The “Windows Phone 7 Disaster” Disaster

I came across this InfoWorld article in my journeys across the web which I thought was rather laughable.  With a title like “Windows Phone 7 a ‘disaster’ says Infoworld after developer demo” you know are in for a straight down the line, honest report straight off the bat.  Bear in mind that the author of the article was Galen Gruman, a reporter who is described as someone who “likes to offer an authoritarian opinion about tech subjects, but rarely has any clue what he’s talking about.” 

Now the article is clearly flamebait (or clickbait) and written with the express intent in being incedary and stirring up controversy.  That seems to be a modus operandi of Mr. Gruman (see articles such as “iPad Pre-Orders: For Idiots Only” for example).  The problem is that, by his own admission, the guy hasn’t actually even used real phone and is going purely on what he has seen in a presentation. 

Aside from the bogus conclusion that he makes there are a number of factual error in the report.

Microsoft has just released a beta SDK for its mobile Silverlight tools, so developers can only now start investigating Windows Phone 7’s capabilities

In actual fact the CTP of all the developer tools has been available since the MIX10 conference back in March.

The big tiles quickly eat up screen real estate (about four fit), so you don’t get the compact access to apps that all the other major mobile operating systems provide

Gruman again is completely missing the point of what the titles do and mean.  The tiles are not application icons as they are in other devices.  They are not there to launch apps.  They’re there to provide information.  The whole point is that you get the information without having to launch the apps.  You can debate whether or not they do this effectively but it seems Gruman has missed the point entirely.

It does not support multitasking except for Microsoft’s own first-party apps … when you switch applications, they shut down — just like the iPhone did until iOS 4 was released this spring.

True, however lets not forget that the iPhone even in iOS4 doesn’t support full multitasking either (only audio, voip and location apps can truly multitask).  Other apps have to rely on “Fast app switching” and “Push notifications” which the Windows Phone 7 does. 

Also, am I the only one who sees the irony in the fact that Gruman knocks the WP7 for its lack of multitasking yet is also the author of an article only 4 months ago titled: “Why the IPhone doesn’t need multitasking“?

Windows Phone 7 is a pale imitation of the 2007-era iPhone.

Personal opinions as to is paleness aside, how does it technically compare to the 2007 iPhone?  Well the original iPhone didn’t have a 3G connectivity, a camera flash, a compass, video capability, GPS and even for that matter AppStore. These are the major evolutions in smartphones since the 2007 iPhone, and they are each clear and present in Windows Phone 7.  Again Gruman is completely unjustified.  Even more so if you want to consider things that WP7 will have which the iPhone doesn’t such as external storage and the potential for hardware support for 4G.  Not to knock Apple I’m just pointing out the inanity of Grumans argument.

Apple’s iPhone is the top smart phone when it comes to data usage such as via the Web and apps, and Google’s Android is close on its heels. The iPhone is well-established and entrenched, and Android is fast becoming so. Microsoft is nowhere, having essentially pulled out of the mobile market.

Wrong on two counts.  Firstly the iPhone is not the top smart phone when it comes to data usage, not by a long stretch.  Secondly according to the latest comScore ratings Microsoft actually has a bigger smart phone market share that Google (granted Google is on the way up and Microsoft on the way down but as it stands now Windows Phones actually have a bigger market share than Android – in the US anyway).

 The Windows Phone 7 does have issues, of that there is no doubt but the simple truth is that no-one can tell at this stage whether this platform is going to be successful.   It has a lot going for it.  To my mind it’s  only real problem is the that phone isn’t finished and isn’t going to be finished when it is released.  It will be functional for sure, it will work, but it will also be missing a lot of features.  

The real story, that Gruman completely missed in his effort to be controversial, is not which features the phone missing, but will the features that are there be compelling enough to draw users in and keep them?  This is exactly the fine line that Apple walked when it released the first iPhone which was also unfinished (it didn’t even have an app store, remember?).  In Apple’s case what was there was enough that compelling to pull the phone through.  The big question is: is the same true for Microsoft?


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