ll say “I’d rather have a grid of discrete apps and home screen gadgets.” I suspect there will be a whole lot of “to each their own” going on, and a fair amount of “I’m invested in this one thing so I have to hate this other thing to justify my purchases.”

I have a hard time getting a feel for how well the world at large will like the Win Phone 7 UI method. But once you use it a little, it does strike you - love it or hate it - as legitimately different enough that you wouldn’t make a purchase decision simply based on whether or not the OS has Feature X.

Let’s ditch the “fanboy” accusations and “you must work there / own stock” claims and focus on the actual product, hmm?

I’m coming at this from a prospective consumer who’s owned and loved his iPhone for more than two years, yet has been watching videos and reading about WP7 for the last 6+ months since it’s announcement. As someone who absolute loved the Zune HD and simply wanted a phone added on to it.

Forgive me if I sound like a “fanboy”, but for fuck’s sake have you guys actually watched the more in-depth videos on this thing? Actual looks at how things come together instead of one-off screenshots or quick short video clips? If it was any company but Microsoft showing the exact same stuff, everyone would be raving about how amazing it all looks. I’m remarkably impressed by how it all came together.

But I deliberately let my iPhone contract slide simply because I’m impressed by what’s actually been shown.

There are a lot of simple brushes aside, “Microsoft’s too slow / too late / too <x>”, “what does it do”, etc., but I frankly think the OS speaks for itself. Some of you call me a fanboy, but I don’t really see anyone pointing out actual specifics, and reasonable explanations for where it lacks or in any way opposes what I’ve said so far. Who knows if it’ll actually be successful in the long run, but IMO, who cares? If it has the devices (it does), the OS (it does), the games I want (looks like it), and the applications I care about (hopefully will, still TBD on some), then why do I care if it becomes the most successful thing out there?

It’s not just me either. Seems like the most cynical tech blogs and Apple-focused journalists are taking note too. This thread seems like the odd outlier.

How about this - since I’m the one asking for specifics, I’ll give some of the specifics of my own, examples of what have really impressed me and will be important to me personally:

-I use Facebook a lot. All my friends are on Facebook. Having the option (yes, option) to tie Facebook to my phone is appealing. Just try out this demo:

-Office is extremely important to me. Having OneNote right there will be extremely helpful. Being able to seamlessly open attachments in my e-mail, make edits, save changes, and sending things back right from my phone without losing any of the document formatting will be practically a godsend.

-The integration of e-mail with meeting notices with the calendar looks far more straightforward and powerful than my iPhone. Sending customized responses to meeting invites, the way meetings show up in the calendar, the “I’ll be late” button, etc. Heck, just the text formatting of e-mail and the calendar look far more pleasing to me than my iPhone

-Flagging e-mail items for follow up: FINALLY. I use this all the time in Outlook, and it’s incredibly annoying that I can’t flag items on my iPhone

-I love the Zune software, and now I can actually use it to sync my phone instead of iTunes. Yes! Thank you! Xbox Live stuff is neat, but that wasn’t a big deal for me. I just like having the same profile for Zune + Windows Live + Xbox Live, and now have an opportunity to use it more.

-The way pictures and video aggregate stuff from multiple sources will be helpful. Not just how the Photos hub shows local stuff, Facebook stuff, etc., but also the way that third-party applications can integrate into those built-in hubs too. The way, say, the Netflix app can put recent Netflix-watched videos in the general “recently watched videos” list right alongside something I recently watched on Youtube and something else I recently watched through Zune

-Bing is actually very impressive here. I’m not talking about the maps, or basic directions, or all that other stuff that Google Maps does perfectly fine, but again the way it integrates across answering multiple questions. Bing searches return maps when appropriate. Maps have locations. Locations have reviews built right into it. No need to switch between Google Maps and Yelp or switch between Yelp and Facebook or between Facebook and my local Phone contacts. It’s all tied together intuitively.

-Even the camera implementation is nifty. Being able to take a picture within 1-2 seconds of taking it out of your pocket without even needing to unlock the screen, the way pictures just slide off the the side and can easily be brought back right after taking them, etc. Lots of “why the heck hasn’t this been done before?” ideas that Steve Jobs would know how to turn into “the most amazing thing ever”

So…uh…yeah. That’s the type of stuff I’m talking about - not just simple one-off features, but rather how everything seems integrated really well, really thoughtfully, both with just built-in things made by Microsoft and extensibility with third-party applications without extra complications.

I’ve actually done more than just watch videos of the thing. ;-)

Anyway, the fanboy comment is somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Only somewhat, though. It seems that you spring to Microsoft’s defense in pretty much all matters. I remember you raving about Silverlight with, if anything, even more enthusiasm than you’ve shown in this thread.

You come off as a bad viral marketer. I’m still giving you the benefit of doubt – but just barely.

BTW, Google LMN8R and pretty much any MS buzz word.

I dare you to ask me for my opinion on GFW Live or Internet Explorer (yes, including IE9) then. Why don’t you start by googling “lmn8r gfw live”, while you’re at it?

And yes, that was probably me enthusiastic about Silverlight. And you know what? It still rocks. I prefer it live-stremaing video to Flash any day, and it’s an important part of Windows Phone 7 too for that matter. I doubt it has much of a future outside of Windows Phone 7, but its mainstream adoption isn’t exactly because of its quality.

If I come off as a “viral marketer”, that’s because I’m passionate about what I like. Whether it happens to be something out of Microsoft, Valve, Google, or whatever. Google LMN8R and Steam or Chrome and you’ll probably find the same stuff :-)

When you put the word “bad” in front of viral marketer, that just hurts. I happen to think my reasons for holding my opinions are pretty rock-solid. That’s because I know the products I like really well. I also know the products I hate really well (again, google “lmn8r gfw live”). What can I say? Should I stop having discussions on discussion boards?

This discussion seems awfully one-way when it comes to concrete examples to back up opinions.

You should notice that neither StGabe or I are saying you’re factually wrong about whether WP7 is any good. Like I said before, I haven’t used it. Maybe it really is the second coming of Christ, but I don’t know and won’t know until there’s an actual device in my hand.

My point is simply that you come off as a shill, and that makes it hard to accept what you’re saying as true without independent corroboration.

Maybe that’s just because you’re ‘passionate’, but it’s still kinda weird.

If you think my descriptions are equivalent to “the second coming of Christ”, perhaps it’s because your expectations of Microsoft and familiarity with Windows Phone 7 are so negative from the outset and not because my descriptions are exaggerated or hyperbolic?

If this was an Apple or Google product with the same types of descriptions, I doubt there would be any accusation of “shill”. I gave extremely specific examples of things the devices actually do, and things that have been demoed countless times by both Microsoft and videos on blogs, and are things that anyone with some familiarity about it would already understand.

I honestly don’t know how anyone could have described objective observations and step-by-step procedures without sounding like a “shill”. Has the internet really gotten so cynical that such simple descriptions are immediately presumed to be corporately sponsored?

Let’s move this conversation away from me, shall we? I think my original posts were decent enough, and then I gave a pretty good defense of my original posts, and now you’re having me defend my defense. All the while, it seems like I’m the only one who’s actually said anything specific about the actual phones. That’s what this thread is about, right? Windows Phone 7?

First of all, yes you would. I get called an Apple fanboy all the time.

Secondly your ability to repeat MS marketing isn’t exactly inspiring. Many of us have seen all that … and yet there are still a lot of things to be concerned about with the phone. And, objectively, not only is it a few years late to the party and but it’s still going to be launch way behind the iPhone and Android. If you want to be taken seriously you might want to mix in a few other, less positive factoids. Basic fanboyism usually comes down to a blindness with respect to any faults in a product. Post all the “objective bullet points” you want but if you ignore anything that didn’t come out of a MS press release then you’re just not going to be taken seriously.

I mean “yay, I get to flag whatsits in that one MS program”. That’s awesome! Shit, lots of mobile web sites won’t work in IE. Which of those two things do you think is going to impact more people?

My understanding is the AT&T and TMobile focus has more to do with network architecture than any actual preference here (it’s launching on carriers that are GSM, and not on carriers that are CDMA)

So… it’ll appeal to Microsoft mid-level managers, who can use it to cut bureaucracy?

For god’s sake, I’m not “repeating MS marketing”. I mentioned specific, actual things that I’ve seen countless times in videos produced by both professional and amateur blogs - other fans who are actually using test devices and discovering things entirely on their own. I see them demonstrate those things, I in turn get excited.

Personally, after using my iPhone for 2+ years, I care a shitload more about what I mentioned than a few mobile web sites that might not work. I barely ever use Safari on my iPhone.

Same thing goes for other missing features - copy/paste, front-facing camera, multitasking, etc. They’re definitely things lacking, them and others should be there at launch and they’re not, which sucks. But again, the positive stuff about the phone matters more for me personally than the genuinely bad stuff about the phone.

The bad stuff will be fixed over time. The good stuff is fundamental to the entire platform, and if that good stuff wasn’t there at launch, it would be far more difficult to add it in later that the bad stuff that’s missing now. Copy/paste and multitasking are far easier to add in later than comprehensive integration between 5-10 different services and an application platform that’s extensible by third parties.

What’s up with the negativity? The main purpose of WP7 v1.0 isn’t to compete with android and iPhone. I mean, it sorta is, but it’s main dealie is to keep all those people on WM6.5 from switching. Seriously. If you look at the feature set, even though MS isn’t targeting enterprise seriously with their advertising or feature set, the Office - especially Outlook - integration is really, really good. As far as Exchange support goes WP7 will be the best. Game. Set. Match. Most of the people in Bing who have iPhones have turned off the e-mail this week due to bugs. The outlook integration will be perfect. Most of the people still on windows mobile are on At&t and t-mobile. They had the most popular phones (blackjack 1 & 2, t-mobile dash, shadow, and wing).
The other thing WP7 does is join zune and MS’s phone story into 1 coherent strategy. I get the WM6.X hate. I get the kin hate. But WP7 will be a solid player. Right now there is iPhone, android, Blackberry, and palm. Palm is faltering and Blackberry is seriously behind the ball, more so than WP7 i’d say. They have enormous market share, but their future story is murky at best. MS has a great opportunity to scoop up market share here.

That’s silly for two reasons. The first is: What are people with WM6.5 switching TO? Android and iOS. So, yes, this is competing with them. The second is: WinMo’s market share is minuscule. If Microsoft were merely to hold onto its existing customer base, WinPhone 7 would be an abysmal flop.

They’ll do better than you give them credit for, I think.

Do you work for MS? It’s only fair to disclose if you’ve got skin in the game. Please answer “yes” or “no” rather than deflecting.

Windows Phone 7 is absolutely, 100% build to compete with the iPhone and Android.

LOL. Last person I met who actually liked Bing … was a MS exec.

Too bad that Bing isn’t useful to you, seeing as you don’t use the web on your mobile device or anything. I mean web surfing? On a phone? Who would do that? Compared to getting to flag emails, or post Facebook status updates with one less click, web surfing is nigh useless. Yet another symptom of fanboydom? Ridiculous stories of personal use cases. You should meet Timex. Apparently his Droid can view Flash better than my PC (and I think it cures cancer as well).

Sorry dude. The fact that you aren’t being paid to be a bad shill just makes it worse.

And you know what? Even though I’m not all that optimistic about WM7 from what they’re showing, I’m going to go out on a limb and agree that it seems like there does seem to be an awful lot of mudslinging going on around here.

Back when WM6 phones had multitasking, copy paste, front facing cameras, or whatever it didn’t matter, but now that the iphone 4 has them, it’s suddenly mandatory that every phone has it this instant? Despite all indications pointing to them working on putting it in later updates? I call BS