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All posts tagged Windows Phone 7

Lichtenstein Homage

My fling with Lumia…

I went hands-on several months ago at Microsoft Israel’s launch of the Nokia Lumia Windows Phones and was dazzled and impressed by the design, materials and how the OS performed. I had already decided my next phone was going to be a Windows Phone and this strengthened my resolve.

My next encounter was when Sarah Nadav (founder / CEO of Bukit and a journalist at the Jerusalem Post) had issue with her Windows Phone wrote about it and then agreed to let me have a go at testing her phone to see if my experience was the same.

Shortly thereafter…

Nokia announced a series of new apps for the Marketplace but developed exclusively for their Lumia line.

Star Trek Wrath of Khan – via YouTube user IQuip4U.. thanks.

The Warptest Perspective…

Having just written about the colossal Pandora’s Box that is Android Fragmentation last month (which led to some heavy discussions online and off) I saw some worrying parallels and I wasn’t alone in this:

image

From Nokia’s point of view it makes total sense to increase the desirability of their phones by developing apps that are only available to their customer base. Also keep in mind that Nokia are not new to the Apps business, two words: Ovi Store.

What were Microsoft thinking though? In a nutshell, it seems that Microsoft may be paying copious amounts of money in the deal they made with Nokia but they aren’t the ones dictating the terms.

Microsoft needs to think very carefully about fragmentation.

As for Nokia, the Lumia line is a beautifully made series of phones that will blow most users away. Between the user experience and the price point being offered for signing for these phones with carriers there seems little additional ROI to firing the first shot in this kind of frag war with the other handsets.

It’s not you, it’s me …

At the end of the day I simply didn’t want to invest my hard earned cash in a phone or brand that promotes exclusivity or fragging  Windows Phone OS.

homage-lichtenstein

Homage to the art work of Roy Lichtenstein

(thanks to @jonorose for the information when my memory failed me)

If the Apps that Nokia are developing (or having developed) are that amazing then why not encourage all Windows Phone customers and Developers by having your apps with your logo running on other phones. In the long run aren’t you subtly influencing customers about the next phone they are going to select?

Where does this leave me?

I’m the proud new owner of an HTC Titan thanks to the timely sale I found at Expansys last month and so far I’m being wowed by yet another Windows Phone.

In the words of Rick in Casablanca, “I guess this is the beginning of beautiful friendship.”

The mystery of the missing Windows Phone

After the exciting Windows Phone Lumia launch at the Microsoft IDLC in Hertzliya, Israel in Winter 2011 it’s mid-Q2 of 2012 and still no Windows Phones are available from the Cellular Providers or the Microsoft Israel site:

windows phone - israel

REALLY? A generic “your search did not turn up any devices”? When a customer clicks “Buy” they want to buy. At least give a teaser or invitation (see my comments above).

This is a where you ask, what would James Bond do? (Bond credits have always been master teasers. In the old days it was “James Bond will return in..”)

Windows Phone - 007
Thanks to YouTube user MrCNR2000 for sharing this.

 

So, what’s the holdup?

The bottleneck was providing Hebrew language support but I am skeptical that Cellcom, Orange or Pelephone are going to invest heavily in Windows Phone when Nokia Israel (or at least whomever handles their Twitter account) can’t tell me if and when Microsoft-Nokia’s flagship Lumia phones are going to be launched.

A small country with a small customer base

Is it worth the effort to encourage the providers to add Windows Phone to their catalog of devices in a small country like Israel?

Ostensibly the answer is no. The ROI for the number of handsets that could possibly be sold doesn’t make it worthwhile… if that is the target being aimed for.

Where’s the ROI?

Simply looking at the number of handsets sold is a fools game and misses the point of the Smartphone market altogether.

The big money is being made and going to be made in App sales. At present, the Windows Marketplace is growing and whilst it lags behind Apple and Android in numbers of apps or even in providing the popular, big ticket apps in some cases; the rate of growth is impressive.

Warptest Predictions

Apps are the force multiplier for Smartphone moneymaking and given that Israel has one of the strongest hi-tech software development markets in the world the value of Microsoft pushing Windows Phone in Israel is far beyond the size of the market.

Israel should be a Petri dish for the development of superlative apps for Windows Phone thus ensuring the Cellular Providers have good reason to see Windows Phone as a strong contender to tip the balance of the mobile platform market share.

Microsoft and Nokia Israel need to seriously get this ball rolling and offer some of the incentives and a major marketing campaign like we have seen in the US.

Stop waiting for success and make it happen guys!

I was not at Microsoft’s ThinkNext 2012 event last night where some of the up and coming Start Ups displayed their products. Many of these were mobile Apps but how many of these were developed for Windows Phone? Based on tweets I read, not many.

I have high hopes for Windows Phone but if you are a regular here you know that..

It’s time to build some momentum here, don’t you think?

Windows Phones: Background

Two top professional bloggers who I like and respect, Hillel Fuld and Sarah Nadav have experienced radically different things with their Windows Phones (WP7.5 Mango).

Hillel wrote an outstanding guest post on Business Insider ostensibly going head-to-head with other industry experts like Robert Scoble about the potential for Windows Phone success; I agreed with a lot of what was written in this article. I also know that Hillel’s Mango experience was initially with a Samsung handset but later with the outstanding Nokia Lumia 800.

Sarah Nadav in her blog on the Jerusalem Post newspaper weighed in strongly disagreeing with Hillel based on her own experiences as a first time user of a Samsung WP7.5 Mango Phone.

Sarah kindly let me have a crack at her Windows Phone to see for myself. Here it is next to my current Windows Mobile 6.1 Smartphone:

Windows Phones - comparison

Warptesting the chassis

Straight off the bat I can say that I see what her trouble was with the phone.

  • Samsung in producing this phone made a large, stylish looking, shiny handset.
  • The trim of the phone is a silver colored plastic and the back is another plastic piece.
  • The back panel feels loose to the first touch and did in fact fall off multiple times as I was using the phone.
  • The data/ charger slot on top the phone has a sliding cover again made from this silver plastic.

When I compare the tactile experience of handling and operating this phone to my Toshiba Portege 810 or the Nokia Lumia 800 I find it falling far short of both. The feel is of several pieces of somewhat flimsy plastic that don’t quite fit together properly. I usually refrain from harsh observation but an acceptable hyperbole here is cheap. It felt like a knockoff or toy version of a real Smartphone.

I’m puzzled how the same company that makes the Galaxy series of Smartphones can have gone so off-track building this handset.

warptesting the os

Using the phone was a different matter altogether..

  • The OS is responsive even just changing from Portrait to Landscape was smooth.
  • The OS and its Metro UI are dare I say it sexy.
  • Getting used to the touch and slide can be tough and I assume this would especially be so for someone used to another Smartphone OS.
  • I dutifully tested the Windows Marketplace by installing Zune, trying Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja and InstaCam (an unofficial Instagram app for WP7): Search and install was smooth and the apps I selected installed and were automatically added to the main menu (right-slide from Metro panes to access)
  • The phone seems to be locked for US use so I can’t comment on calls dropping. I’m prone to suspect the carrier more than the phone though.

So what’s the problem?

The Windows Phone Team needs to assume that a first time user needs some guidance with UI navigation:

Windows Phones - ms-office-clippy     Windows Phones - Ms Dewey

Clippy or Ms Dewey who do you want to help you around WP7?

Clippy courtesy of MSDN magazine and Ms Dewey thanks to Ms Dewey Facebook group

The problem is that here we have a new OS/ platform capable of great things but handset design compromises in the case of this model detract so drastically from the overall UX that it leaves the user with a poor taste in their mouth even before they get to switch on the phone.

Customers deserve a better UX but the OS deserves a chance to fully wow the users without the tactile experience undermining it from the get go. Game on Windows Phones.

Technorati Tags: ,Design Compromises,Clippy,Ms Dewey

ZTE Jump In The Windows Phone Pool With ZTE Tania

This is the ZTE offering, their newly released Windows Phone “Tania”:

image

ZTE Tania is classified as a “budget” level Windows Phone competing with phones like the Acer Allegro, HTC Radar and Samsung Omnia. I’m not going to get into spec comparisons. The phone spec can be found here and the image links to Expansys UK, the site I first saw the phone on.

ZTE Tania - price list

In and of itself the phone is another Windows Phone but what seems interesting is the trend of the last few months; after Nokia’s announcement of the Lumia 800 and 710 (and soon in the US the 910) Acer, Samsung, HTC and LG all released phones in this price range with similar spec (actually the LG spec is a bit higher but price is comparable).

Now we see a company like ZTE who clearly sees the potential in the market jumping on the Windows Phone bandwagon. Given that this is not a company quite like the others in scale or reputation this is a bold move but one rewarded by a sound deal with Virgin UK to offer Tania on contract through their stores.

This could be one of those unnoticed yet definitive moments where a dambuster occurs. This might be the signal to other Handset players that they should be moving fast to get a Windows Phone to the market.

Between the increased number of handsets (indicating increased confidence in the platform) and the speed that 60000+ apps  have become available for Windows Phone it seems that the initially slow and cautious adoption of Windows Phone is behind us and Windows Phone is set to take an increasing bite out of the Smart Phone market.