If you’re reading this it is a safe bet that you know about Brandon Watson’s terrific Windows Phone challenge where he gets Windows Phone Mango into the hands of celebrities who have been complaining about their experience on other platforms,particularly Mango.  Today Molly Wood, of CNET, gave her final verdict and it was lukewarm.  I had many thoughts watching her review but most of all I had to fight the urge to issue a facepalm to myself.

Don’t like the Metro UI? Fine, different strokes for different folks.  Not a fan of having to use Bing instead of Google search?  To each his or her own.  Choice is good.  To work in the tech sector and be viewed as somewhat of an authority, review a mobile OS platform and obviously failing to do any prior research or review any demos that are easily located on the net? Inexcusable.

Here are my beefs and the seeds of my desire to issue a facepalm:

  1. LOL, why upload to a cloud service when you have access to 12 million+ songs at your whim? Sounds seriously like she uses certain services and doesn’t know how to consider another method.
  2. I’m sorry Brandon Watson that you picked a tech columnist that apparently has completely ignored how you access SkyDrive in Mango. Its been shown off in every demo imaginable that you use the office hub. Its a classic case of thinking of the only way to access a service is through a separate app. She literally said "there just needs to be an app for that." I know I’m not the only person that wants her to facepalm herself because she completely misses the approach to Windows Phone. Please repeat after me Molly Wood "There doesn’t need to be an app for everything."
  3. When she complained about her Android experience it had nothing to do with speech to text or mapping.  Why not focus on the things you complained about? 
  4. What the What! Apple is known for its NON-integration. Where the heck does she think the slogan "there’s an app for that" came from. So to say people looking for an easy to use, integrated experience is Apple’s forte is just baffling.  How can someone NOT know that Apple is not all about apps.  That’s the reason they tout the vast number of apps.

Its clear that Microsoft didn’t quite think through the whole turn-by-turn direction thing and hopefully the Nokia agreement can get them the proper rights to do full turn-by-turn directions without having to locate and touch the screen every time.  Speech to text is a “nice to have but I’ll rarely use” feature on mobile phones.  There are millions and millions of users that will attest to that.  I almost wish that all the Mango-ized apps were in the marketplace right now and Mango could be shown off in its full glory.  No matter what the gripes Molly Wood had was downright atrocious given her position.  No tech columnist/blogger worth their salt should be that clueless on what is looking like one of the future big 3 mobile os platforms.

34 COMMENTS

  1. You’re spot on my good man!! I hate these wanna be know-it-alls, that don’t have an objective point of view, and just base their “reviews” on their own opinions. Totally unprofessional.

  2. I totally agree!

    By the way, you said “worth one’s salt” and though I know you already know this let me fill in the readers on some academia here. Okay so way back salt was very valuable as it was used as a preservative to keep dead things not too yucky for a little while longer, which is especially valuable when you don’t have ice pack technology.

    So the Latinos, the language dudes (co-language dudes I should say, them and the Greeks) came up with a word we dumbed down as salary (sal is Latin for salt), and you all know what salary means. Though the figurative expression wasn’t used until a couple hundred years ago.

    At some other point in time, some Latino or Roman or whatever whooped some ass and to heal his wounds he came up with, though had no memory of originally coming up with it (he wrote it down), some holistic healing crap, an ingredient being a couple grains of salt. So the idea is that you can mitigate bad with a grain of salt. Which morphs into the meaning and common usage we all know today, to take everything an anti-WP or WP-neutral idiot spews with total disregard by some figurative use of salt grains from this man’s recipe which probably only had a placebo effect.

    Murani my man, still hanging onto those double spaces after the periods (in most instances).

  3. It will never be as good as Apple at being iOS, and it will never be as good as Android at being Android.

    Ergo, it must suck.

    (Unless you’re a top line pundit like Mossberg or Pogue, you have to play to public sentiment. Molly is pandering to her audience’s expectations.)

  4. LOL Simmons ever since that grammar debate I keep finding myself going back and trying to do single spaces after periods when I initially put double. I must do some further research into the matter.

    Really it just dumfounded me that someone would use integrated experience and Apple as the standard. If she had said Google services on Android I would have had zero beef but Apple is all about the apps.

  5. You know what, she has a right to her opinion, but some of her points are just plain ignorance. Murani did a better job of addressing some of her silly complaints than I would. So I won’t waste the time.

    Yes, the turn-by-turn is a bit silly, but didn’t Microsoft say this would be addressed in the final release? Even if it wasn’t, there are tons of great turn-by-turn apps in the marketplace, starting with Garmin.

  6. Don’t worry about the 2 spaces. I’m on the Surround right now, but when I’m using a keyboard I still 2-space out of habit. It just shows you’re a touch typist of a certain age. :D

    “There doesn’t need to be an app for everything.” Nice! I totally agree.

    Hmmm. Nice wifey is going back to watching football now.

  7. @Doug Simmons: I might have more to say on the matter, but certain members of the community might again publicly accuse me of engaging in homosexual acts of gayness, which might make my wife and children cry.

  8. I think I’m picking up what you’re putting down, Ike.

    By the way, I really wish I had written this. Good stuff, might have helped my credibility-restoration campaign. Of course I would have used a better image…

  9. Well written article Murani. I agree to everything you stated there.
    As for Molly being a tech blogger, and clueless(or bias or catering to her readers)on how to access Skydrive is IMO ignorant. She had a whole week to play and learn how to use it. There a videos and blogs on how to access Skydrive.
    There are other third party apps for GPS for turn-by-turn, and YouTube apps. So Molly, there are apps for that. But Windows Phone 7 is all about integration, and it’s about making your life simpler “A phone that will get you in, and out, so you can get back to more important things in life”

  10. Molly Molly silly bird. You reviewed this phone and sounded like a turd. You make like an expert as the queen bee in the hive, but your expertise can’t operate simple Skydrive. You sound like you’re paralyzed by DroidX, because you can’t recognize what’s hot next, so you fall back next on Speech to text.
    Android is not really worth the hype, especially to those that know how to type. Any expert will tell you the reason why Windows Phone is so Fly. Xbox live, Facebook, Twitter and MS Office is different too, you can find this out from a Monkey at the Zoo. The price for admission is covered with just Zune Pass, your “just Okay” review makes you just an ass.

  11. Credit to both Brandon Watson and Molly Wood. The fact that such a balsy challenge was even possible is testament to WP7’s capabilities. I like Molly will not be going back to HTC but only because NOKIA is going to be on the block. Man, I can’t believe they gave her a faulty handset when going out on such a limb. I think WP7 came off OK considering that she’s a little numb too.

    ps. I only hate double spacing when someone points it out.

  12. @pacific: Thanks Stan City. Yes Ali the fact that WP7 came out and she still said she liked it with the beta software and faulty phone shows the promise of the platform.

    Now on to getting the phones into the hands of Nokia and WebOS devs. Let them lead their respective communities to the platform.

    I stopped paying attention to CNET the moment i learned there were other sites on the net.

  13. I love how you don’t link the article, Murani. Also appreciate your inventive use of the apostrophe right in the title which sort of sets the tone of your authority on this and that.

  14. If CNET tech reviews are being handled by people like her, then they’ve lost credibility, totally. It is not possible that she did not find how to access documents in skydrive.. did she even went into the Office Hub.. at all? And she subscribed to Zune marketplace, had access to the whole library and complained that she could not upload music??? why in hell would you like to upload something that is already there? Even Apples cloud service does not upload songs already in the marketplace, it would be a waste. As for voice integration it is spot on, she didn’t complaint about the lack of it in Android or Iphone. Granted, WP7 should have voice recognition in emails and Zune player. There are other features she didn’t even try, like Local Scout, indoor mall maps, movie showtimes, integration of the pictures hub with facebook, email conversation view, unified messaging. Comparing smartphones for the apps is pointless, because sooner or later, the same app will be available in every worthy platform, so if the Iphone or Android is ‘better’ because of a certain app, when that app is available in WP7, then which phone will be better? A smartphone must be evaluated in its own merits, its functionality and integration out of the box, not on the availability of a third party app that could be easily ported at any time.

  15. Over at CNET they have Stuff that’s highly rated, which is always followed by user reviews that say that merchandise sucks. It’s thier policy to pedal crap!

  16. It’s even worse she first claimed that you can’t save a phone number because she was long presssing on the phone number (I guess like Andriod) instead of just pressing it. She literally didn’t know how to press the PRESS THE F*CKING BUTTON. I would never that thought that someone would have to teach to try pressing it instead of holding it down. If I was the CNet eitor, I would be a bit embarrassed by this.

  17. I found her article in a google news search for this Microsoft Google Latitude app you guys have (while Microsoft is at it, wouldn’t it be nice if they copied Google Maps Navigation too?), discovered it has hundreds of comments on it that were along the lines of this post, real anger about how she’s lost all credibility and whatever, got the anti-Molly anger here, I bet there’s another piece like this on WMPU and wherever else you people congregate, then I flipped on the video expecting something full of cheap shots.

    I didn’t really hear any. To me it was a laywoman/power user’s first two week impression of this thing, so obviously her needs and what she’s used to won’t match up with everyone’s (I never use voice recognition, hence my not writing about it in my own review of WP) and her conclusion was somewhere between neutral and it’s not for me. I only listened once but in addition to the voice thing, the maps thing was another complaint and as I understand the situation a pretty valid one which she went easy on, something about having to use IE to get the Skydrive experience on your computer which, like OWA, is lame, and that it’s elegant and gets the job done for most people.

    Your response to her (by you I mean you people, not just Murani), rallying up the troops to attack her wherever there’s a post box, Murani with such anger that out of spite he sent her a gesture of not dignifying her review with a link, really nasty stuff just because she didn’t fall in love with your thing and suggested the iPhone is a viable alternative, that is a very disproportionate response. So disproportionate that it suggests, from where I’m sitting, you’ve got some underlying anger, perhaps at the rest of the world for being too sheep-like to join you, maybe at Microsoft for prioritizing iPhone app development. Such anger! You treated her as if she’s one of these phone sales reps not pushing Microsoft hard enough, another thing for which you have this wrath.

    She didn’t deserve that and you know it. And apology article wouldn’t be out of line. I’d write her a chin-up cowgirl kind of thing but even I can only withstand so much fury.

  18. @Doug Simmons: I’m really trying to stay true to my faith so I won’t devolve into a caveman here. Instead i’ll simply outline in clear fashion once again the issues.

    1) At 1:50-2:02 she says that Zune Pass allows you to download AS MANY songs AS YOU WANT. Combined with streaming the entire music library thats a killer feature. No spending time upload your music to the cloud. She should see the ridiculousness of this. Apple, who pretty much is the standard on simplicity, doesn’t require their users to upload their music either. To make matters worse Google Music BETA which she cites as an example of an integrated option doesn’t even have a marketplace from which you can purchase music.
    2) 2:29-2:40 Molly says “she couldn’t find a way to access Skydrive on the phone besides using the browser.” All the while she is attempting to scroll the app list. She is looking for an app despite the platform’s overriding design concept being integration. Seriously, watch the video again and its clear that she is locked into an app-centric mindset. It also painstakingly shows that she has not watched a single Mango demo. That is inexcusable for a person in her position.
    3) 3:00-3:05 Maybe its the psychology/human behaviorist in me but her body language tells the story that she is indeed trying hard to say something positive. The thing is that nobody is buying that is how she feels. It is clear that she’s struggling. I’d rather her just come out and be more like you Simmons. Be clear that its not your cup of tea and that you’re sold on Android and whatever particular app you use to accomplish a task.
    4) 3:17-3:35 She says that people looking for an nice, easy to use integrated experience is probably going to buy an iPhone. The iPhone is NOT an integrated experience. They champion the “there’s an app for that” model. Please show me how anyone in this field can say such a thing and be serious about that.

    Remember when the first review she posted after her 1st day she was lamenting the unavailability of apps such as Words with Friends and Spotify. From the sound of things she doesn’t strike me as a power user at all. How about downloading AlphaJax or even Words by Post which is cross-platform?

    Also take note that I didn’t blast her critique of turn-by-turn either. I will say again, she comes across as someone who hasn’t even paid attention to the platform. Apology? For what? If i’m categorically wrong on anything I said show me the proof and i’ll recant but don’t say i’m being too harsh and displaying anger. Nobody said she launched cheapshots at the platform. Everyone’s anger is directed at the apparent ignorance displayed. I will never apologize for expecting someone in the tech journalist field to do proper research.

  19. 1), 2), 3), 4): Well so what? She framed this as a challenge on the platform to win her over, an Android lady with exposure to a variety of phone things, after a good two weeks’ worth of use. And it failed to do that, it failed to win her over, her next phone purchase won’t be a WP.

    The draw to this article/video is to see how this particular lady would digest the platform after a few weeks. For those looking for a platform comparison and music cloud service comparison table, there’s Wikipedia (and the services themselves) and less editorialized spec sheets on CNET among other places.

    “Apparent ignorance” — you’re right to use the word apparent because it only appeared in your head and those of others so desperate for this platform to succeed, vilifying anyone who you don’t feel is helpful. Look at you with all your track marks of when she says what little thing that’s inaccurate. I remembered none of these things and guess what, I’m not going to go back and play the tape with your guide on another screen. Unless you’re actually suggesting this woman cooked this up to troll at the expense of WP rather than take the thing for a spin and offering a human take on it, given that the crux of the piece to most people is whether or not it won her over, why break balls? It would be just as damaging to your cause no matter what she said about your Zune Pass. Hell I hadn’t even heard of Zune Pass until now. Maybe you should be upset at Microsoft for failing to get the word out about how awesome it is.

    Don’t tell me not to say you’re being harsh and displaying anger. You’re being harsh and displaying anger. And how come I have to prove that you’re categorically wrong about something in order to apologize? She was only nit-picky wrong and you threw the book at her. If she were categorically wrong, wow, petition campaign time for Murani.

    I can guarantee you this, you would not have your panties in such a wad if she got details about Zune Pass wrong and said the iPhone is right for some people if she had concluded that all-in-all the thing was pretty good with the fruity tiles and that her next stop, as she’s up for an upgrade, is AT&T to buy one of these things. If she had done that, you’d give her a pass on Zune Pass, which would make you even more of a douchebag.

    You didn’t even link her thing. You go on a rant of a point by point breakdown about how horrible a journalist she is at proper research, yet you won’t cough up a stupid link. Where’s the logic in that? It’s not in the SEO books, I’ll tell you that, though it does expose the hurt in your butt. If she had arrived on a less tepid conclusion she would be your queen even if she said that the entire platform was Flash-based.

    Ignorance, proper research, CAPITALIZED RAGE, inexcusable, ridiculousness, I’m a psychologist and a behavorist… man, what a dick. It’s a video of some half-geek chick on CNET offering her take that she gave a good two weeks to the platform, which is a pretty reasonable amount of time, to form and you’re tearing it apart like photos of the moon landings. If I were you I’d be delighted to take this as a sign that WP’s finally on the map, some CNET broad trying the phone out for a few weeks and doing a thing on it. To me that’s impressive about WP, that someone in her position actually bothered to do this in the first place. That’s a milestone right there — congratulations.

    Dick.

  20. @Doug Simmons:
    [QUOTE]She framed this as a challenge on the platform to win her over, an Android lady with exposure to a variety of phone things, after a good two weeks’ worth of use. And it failed to do that, it failed to win her over, her next phone purchase won’t be a WP.[/QUOTE] failed? or she is too ignorant to even try OR she is biased? I would say she is both!
    Definition of an ignorant person:Throughout my life I have had to deal with a wide range of ignorant, overly negative, and fear based individuals. These people constantly hover in the negative emotional levels. Anger, fear, guilt, pride, and apathy dominate their lives
    She lost her credibility for being a tech blogger. She really should step down, and be like you.

  21. You all should work in PR. Just what WP needs to get more press from these nonniche somewhat mainstream outlets, bunch of rabid self-righteous dicks wishing you lose your job if you don’t do enough homework (and by that I mean if you don’t become a convert).

  22. Criticising someone for having an opinion is indeed unacceptable. However, most of the anger you see on the tech pages is not because she did not like the UI or some feature. In fact, she quite liked the basic elements that make up WP7. The anger is mostly directed at her being so lame as to not know how to use a smartphone and then complain that it doesn’t work. I have gone through all three of her posts (Initial, Week 1 and Week 2) & videos and she comes across as a person who tried to push open a door which needed to be pulled and went to town about how the door is bust. Anger also because she was offered a challenge and when she accepted it she donned the role and responsibility of a judge, a role that she squarely failed to fulfil, because she didn’t know what the heck she was judging. Anger also because as a tech journalist, it is her duty to carry out some research and cross-checking before putting pen to paper, specially when she’s in castigating mode, a duty that seemingly didn’t even cross her mind. If anyone needs to apologise, its Ms Molly Wood and CNET. As for loyal WP7 fans, who are already clutching at straws due to the lack of traction for their beloved platform, such vacuous and unmindful journalistic assassination was perhaps the last thing needed and their anger is well justified.

  23. Yeah well… Hell hath no fury, seems these ladies here are no exception to that.

    I still think, hurt feelings aside, that this does more good for the platform than bad, and that knowing you got a guy at Microsoft who charmed some CNET lady to use a different phone for two weeks and then do a piece on it, not bad. That sparked a lot of discussion, might lead to someone at Wired or PCWorld or whatever trying it for two and a half weeks. Pageviews all around.

  24. @Doug Simmons: Indeed it does do the platform some good. She didn’t condemn the platform and you can bet more and more people are trying to get a phone to try out Windows Phone. I’ve seen quite a few requests on Twitter.

    Hey Simmons we should get you put on the list. You’re rapidly moving up the list of tech celebs. Of course you do have a great phone and haven’t heard any complaints so not sure how that would work out.

    I’m seriously considering getting the Nexus S on Sprint.

    I will be purchasing the iPhone 5, Mango phone (Nokia SeaRay hopefully) and Android phone (hopefully Nexus Prime).

  25. I think Molly review is very fair. WP7 is not at a point where it can change someone’s mind to switch to another OS or be a person’s 1st OS (like apple and android phones were in the past. Those OS were not good but it was better/different than WM and made someone want one). Like she said, at this point of the game, Microsoft should be on point with everything. They should not have to make future promises for features that are available on other OS’s (they’ve done this since day one with WP7). It’s not like they don’t know what people want and are using in a smartphone. Just look at the other OS user experience. If Apple or Android made promises at the beginning (cut & paste, exchange server sync, etc.) MS should not, and that will be a beginning to making WP7 different than the others.

    By the way, they should have used a phone better than HTC. I’ve owned 3 HTC smartphones and all of them sucked when compared to other brands I’ve owned. It just seems like MS is trying to rush something to market and use paying lab rats to work out all of the problems with their OS. They look so unprepared and un-organized. Android is not the answer and IOS is questionable too but MS needs to get this correct right out the box. Hell they’ve been making mobile operating systems longer than anyone and they still don’t get it. Everyone expects more from them but they constantly fall behind in mobile OS.
    Simply, they are not getting good results and if you make a challenge like this to get more exposure, MS should be prepared for the huge negative feedback from famous people when they know the product is not complete. The users make the final decision of a when a product fails or wins (and not our comments on a forum, message board or comments section of an web page article) and so far MS has failed.
    When compared to other mobile OS, the 1st years of IOS was better than WP7 and the 1st two years of Android will be much better than WP7. Unless you expect something drastic to change, WM7 will not have the same success as IOS or Android, but time will tell.

  26. Disclaimer: I’m a happy Windows Phone user.

    I was a little troubled with how Molly framed the challenge. She chose two things that she likely knew were weaknesses with Windows Phone 7 – Mango: the mapping and the numbers of areas where speech to text is supported. I mean, she SHOULD have known that those were not strong areas.

    Brandon connects with celebs (although I didn’t know who she was until this) who complain about thier current device. Her video IGNORED how Windows Phone stacked up based on those items that she complained about with Android. We still don’t know what she thinks about those items. My guess is that Windows Phone 7 did better than she expected and knew from the get go that she would go back to Android.

    Hey, I’ve read critical reviews of Windows Phone and I can respect well thought out arguments. This “review” seemed more like a girl who has an obnoxious, disrepectful boyfriend so she goes out with another guy. She knows all along that the new guy is respectful, cultured and kind, but in the end she goes back to her bad boyfriend and bases it all on the fact that he has a cool car.

  27. Wow, Doug. More anger and insults from you than most of the winpho fanboys combined here. Might want to take a couple of objective steps back from the comments for just a second, unless it was all flame bait anyway.

  28. Hey cut me some slack, I’m dealing with earthquakes over here, don’t add to my strife.

  29. @RowdyC:
    See this is where the disinformation put out by Molly causes damage. Seemingly her review is open and fair, hence leading to your comments. However anyone that has actually handled WP7 (even for a very short while) will see the errors in her statements; for instance that the phone kept crashing. One of the main highlights of WP7 is the O.S. – Hardware fusion; in that the phone does not lag, does not crash, and certainly doesn’t require constant restarts Unlike other’ unamed O.S’s).
    Infact it has been noted that even the Betas run smoothly. The O.S. certainly ISN’T half-baked! Is it lacking features others have, YES. But, for what is presently included, it runs as smooth as silk, so much so that you can even convince yourself that what’s lacking doen’t even matter, It’s that good!
    And that is where the damage in Mollys words come from, by seemingly being honest whilst stabbing it in the back! How many people do you know that will purchase an expensive electronic item, for which they require certain functionalities, that won’t peruse the manual to find out how it works, but will that have the effontery to stand on a podium (and on that has an audience at that) and proclaim to the world that it doesn’t work really well, is missing so many apps and isn’t integrated?
    Would you?
    Whilst calling yourself a Technology Journalist?!!

  30. First of all, that’s an unflattering freeze frame of her.

    Secondly, Bug Bog, the lack of usable driving software and underwhelming voice recognition, if I recall, was a dealbreaker to Ms. Molly, though it might not be to other people like me for example, as I don’t use voice recognition even on a platform that supports it impressively nor do I drive (though I do use the new Navigation blend of Google’s transit stuff, which is pretty sweet).

    The story was about whether or not, after a good two weeks’ worth of use, the phone won Molly over to make it her next purchase. It didn’t do that and that’s the message she conveyed.

    Whenever you guys get your Ovi Maps, I’m sure Molly would love to take another two week challenge for you.

    Like I said, and I was serious when I said this, that you’ve got this Brandon Watson fellow who got this CNET gal to mess around with a phone for two weeks and do a thing about it, given how essentially no one owns Windows Phone phones (I have yet to spot one..), take that as a compliment, an achievement, a milestone, regardless of what phone Molly will buy next or what detail she got wrong or if integrated means one thing or the other. CNET’s the big leagues baby. They’ve got podiums man, podiums, and they’re integrated too.

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