Yesterday I did a post about iPhone and iPad. To sum it up I was not very pleased about iPhone but I can see some quality in iPad. Since I was not very please about the iPhone I decided to write this post about Windows Phone 7 and my thoughts on the Windows Phone platform based on the public Mango beta.
Microsoft was late in the game about the next generation smartphones. Some will say they are 2 years late – some will say they are too late get in the game at all. According to Gartner Microsoft will gain about 20 percent market penetration in 2015 (Google 50 percent and Apple 18 percent). The growth in Microsofts market penetration is apparently caused by the coorporation with Nokia. We still haven’t seen any Nokia devices running Windows Phone 7 but rumours say they will send least one on the market before EOY 2011.
There is no doubt that one of the forces of Windows Phone 7 is its developer experience. Developing an app for WP7 is easy. Visual Studio is the primary development tool for lots of developers but more and more developers have taken Expression Blend into their toolbox (this is based on my own experience). Visual Studio 2010 and Expression Blend 4 is strong tools helping developers to create apps easy and in a known environment.
Apple have had great success designing good looking phones and only make their OS run on their own hardware. On the other hand Google have had great success in designing an OS that can run on almost any mobile platform making it the fastest growing OS at the moment. The Windows Phone platform is designed to run on different hardware (with some pretty high minimum hardware requirements). At the moment we have only seen a limited number of devices running Windows Phone 7 but after the coorporation with Nokia we must expect to see a large number of Nokia devices running Windows Phone 7 in the future.
I have had some severe issues with my Windows Phone 7 based hardware (Samsung Omnia 7 and HTC Mozart). I really hope that these issues are unique and will never be witnessed by a “normal” user.
One of the major downsides of the Windows Phone platform is the buttons on the phone. The hardware producers are forced to place 3 buttons in front of the phone – a back button, a search button and the Windows button. So the back button and the Windows button makes sence but I really do not see any use of the search button – only that Microsoft wish to force Bing into our lives in a really annoying way. In the beta version of Mango the only purpose of the search button is a shortcut to search Bing. Any actual search functionality on the phone is activated using software buttons.
The real problems begin if you get a phone with touch buttons – you will stroke the buttons all the time interrupting the actual purpose you got on the phone. Microsoft have indicated some improvements in this area but nothing have been published yet. Microsoft, please please remove the search button – I promise to visit bing.com at least once every day if you do.
The performance on the Windows Phone platform is amazing. It runs really smooth and provide a really good user experience. On the same time the tiles makes the phone come alive and ready to make a distance to other more static platforms.
To publish an app to the marketplace it needs to be approved by Microsoft. Despite a few problems getting apps through the certification process it is in general a smooth process that should be completed in 4-5 days. In the first version of Windows Phone 7 there were some issues searching the marketplace. Often games, apps and music got mixed in the search result. This should be better in the final version of Mango.
Did I forget anything? Let me know at @xamlgeek.