When Windows Phones first went on the market, despite the expensive ad campaign, it was always known to be a ‘soft’ release. In other words, they needed to get in the game and release phones to start to build a platform but they knew that they weren’t going to takeover the market on day one. The goal was to get devices in hands and start to build brand recognition and buzz, as well as a solid offering of games/apps, while they worked on improving the OS to catch up to the market in areas they knew they were missing. For some of us, we were in no matter what they were selling and people like myself bought devices on the first day they were available. And while I love the experience on my Focus it’s always been hard to recommend it to others because some of the shortcomings are obvious and I can’t say to someone “the iPhone is a more polished OS and has more features but Windows Phones will take them over in two years so jump in now despite the current shortcomings.” And that’s why you don’t see that many Windows Phones on the streets.

I mean, call a spade a spade, right? The iPhone has a better market in terms of apps and games and that’s both quality and quantity and some of the apps, like augmented reality apps or apps that require background services, simply can’t come to Windows Phones. And some of the capabilities from copy and paste to the ability to easily store documents\files are simply lacking on Windows Phones. All other platforms have turn-by-turn mapping but on Windows Phone it’s a third party app that isn’t tied into the native Maps (Bing) app. Despite the fluidness and slick integration that the OS has, I found it hard to recommend it to friends because of the simple and obvious shortcomings. Note the use of the past tense…

Since then the Marketplace has greatly expanded and has solid offerings in terms of both games and apps. No, it’s not the App Store but that’s double edged because I don’t want 300,000 apps. I want an OS that is functional out of the box and doesn’t need 300,000 apps to work. And now with Mango on the horizon the time has come. I’ve now recommended Windows Phones to 4 friends who are still smiling ear to ear every time they think about their phones. Yeah, the OS is something special and the subtle niceties are simply genius when you use it and learn how to use things like the People Hub to its fullest. And once Mango hits Windows Phones will move into a new phase- a hard launch.

Expect a full scale ad blitz and a lot more prominence based on what the OS can do natively. Microsoft is finally getting its act together and with the new features they have an OS that’s different than everyone else. See, they may not do everything that the other operating systems can do, but it can also do things that they can’t do. Take the messaging integration – native IM (including Facebook) chat within the OS. For me – that’s pure awesome and will entirely change the way I use my phone. Good bye text messaging and hello to chat whether I’m at my desktop or my phone and that’s without running some third party app in the background that drains the battery. Music search and real time camera search built in – sweet. Live tiles with multi-dimensions are not just beautiful but smart and time saving while also saving your battery. Tying Twitter right into the phone – no need for an app to get more done.

And you’ll no longer be able to talk about a lack of HTML5, hands free messaging or turn-by-turn directions as those will be baked into the OS. And the fact that the core to IE is the same as the desktop version speaks volumes about the quality of the web experience MS is kicking out. A linked inbox as a smarter take on a unified inbox shows that they’re not just checking off boxes but they’re stepping over the competition. I mean, every time I watch this it excites me:

Mango is getting ready to go RTM and that means MS is already working on the next set of features so expect this pace of innovation to continue. We still don’t have the list of 500 changes yet and there are likely still some Xbox Live tricks up their sleeve to be announced this week. And as more news comes out about Windows 8 and developers get excited about the reality of writing once for three screens (Win8, Xbox and WP7) with common code expect the app market to explode in a good way. Just think about it – they can code apps and games and have more devices available than any other ecosystem.

Microsoft has their foot on the pedal. Both Windows Phones,Windows 8 and dare I say Xbox 360 show a common theme – Microsoft gets integration again. Last time they understood that they were hit with an antitrust suit but being behind has some advantages. You can see Windows, Windows Phones and Xbox moving towards a fully integrated complete packages that are beyond the standard core experiences you’d expect.

With Mango you can open the box, enter your Live ID and be set. Deep social and app integration wrapped in a slick OS that you periodically glance at because it’s just that damn pretty. All of this without sitting there watching a task manager to ensure your battery will make it more than half a day.

They got it…they finally got it. Bring on Skype. Bring on Xbox. Let’s do this!

23 COMMENTS

  1. I still ask what a user is looking to get out of a phone first, but with Mango around the corner, can recommed WP with more confidence. Having a respectable device available on all four major US carriers help too.

  2. I agree with everything.
    I just hope carriers learn the OS and really push it to the customers.. Cuz it doesn’t matter what MSFT does but if att,vzw,tmo,sprint said No, all will be wasted …..good post can’t wait

  3. Great article. I’ve never hard sold my Windows Phone to anyone. I just let people see the difference between WP and Windows Mobile. SOnce they see some cool things the phone can do and how things like facebook is integrated then they begin to form a high opinion of the phone. In the end i’ve seen quite a few people go to Android because they are on Sprint and they view the Evo as a great phone because everyone else they know on Sprint either has that or the Epic.

    The availability of multiple, good looking Windows Phones on all carriers is essential to mass consumption. The sales people have to be more informed too. Way too many reports have surfaced of people going into stores and being actively and purposefully pushed away from Windows Phone unto Android and the iPhone.

  4. I hope they push the hell out of it. I mean, you can’t go 10minutes without seeing an iphone or htc commercial right now.

    Will they? probably not.

  5. I have an Samsung Omnia 7 and an HTC HD7 (wife)… We love it!!! We can’t wait long enough for Mango either, seeing all these new features they’re adding. I just read the post on the audio (podcasts) and video features they’re working on…sweet!!! Bet you next week they either have an Xbox or Contact feature to announce. I’ve noticed that all of these features are revealed around the “hub”

  6. @Chris: I think what Android has proven is that with the right marketing push there is certainly room to grow even when Apple is firing on all cylinders. Three years ago anything that was released within 3 or 4 months of the iPhone would have been ate up but not so much now.

    I think another thing that has really hampered Windows Phone adoption is there is no single flagship type of device yet. I see so many HTC Evo phones that you would think it sells on par with all the other new smartphones and that was released over a year ago but still gets commercials dedicated to it by Sprint. Windows Phone needs a carrier and oem to step up and have a flagship device that distances itself from everything else.

  7. Only 8 months in the market, with 20,000 apps 2updates already 3 to 4million phone sales that’s not bad at all…im confident wp7 will be no1 in the future, I dont know when but it will, a lot of people are talking about MSFT catching up with IOS and Android??? I asked them what it is to catch up????? First they say is apps???? Wtf!!!! There’s nothing to catch up with the big 2….

  8. @MuraniL:

    Amen to that.
    I see plenty of kiosks with salesmen are pushing for android and iphone. MS is not getting any special treatment, and because of this, I see the reason why the sales are lagging.

  9. I currently own the pretty good Adnroid Phone SAMSUNG INFUSE…I am nearing my 30 day return policy and I’ve been tempted to go get the AT&T HDC HD7s…here are my thoughts:

    Front Facing Camera: I’ve used it several times when my daughter and I are out and want to snap a shot together. My wife and I have also used Qix video chat a few times a week to chat at lunch.

    4G: Yeah, I’ve seen no changes in my phone speeds. I didn’t purchase it for the “4G” anyway so it really isn’t a keeping point for me.

    Customization: If I want a totally new launcher screen (live tiles on WP7), I can go from my built in touchwiz, to LauncherPro or my currently in use SPB Shell 3D. I like having “tiles” of screens of categories of apps/functions. On the flip side, I DO like live tiles. But I did convince someone to purchase a WP7 and I played around with it for a while and it seemed more like SPB Shell in a sense…nice look, low utility value.

    Here is my “day to day” that I use with my Droid:

    Outlook Syncing: I sync Contacts, Calendar, Tasks AND Notes via Companionlink/DejaOffice…it works rather well…not as clean as ActiveSync did but it works well and wirelessly. I used ActiveSync for 4-5 years and simply can’t live without syncing with Outlook.

    Remtoe Desktop: When I get paged, in a pinch, the VPN and Remote Desktop (especially Citrix receiver) come in Handy with my Android Phone.

    Dropbox: I am a heavy DropBox user. I know better SkyDrive functions are coming with Mango but I need this now. I can also do the same with SkyDrive on Droid with an app called Sorami.

    I am not trashing WP7 at all…just can’t take a step back for 18-24 months. The HD7 is a fine phone but it does lack some in the camera area compared to the Infuse. Considering I don’t want to lose my most important features now, it would be better to wait for the Second Gen phones, Mango and post Mango updates…

    Thoughts…?

  10. I think you should stay with ur heavy duty ANDRIOD.
    WP7 right now is still young and immature, here’s what I say, if you want a different experience go wp7… Mango will bring a whole new different features and experience that you will never see from Android and iosIOS and I almost forgot NEW HARDWARE, WE WILL BE SEEING HARDWARE THAT WILL MAKE APPLE SAY WTF!!!
    STAY WITH ANDROID. Do the waiting game if you can .

  11. @ed: I think I am for now…it is a rather good phone for an Android but I’ve never taken my eye off WP7…I was part of that pre-lanch Backstage website and even won a Zune for my posts…here’s to the future!

  12. @ed: Judging by the rubbish we’ve seen from Acer I dont think we are going to see anything special hardware wise from anyone apart from Nokia because as is clearly evident WP7 is not a priority for the other OEM’s compared to android and they will produce the same lackluster devices we saw at launch.

  13. @ed: Side note…our work is most likely moving to Verizon…I have a work issued iPhone now and hate it. When we go to Verizon, going to request the HTC Trophy… :)

  14. @efjay: Good lord. How many times do I need to say just wait. I would love to obtain the ability to read these kind of comments and not be moved by them but I don’t, so I can’t. If HTC, Samsung, ZTE and the like say that they want to make Windows Phone with Mango on it, then they will do it!

    Call Acer’s offering rubbish all you like, it’s still another OEM Partner for MS. I would love to see ASUS make something for customers too but I have a sneaking suspicion that they are waiting for Windows (Phone) 8.

    Bah, people are going to get me hot…

Comments are closed.