cartoon So I woke up today feeling a little cynical and coupled with Simmon’s article about the "mom-readiness" of Android gave me an idea.  Do I want just anyone or their mother to be able to pick up my phone and have it put out like a cheap whore?  Now I know there are lock screens and all that for the privacy seeking individual but what I’m talking about is the whole fact that it’s not just an open book of ease of use.  When I see someone running a WinMo phone now I pretty much know I can go over to them and have a half way intelligent conversation about electronics and our telephone operating system of choice.  It was like a club of smart phone savvy.  Now think about this for one second.  Have you ever had more than a two minute conversation with someone about their iPhone?  I don’t know about you readers, but it makes me want to punch them so hard their unborn children get brain damage.  This would probably work against me, however as said children would grow up to be some iPhone hucking idiot as well. 

Maybe I’m unique in that I talk to people that exist completely outside of the sphere of technological social influence at Best Buy on a 40 hour a week basis, but that 40 hours is my quota.  In a world where the technology and decisions we make are becoming a representation of our own personal outlooks on the world of mobile operating systems (especially with Net Neutrality getting so messy recently,) I’m not sure I want to hop on a bandwagon of any kind.  Maybe this is all heady intellectual nonsensical ravings of a very drowsy tech writer, but I like being the "other" category.  I like being the under dog.  Being able to take a device that makes no sense to 95% of the general public and then making it kick ass and do things that phones took another 3 or 4 years to duplicate is impressive to me.  It puts you in that "other" category no just because you don’t use the most popular mobile operating system, but because you’re an intelligent and determined enthusiast.  How would hardcore scale model builders feel if all of a sudden the manufacturers made all of them snap together five year old affairs?  They would lose that sense of elitism that came from years of dedication and a thorough understanding of techniques and a knowledge base that dwarfs others in its awesome shadow.  So back me up here guys.  I can’t be the only one that feels the community we’ve developed over the past decade with WinMo is one of the most cohesive and intelligent group of people using smart phones out there.  Drop me a line and let me know if I’m crazy…


  1. + 1 to you, Matt. And you’re right about most WinMo aficionados are zealously passionate about their phones and things tech.

  2. I don’t think that having “no sense to 95 % of the people” is something to look for. A phone can have a nice UI, good usability and still be able to do amazing things. WinMo has been great because all it allowed to do, but people needed a change. And that is why windows 7 will be so different in my opinion.
    I hope it will still allow us to do amazing stuff, and not just cut everything they don’t like you to do out like ICr.p.

  3. Not crazy brother, but like Salil said, passionate. I feel the same way, the unfortunate thing is that most of those IT people I can relate with defected to the iPhone. Although little by little they are trickling to Android, which most of us would argue is very comparable to WinMo. It’s unfortunate really, I hear people actually tossing words that Lord Jobs uses to describe the iLine products. I can see the attraction to using something simple if you’re not tech savvy or simply don’t care for electronics, but I read all these fanboy’s comments on sites on Engadget and it’s disgusting really. I’m still on the fence regarding WP7 since it seems to strip the user from the power of customizing the phone as we see fit, but I would love to play some Street Fighter or Metal Slug on my phone, and not being iDouche.

  4. You’ve got two questions/topics going here at once. Bubba. #1 You ARE certifiably crazy; why do you think we all like you so much? And #2 Although I’ve followed you for a couple years now and learned much, I do not think I like what I see in the previews of the coming W7 with all those damn MS blue menus (why is everything robin egg blue?), but I also do NOT get the attraction of Android. That all said, I am OVER all my daily resetting of my phone, just to have all my favorite apps when I can’t get to them half the time because of seizures of the system. I watch My ton of friends who have iPhones (and many are former flasher/winmo capable) and I marvel that the thing just always works, so I never thought I’d EVER say this, but I am ready to drink the coolaide and bounce to the dark side. I’m just tired of waiting for these other companies to get with producing something that works, and works well, right out of the box. So now you can call me crazy.

  5. Matt: Not crazy – just another old curmudgeon, thank goodness. I was beginning to think I was the only one left.

  6. I hear what you’re saying. I got so entrenched in that mentality I made a website (well, two actually) about it which got good traffic and in defiance, the same defiance I think that made me a proud WinMo guy in spite of its lack of popularity, making me feel kind of special or mobilotically elite or whatever, made me decide to keep advertisements off the site and donation links too. Like a screw you, I’m gonna hook my brothers up with cabs and tips and I’m gonna do it without any money whatsoever, no compensation other than the occasional fan letter.

    Which was sort of cool I guess, though not if you ask my lady; but the thing is, whether WP7 catches on or not, it’s being cut to blend right in to same breed of the top dogs. So in terms of functionality and user experience, ‘mom’ unfriendliness, you lose the underdog thing. And you never had the underdog thing with Microsoft in terms of the company itself as they’re relatively successful. So maybe the way to go for you if you want to be countercultural about this is to stick with WinMo as long as you can, whether it’s with your existing phone or if you discover that someone managed to port it onto a WP7 device (though you’d lose things like removable chip and battery). Or webOS maybe.

    Or you can just get yourself a Google phone and install a non-phone-tailored Linux distribution on it like Ubuntu. That would be much more underdog/badass than WinMo by far and it would actually work more reliably than WinMo, plus you get the latest hardware out of Taiwan instead of clinging to an HD2 or whatever until the battery completely wears out. But I wouldn’t bank on XDA being able to break through WP7’s bootloader or whatever, or even wanting to, because, as Motorola has demonstrated, it is quite possible for a phone manufacturer to lock people out of that activity no matter how persistent the XDA crew is.

    Your underdog is selling out everything you like about it as aggressively as possible.

  7. I’ve got a WP7 development device and an HD2. At the moment, I’m the elite, and I like that. I like the fact that my HD2 can do anything any other phone around can do, but it takes a little knowledge to do so. WP7 definitely falls in the easy to use, slightly limited category though.

    WM6.X will be the enthusiast OS of choice, not because of the UI, but because there’s so much you can do.

  8. Ironic, but someday the world will probably look back on WM6.X as the most robust OS every created for a phone. Everything to follow will be (is) easier to use but limited for one reason or another. Think of WM as the McIntosh (amps, not iPhones) of the Smartphone universe. Be proud that you mastered the “beast” and move on to WP7. All part of this experience we call life.

  9. I actually did prefer conversations with people who had WM phones. I figured if they could learn to navigate and use the OS without completely getting flabbergasted by it then they were reasonably intelligent. The “There is a button for that” mentality Apple has led recently is doing nothing but playing to the idiot that resides in all of us. The less you use your brain the more you step back from tapping its potential.

    So no I don’t want everyone to just pick up my phone and use it as well as I can within 10 minutes. Thats just me though and I know i’m in the small minority of self elevating egomaniacs.

  10. Comment from Ryan over on facebook:

    I used to feel that way, and have had just about every “major” phone that has been … from my first CAR MOUNTED (in the trunk) in the 80’s to my first Boot and Brick phones (when brick meant something else) and all those super annoying Trios, and Blech Berrys, and then the WinMo phones where i started to “tweak and cook” to get them where I wanted them, and these WinMo’s started to feel like i actually had a device that worked… and now to my current Android (EVO)

    Maybe it is me getting older but i now find that yes I rooted my phone and put my own ROM on it, but i now have it working where almost exactly where i want it. But I tend to find myself thinking that just about stock (rooted) is pretty good and does everything i need, and then for the rest i can just say “Hey there is an App for that”

    Don’t get me wrong, I am mellowing with how easy Android is, but I still agree there are so many iPhone people I would still like to punch in the face rather than talk to about technology…

  11. Matt, I just want to apologize for anything negative I may have said about you in the past. It was me misreading another of your articles.

    I completely agree with you on this article.

  12. LOL… This is just sooo timely. Yesteryday morning I was outside working on the motorcycles and had left my Tilt2 inside. Someone from work called and my wife (an Iphone 3Gs user) had to bring me the phone, because she couldn’t even figure out how to answer it! At least I know I don’t have to worry about her mucking with my stuff hee hee hee.

    Anyway, we were out running errands and hit the mall. While she was off picking out shoes, I headed over to the AT&T store to kill time. I played with the Iphone4, but I just can’t get past the cartoon like themes for icons etc. Android looks like it would be pretty cool, and I love to get my hands on a Captivate. I’m not eligible for an upgrade yet, so I’d be paying full price…which is not an option for the time being.

    Guess I’ll just have to settle for playing with XAndroid for the time being. :-)

  13. Matt: “that sense of elitism that came from years of dedication and a thorough understanding of techniques and a knowledge base that dwarfs others in its awesome shadow.”

    David: “That all said, I am OVER all my daily resetting of my phone, just to have all my favorite apps when I can’t get to them half the time because of seizures of the system. ”

    BINGO. Do not confuse elitism with being a stubborn glutton for punishment. I’ve been a winmo fan since the compaq ipaq days, up through every htc device at&t sold. That ship has sailed.

  14. @Everyone – Thanks for confirming I’m not totally offbase in enjoying life in the “other” slice of the pie. Whatever you want to call it, whether it’s dedication or masochism, it’s not different than mulling over crossword puzzles or any other activity that requires a brain. I remember when people who used computers had to be freaking math majors just to use one. Hexadecimal and binary was the language of the day. Would you have said the same to them? Bless all the masochist who came before us for their dedication and understanding that nothing worth anything comes easy.

  15. Heavy bump on Greg’s comment: “Do not confuse elitism with being a stubborn glutton for punishment.”

    That is exactly what I was driving at with my Stockholm syndrome/battered wives piece. Shouldn’t have used a fancy psych term for it though, went over their masochistic and syndrome-riddled heads.

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