imageWindows Phone, as a platform, was always intended to be a universal experience regardless of device and manufacturer. Of course, you could make it your own with hardware, so long as the minimums were met, and software, with each manufacturer given the right to have their own app store within the Marketplace. If you look at Samsung, the Focus excels in form factor and it’s beautiful screen. The HD7 also great looking. Then the LG Quantum is mostly hideous. Yes, it has a slide out keyboard but the package looks cheap overall. So turning to software, Samsung has almost nothing to offer. The Samsung Zone (as they call it) has 4 apps in it, none above 2 stars and none which I have installed on my phone. HTC has a better selection, but nothing that’s a selling point. LG on the other hands has a freaking ecosystem worthy of envy. Unwired View took a look at the offerings in the LG Marketplace (for the Quantum and Optimus 7) and here are some of the apps they have…each of which makes me sick to my stomach in their own way:

First up is Voice to Text which lets you speak and the phone converts it to text for email, texts, Twitter, etc. And there’s a Twitter feed within the app as well and it’s all very well put together. Every Windows Phone should have this app and I hope that MS is giving them a short term (60 day type) exclusive on this because this is a platform app:

Next is Panorama Shot that lets you take panoramic (180 degree) photos by stitching pics together. Yup, my HD2 could do this but my Focus can’t.  Ztitch is a 3D image and currently nothing in the Marketplace does this for non-LG phones. Again, this should be on every phone.

We showed you Look and Type once before. It’s the app that replaces the background of your email/text screen with the camera. Developers cannot make this app because it requires non-public APIs so only MS or the device manufacturer can bring this.

Play To is a DLNA service that lets you stream media to any other DLNA device so you can stream music or videos from your phone to your TV or PC. There’s an HTC dongle that I hear works for other devices, but really, why is this an exclusive? Make this a damn platform feature!

Photo Stylist is a photo editor that lets you change the color, brightness, contrast and change effects on the phone. I have alternatives to this that I paid for, but why? Step up MS.

Then there’s Tool Box which is an all-in-one toolbox with a unit converter, date calculator, sales prices, level meter, etc. I don’t need this one actually.

Oh and then there’s ScanSearch – the augmented reality app that lets you use your camera, point at things and get real time info about them. Again, a third party cannot reproduce this and this one makes me really jealous even though I think it uses Goog Goggles API.

OK so apparently only LG got the software memo and apparently MS forgot to circulate it to the rest of the team or they’re perfectly content with their platform lacking key features that are software based and obviously available. I’ve made it this far without cursing so I’m signing off…feel free to go to town in the comments though.


  1. Yet more bashing of the Quantum hardware. Hideous? Cheap? This website looks cheap, but wouldn’t you rather be judged by the content?

    The Quantum is way more solid than my previous three HTC sliders… Tilt 2, Fuze, Tilt. And as for the rounded rubbery finish, it feels great in the hand and I haven’t dropped it once. By this point with my Tilt 2, I had dropped it so much the pretty shiny finish was chipping and scratching off.

    My only complaints are the screen could be bigger and the shift and function keys are too small, recessed, and should light up. Other than that, it is the best piece of phone hardware I’ve ever owned.

    Oh the apps? Most are very cool, but the voice recognition sucks and is not integrated enough into text messaging to make it useful.

  2. For apps where developers don’t have access to the proper API’s it does seem a little unfair, although the other OEM certainly had an opportunity to step forward. LG probably has one or two coders that are really energized regarding WP7 and that’s all you need to get things moving. Hopefully MS releases some of these API’s to devs in Q1 so they can get cracking. That could make for some exciting new entries into the Marketplace before long.

    But what am I going to do with the 102 apps/games I already downloaded. Those that start with W are beginning to hurt my thumb. I am actually beginning to look at an app’s name before downloading to decide how much work it will be to open.

  3. I hear ya KCMatt. If the Quantum is whale crap, then the Surround is just one little step above whale crap because its a thick bulky device, even though its exactly 0.02″ thicker than the ever popular svelte iPhone 3GS. For perspective, that’s the thickness of two standard business cards. Glad you are enjoying your new WP7 device.

  4. @david – the Quantum is actually a solid piece of hardware. It has a metal battery cover that makes the device very solid to hold. I do agree it does not look the best compared to the 8 others windows phone out there. I agree with you on the software side, a lot of them are very useful compared to what Samsung has, I bought one for my wife just to use the dlna feature with my Xbox, it is pretty awesome.
    @jimski – one thing I don’t get is why MS didn’t include the alpha selector like the contacts or the Zune interface for the app list, they knew it would get longggggg. But I rather scroll through a list of endless apps alphabetically than to scroll through pages of app icons in no particular order on the iPhone.

  5. @adp – the alpha selector is available in music and contacts, just in disguise. click on any letter heading and the alphabet will pop up, way more useful than inaccurate scrolling that my previous iPhone had.

    I’m sure its only a matter of time before we have these LG only apps. The most important thong is that it can be done on this phone.

  6. Voice to text should be universal, kind of thought that I was being shorted on the Voice Search function of my Surround.

  7. So you’re having a go at LG because HTC and Samsung were slack? Dont they have access to the same API’s LG has, yet they decided to produce utter crap like HTC Hub and the Samsung Now screen? This is probably exactly what MS intended, have a consistent base and allow OEM’s to provide value for their particular handset to entice buyers. The platform’s the same, performance consistent but OEM’s can differentiate via their software offering. Why should MS force LG to share their software with other OEM’s? If HTC had better software on their devices would you be calling for them to share it with other device makers? BS post.

  8. @KCMatt: Jesus dude I said your phone is ugly not your mom;) It’s a single line but I don’t think it’s worth the distraction Personally, I think the button layout and bezzle are wrong.
    Anyway, the point is that MS needs to push the software side. I think MS is helping LG here. I don’t think it’s LG software. I don’t think any manufacturer should have this much key software. It used to be HTC (with Sense) on WM and now it may be LG. I apprecaite they bring unique apps to the table but some of this stuff, like voice to text has to be implemented platform wide

  9. It is incredibly baffling that DLNA is not a platform feature since it is for everything else in the MS ecosystem. Makes. no. sense. It is almost willfully inconsistent.

  10. @DavidK, It seems there can’t be a post about the Quantum without saying it’s ugly or looks like a toy. It’s the consensus and few of the people saying these things have actually used it. It was by far the least covered WP7 device pre-launch, and I think everyone wrote it off because of how it looked in pictures. LG hasn’t been known for high quality, but I think they have quietly made a huge stride with this device. And yes, I guess I do have some brand loyalty now, especially after being jerked around by HTC the past three years. LG stepping into an arena where they are the new kid compared to HTC and Samsung, and they are actually being… innovative!

    It seems there are few business users on these forums, but many that are actually using these devices. The things that make the Quantum supposedly “ugly” in pictures actually make it perfect for someone like me to actually use 100+ times every day.

  11. its the only device with an actual keyboard from AT&T…for the most part us tech junkies have all decided that the switch to a soft keyboard is no problem because we get a thinner, better looking (and in alot of cases better spec’d) device. since the majority of the world still doesnt know what HTC is or what a superAMOLED screen is they see a device that has a real keyboard, anyone coming from a non smart phone is going to have a hard time typing on a touch screen initially, and if they play with each device in store there going to notice the difference in how hard it is to text, plus if the sales rep mentions LG’s software offerings that the other ones dont have… i get the feeling LG is going to make a big splash in the windows phone world.. assuming they have at least made a device that wont shit the bed every few months (yeah im looking at you LG incite)

  12. @adp: Yes, +1 on the alpha selector app list. My only other suggestion would be a Favorites list (no alpha) with one swipe left and the entire alpha list (start and favorites included) with a second swipe left. You could pin to/remove from Favorites the same as the Start screen. So two swipes but better navigation for seldom used apps and one swipe, but much shorter list (if you choose) for often used apps. And keep the Start screen for the really important stuff along with Live Tiles. Don’t want a Start screen with 50 or 60 tiles. Don’t think this would slow down or clutter the OS in any way. And pretty easy to implement. Once MS implements this the sky’s the limit for downloading apps.

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