Some Thoughts On Thoughts About Windows Phone 7 Series

Windows Phone 7 Series has been making news for quite some time and I’ve been following all of it. I haven’t blogged anything objective about it, primarily because I haven’t used a device, only played with the unlocked emulator. The big-shots of the tech blogosphere have their opinions and while the initial reaction has been nothing less than spectacular but for the lack of cut/copy/paste and a long 6 to 7 month wait. Apple apologist Gruber in a short post said that the iPhone OS 4 will leave the yet to be released Windows Phone 7 Series far behind. To be honest, the statement from Gruber was quite callous given his stature.

WP7S focuses on bringing together data from multiple sources to one screen and provide unified access to it all, amongst other things. The iPhone on the other hand is about applications where there’s an app for everything. So unless Apple is changing their entire UI/UX in OS 4, Gruber’s comments are nothing more than a fanboy rant.

The day I can start a game on a Mac, continue it on an iPhone and finish it on the iBox then we’ll talk about iPhone OS 4 leaving WP7S far behind. Oh wait! Duh!

Windows Mobile tried to emulate the desktop mantra of success and that was its downfall. The 3rd party app developers used and abused the platform with some really ugly looking, horrible applications. Microsoft seems to have learnt its lesson and is using an Apple-like strategy for WP7S. However it is quite unlikely that Microsoft will be deleting apps if the developer trashed the Zune Marketplace.

I was asked whether WP7S will help Microsoft’s phone application marketplace and my answer to that is an emphatic yes. Three reasons:

  1. Coding applications has a small learning curve for existing Silverlight, .Net programmers
  2. The platform looks rich and shows promise in terms of UI/UX.
  3. Cross-platform support: Zune, desktop, Xbox and the phone.

We know that top iPhone apps are being ported to Windows Phone 7. Coming to third party apps, one of Mozilla’s rep has done an open letter to Steve Ballmer where he made some really interesting comments regarding Microsoft, WP7S and the iPhone:

Well, you have this new Windows Phone thing going on […] I’ll give it a shot, though. I think a head to head comparison makes you look pretty good. It makes the iPhone UI look like it’s made of ugly jelly beans. I’m kind of surprised–the allegedly cool Cocoa Touch stuff is reminding me of 90s Unix window managers.

I suggest you clone the Android NDK API, and add some stuff to make it better. Microsoft rocks at that.

So the Mozilla rep cheekily dissed the iPhone, praised Android and even called Microsoft a copy-cat! First up, the comments make the same point I was making above when talking about Gruber’s remark. My understanding of the ugly jelly beans phrase is the iPhone screen filled with multi-colored app icons, like multi-colored jelly beans scattered on a table.

Secondly, what’s up with Microsoft rocking at cloning? Like seriously? Someone doesn’t seem pleased with Microsoft’s latest attempt at a standards compliant browser. To be honest, no matter what Mozilla pulls off with Firefox for mobile, it’ll not match up with Opera’s mobile browsers. If there’s a browser that I’d want on the iPhone or WP7S, it is Opera. Not Firefox. Unlike the hype that surrounds Firefox desktop, I find it to be rather sluggish. So Mozilla, shut your pie-hole cause frankly you’re just coming across as an arrogant brat who tries to act stubborn with his school teachers.

Coming to Cut/Copy/Paste – It is stupid of Microsoft to not have it, period. If one wants a use case scenario then how about live tweeting an event with hash-tags? Cut/Copy/Paste is all about adding convenience, move text around spreadsheets, documents and hash tag tweets and I don’t believe it has anything to do with people’s memories. I can type the hash-tag and text again but why should I have to do it when something like Cut/Copy/paste exists? It’s not like the touch screen keyboards are typo-proof.

As far as mobile phone platforms are concerned, the iPhone and WP7S have a clear advantage because of the experience they offer with iTunes, iTunes Music Store, App Store and the Zune Marketplace. Something Android lacks. Android capitalized on the incumbency factor, existing platforms didn’t seem good enough and there was no alternative. It was either the iPhone or an Android device or get bullied by everyone. WP7S has disturbed this balance, with services like Xbox Live, Microsoft Office 2010, stringent hardware specs, Silverlight and a company that has a spring in its step, Windows Phone 7 Series and Microsoft are poised for a good war in the mobile space.

PS: Palm what? Blackberry huh?