Ok, back from power outages (Hurricane Irene related).  I have a lot of things to get off my chest here so maybe you want to bookmark this one. 

During the near 21 hour black-out that the section of NYC that I live in experienced this weekend, I started writing on my phone some notes – and eventually, an made outline – on my thoughts of some of the recent happenings in the mobile phone blogosphere.  Here’s what I came up with:

  1. I wonder how Manny Pacquiao’s awful singing is going to be advertised now that HP isn’t selling TouchPads anymore (Fight Note: Pac-Man, stop singing.  Goodness.  That commercial sounds like you’re harmonizing with your mouthpiece in.  See me if you want Pac-Man, I still think we would fight before you fight Money May).
  2. Staying on WebOS, I wouldn’t buy a TouchPad until CyanogenMod releases a stable build for it.   I have a Nook Color running CM 7, why the hell do I need another tablet or tablet-like device that may run Android better than say, a Samsung Transform?  (I’m now officially waiting on a Windows 8 Tablet).
  3. Peace out, Steve Jobs.  What a capable nemesis you turned out to be.
  4. I finally understand the appeal of the Apple and Google ecosystems!
  5. Apple: Since the iPhone can barely do anything by itself, treat it like a little kid treats a blank piece of paper.  Think of the App Store as crayons, Developers as Crayola workers and the iPad as just a large piece of construction paper (just for fun, we’ll call iPad specific apps, special dry erase crayons that only work on construction paper, making regular paper look f#^ing useless). 
  6. Google: A smartphone for smartphone users made by looking at what smartphones are doing at the moment and making it better.  Don’t think so? The G1 had a sliding keyboard with an unnecessary sliding mechanism and a trackball, shared a whole hell of a lot of the same customization options (and status bar) that WM did and currently has most of bigger, most well known apps and games that the iPhone has. 
  7. Google’s retention strategy is messed up.  Like using checking your mail?  There’s a Gmail app and an email app.  Think it does the same thing?  Try making edits to a forwarded email or responding inline in the Email app, then try to do the same thing the Gmail app. 
  8. Re-reading Molly Wood’s blog post regarding her Windows Phone Challenge made me wonder if she actually used the phone during her challenge, at any point within the past year and/or during the first press preview last year or did she just give it to an intern and ask them to give her a quick synopsis. 
  9. (Literally word for word what I wrote)  How the hell is she a tech guru if she never bothered to use a Microsoft mobile product?  Does she just use what’s popular in technology today and speak intelligently about the stuff she uses in her podcast? WTF?  I could probably write and entire article about her inaccuracies but Murani already ripped her a new poopshooter.  (I began to anyway, see below)

 

*I literally wrote this entire blurb on Venue Pro, using Word and taking voice notes in OneNote.  I added links and block quotes afterward.

Much has been made about Molly Wood’s less than sterling review of WP Mango after doing the Windows Phone Challenge.  Now, I elected to wait until she was finished before I said anything.  Mainly because I was going to lose it reading this (that cursor comment threw me for a loop) and watching this (the Microsoft is struggling with apps comment burned me, too.  If for nothing else I CLEARLY remember hearing the same thing about the G1. Favorite quote time:  “The confusion of Perspective and Perception bastardize reality.”), but she kept amending her posts so I waited until she was finished. 

Now I know a number of you have already made your peace about what you think about her review already.  I know everyone is entitled to their opinion, and Molly was just making her opinion heard.  My issue is that Molly, who is an executive editor of a widely known tech site, seems to not know much about the WP OS at all.  It makes me wonder if someone asked her to review the BB OS or WebOS  would she know her way around it?  Some people may say that’s an unfair question to ask.  My response, when you display “Tech Expertise:  Guru” in your bio, you should know (hell, if you can tackle cognitive semi-conductors in laymen’s terms, I would assume that you would know you’re way around a smartphone OS).  Put a device running, Palm OS, Web OS, WM, iOS (3.x and later), Android (1.5 and later) or WP7, I wouldn’t be as lost as she appears here  (I could go into with Linux DIstros too, but that would be showing off).

The breakdown below is from Molly’s Blog with the block quotes being her words.  I pick it up 6 paragraphs deep into her blog.

The Zune Pass subscription service is pretty good– although, at $14.99 a month, it’s expensive. Unlike, say, Spotify, it integrates the benefits of a subscription music service with a music discovery service, like Pandora. Go to the Marketplace, search for a song, and once you find it, you can long press the specific song and choose “play Smart DJ mix.” Zune Pass will find similar songs from the Marketplace, and unlike Pandora, you can actually see what songs are coming up next, and then choose to save the whole shebang as a playlist. Nice. Plus, you can download and keep 10 songs a month. If you have an Xbox Live account, you can stream music through your Xbox, as well. Zune Pass is, no question, a good subscription service–with a few good-size drawbacks.

 

What good sized drawbacks? Furthermore, I would Zune Pass competes more with Rhapsody than it does Pandora or Spotify…

First, the on-phone multimedia app isn’t very intuitive. Hit the Music+Video live tile and you get a Zune-branded menu of music, videos, podcasts, radio, and Marketplace. Choose music, and you’ll get a blank menu that says only, “it’s lonely in here” and advises you to tether your phone to a computer to load up some tunes. At this point, I went back to the home screen and hit the “search” soft button on the phone’s menu options–in Android, this lets me conduct a search in any app I’m in. But nope, it launches Bing search. My bad. Back to the Zune menu, and I hit Marketplace instead. Now there’s a menu for HTC Apps that lists apps, games, music, and podcasts. I hit music again; now I get a dedicated search icon on the onscreen menu, and can start searching for music. Clunky.

 

First, music+video is a hub, not an app.  Subtle difference between an app and hub, there are apps related to Music+video there…  Second, if you had no music, why navigate to music? Marketplace is right there.  Firing up my Android device, where currently I know that there’s no music, if I hit Music, I’m greeted by nothing.  4 categories of nothing to be exact.  Third and probably the indicator to those windows phone fans that she haven’t used or really cared to use WP7 before this, the search button behaves differently in different builds of WP7.  the current retail build, 7392, has contextual use of the search button.  So, touch search while in music and videos (as it’s called in 7392), and you will search the marketplace.  Touch the search button again and it will go to Bing.  Moreover, while search in Android is contextual, IT IS NOT present in all apps as you mentioned.  Hit search in say the kindle app and you will be able search author and title.  Hit search in ESPN ScoreCenter, nothing will happen.  If you are going to present this to a wide audience, lets make sure that what you say is 100% accurate.

Molly, if you’re reading,  did you ever swipe to the left and hit the search button?  If you have, did you type in something and hit search marketplace?  The three pivots seamlessly filter the marketplace for what you want AND you don’t need a separate app to bounce to like on the iPhone (for those who don’t know, buying music on iTunes is a separate process than downloading something from the app store.  You even have to switch apps). The example that you gave is cryptic. Zune and Marketplace are in fact integrated.  

This isn’t an Android phone, so let’s not treat it as one.  As someone who now uses both WP7 and Android religiously, there are fundamental differences that need to be understood before you can properly navigate the OSs.  (Which again is questionable given your title.)

Moving on…

I also wish it were easier to handle playlists on the actual device. When you search for a song, you can long-press the selection and add it to “Now Playing,” but not to a specific playlist, as you can on Android. In fact, there’s no way, that I can tell, to add a song to an existing playlist on the device–you can only create new ones via the “Now Playing” list, make a Smart DJ mix, or make an individual song its own playlist. That latter option is so unhelpful I hope it disappears by the time Mango comes to the masses. It’s possibly I’m the last great control-freak playlist maker, but I don’t think so. (On the plus side, I love that I can pin a playlist to the start page for superquick access.)

 

Agree and double agree.  I hate allowing only on demand playlists on the device, however, its useful when using Zune Pass and Smart DJ in terms of storing songs offline.  Still good point. 

Finally, I really wanted to see Zune Pass offer some kind of untethered cloud experience. Both Amazon and Google let you upload music to the cloud and then sync it with devices; Apple is promising to at least scan and match your iTunes library and stream it back to your device; and even Spotify lets you find and manipulate music either on your computer or on your device and sync it up wirelessly. Zune Pass stands alone in the now ancient-feeling request to “connect your phone to your computer” to load up music.

 

You completely lost me.  I haven’t added one music file via my computer since I went to 7661 (preview build) and then updated to 7712 and hard reset.  I currently have over 11GB of music and that’s all from Zune Pass.  You can download as much DRM music as you want, you can elect to BUY 10 songs DRM Free via credits a month.  That is just plain wrong and you need to set the record straight about that.  Additionally, until iOS 5 comes out, Zune is not the stand alone client that request that you connect to your computer. if you bought an iPhone or iPad right now it would show you the icon to link it to a computer with iTunes.  To make a point, there isn’t even a Music Market on Android yet.  Again, you NEED to correct this.

That brings me to SkyDrive. In theory, I could upload all my music to my SkyDrive online storage account (25GB of free storage) and then maybe sync or download it to my phone. But there’s no integrated option within the Zune/Music+Video menu options to do that, and although Mango does add music streaming from SkyDrive, the only Microsoft-enabled way to access SkyDrive on the phone is through the browser. No, seriously. There’s not a SkyDrive app for WP7. That just flabbergasted me. Also, when I tried the music streaming, I got a player, but an error that said, “Sorry, we can’t play this file on your phone.” (Update: Thanks to the commenters and tweeters who pointed out that all I have to do to access SkyDrive on the phone is tap the Office menu, then swipe three pages to the right, under Locations. I can’t believe I missed that.)

 

Almost exploded, crisis averted.

So, although many of you exhorted me to try SkyDrive as a benefit of WP7, I’m afraid I can’t consider it much of a feature. had to install Silverlight and switch to Internet Explorer to drag and drop files for storage, and even then, you can’t upload an entire folder (say, a music or photo album), just individual files. No, thank you.

 

Another wrong turn at Albuquerque .  You wanted a personal cloud space solution, you have it.  At a for-free clip (I’ll leave Apple and iCloud out of it for now).  The way you say that you would rather upload to Picasa or Google+ makes it seem as if it’s impossible to upload to say PhotoBucket or Facebook (which obviously you can).  That’s forgivable.  The web interface remark isn’t even fair.  I use Firefox religiously (so much so that I haven’t even downloaded IE 9 on the desktop yet, I will use FF and Opera until IE10 comes out).  Docs.live.com is serviceable without drag and drop.  I can get past that… BUT FOR YOU TO NOT EVEN TRY TO USE WINDOWS LIVE MESH WHEN USING SKYDRIVE IS RIDICULOUS.  FLAT OUT.  Come on now.  When I wanted to get into the Google ecosystem, I used all of Google’s products that were available to me (and Picasa picture editor was installed via bloatware on my WD MyBook).  Same held true for the Apple torture that I’m subjected to at work (I hate iTunes with a serious passion.  JetAudio forever!).  You have to do the same here.  Come on…

As for the last 2 paragraphs, I have a couple of thoughts:  I was a blink away from buying a Droid Pro in January of this year.  What stopped me?  Netflix.  At the time, The Venue Pro and Droid Pro (portrait keyboards on WVGA devices make so much sense).  I was completely annoyed that some Android devices get Netflix and others wont.  Android Fragmentation is something that gets thrown around by fanboys and fangirls as a knock on Android.  I think that it’s just crazy that there’s a Nexus class of phones that have a different experience then a top of the line LG phone…

*End of my blurb*

I think I’ll end things here.  I think that I have enough flame bait here in for one day.  

Winner:  A free market system and non-biased journalism. 

To hell with that, none of that really exists, so the winner is me. 

-Fight

3 COMMENTS

  1. Any new user of a different OS is going to have to use a phone for a while, perform different tasks and basically play around with the phone to find out some features. What ticked me off was that she is an executive editor at a tech company and obviously had not viewed a single demo clip or review from other bloggers before she used the phone. Even when using the phone she didn’t avail herself to the wealth of resources that is the internet. If I have a question even about my own phone I ask my colleagues or do a quick Bing or Google search. It calls into question the extensiveness of her research and knowledge base.

    It was reported a while back that the reason Microsoft implemented turn-by-turn nav the way they did was because of limitations outlined by navteq. That is why everyone is hoping that the issue is resolved when Nokia brings Ovi Maps to the platform. Again, research.

    The comment about the Music+Video hub not being intuitive was hilarious. If the phone says “its lonely in here” then prompts you to connect to your computer and add music isn’t that helpful and intuitive to the user?

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