Status on Windows Phone 7

11 Jul

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.

Penetration
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.

Developer experience
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.

Hardware
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.

Buttons
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.

Performance
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.

Marketplace
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.

by xamlgeek
@xamlgeek

2 Responses to “Status on Windows Phone 7”

  1. Claus Jørgensen July 11, 2011 at 00:43 #

    With Mango, the search button have gotten one point more of functionality, and that is, that it’s used for QR code scanning. Now, I applaud Microsoft for combining all sorts of search functionality into the search part of the phone (including voice, and live music recording search), but so far Bing Services, including Maps, is fairly useless in Europe, making the phone very very weak compared to Android and iPhone, which is both running Google Services.

    Bing cannot find nearby restaurants, clubs, or any other places. It don’t have traffic information. Point to point locations are broken in several countries that’s due to be launched with Mango, and so on. It’s not a happy experience.

    From a developer point of view, I think the marketplace submission is under all possible critique. Having to resubmit app content, including pictures and descriptions every time is a annoying chore. Also, submission problems with apps supporting several languages is a huge pain, and Microsoft supporters have been stupid and utterly clueless in my support tickets.

    Also, the quality bar for approval isn’t very high, and it seems random if a app gets approved or not. I’ve tried submitting the same app twice, where it got rejected first time, and approved second time. I’m starting to miss out on Apple’s strict requirements, and what seems to be, more intelligent? supporters.

    That said, I agree with the all the positive in the article.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Apple is in the House « xamlgeek - July 13, 2011

    […] As a follow up on this post I did a post on the status of Windows Phone 7. You can read it here. One thing that keep amazing me is the hardware that Apple produces – it is in an entire […]

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