Chris Alexander

On Engineering

Why Windows Phone 7 Series Has It Wrong

16th February, 2010

So Microsoft have been making a bit of a splash over the past 24 hours with the announcement of Windows Phone 7 Series.

I’m not going to go into the details of the OS, its hardware, its various features and whatnot - there are more than enough posts about that to go around.

What I want to talk about is why Microsoft, just like Apple, have completely missed the point.

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Before I kick this off, I want to say one thing about the name - Windows Phone 7 Series; hardly rolls off the tongue, does it? I think they were going for a bit of a combo with the whole Windows 7 thing, and somehow had to get “phone” in, and shoved “series” in just so that people wouldn’t call it Windows Mobile. Urgh.

Anyway, moving on to what I really wanted to say about this OS / set of devices.

I’ve been lamenting the iPhone (and, in some ways, the iPod Touch) for months going on years now. I argued that I would expect something as powerful as iPhone to be able to handle running more than one application at a time.

As for the iPod Touch, I’m not so bothered. Why? Because it is not a phone and I do not expect it to be one - I want it to be my little portal to the internet and my music and nothing more. One thing at a time is all I expect of its diminutive dimensions and petite price tag.

To an extent I contradicted myself slightly with the arrival of the iPad. Why would I expect such a thing not to have the ability to run more than one application? More detail on that over (#2280) here (#2301).

However, with Windows Phone 7 Series (henceforth abbreviated to “7 Series”, because I’m getting really tired of typing all that) Microsoft have done the same thing as Apple.

Sure the interface is all smooth and shiny and has nice slidey effects and fading and boxes you can move and all kinds of innovative stuff, but I want more than that! My current phone is permanently doing overtime with all the various applications I have running on it in the background (it’s S60, by the way). I expect the device that I am forking a load of money out for to be able to do this for me.

In fact, if 7 Series was basically a Zune, then I would be more than happy - because its just meant to be a music player and portable play thing; not the hard-working powerhouse I expect to keep me going on the road 24/7.

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I will hand it to them, however: Microsoft have got some things so very right with 7 Series. Auto address linking, all the core software is super-usable, and the Bing integration is simply stunning.

However any device that I would carry around all day would have to meet my expectations for keeping everything running on the go, and for me the iPhone and 7 Series just aren’t up to that. That’s why you can give me an Android any day.