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Back from vacation! Got a funny video. Got NoDo. It’s disappointing…

So here I am, in the middle of the busiest time of my life: tons of work, family arrangements, a new kid (my second), health issues – the best timing to take a vacation!

Vacations are the best thing a busy person can do to clean his head. Anything else which doesn’t come with "big dozes" is simply not enough; it takes around a day to get used to the fact you are on vacation, just to realize you just lost a day out of your vacation trying to adjust…

Anyways, back to the scene: here I am, getting used to being away from a laptop, iPad, and technology, using just one phone, my Samsung Omnia 7 (yep, I left the best Android smartphone ever at home), when suddenly I get a message about an update available for my phone(!). I’ve been in this movie before, thinking I got the NoDo update ending up receiving an older (and useless I might add) update, but now I was certain this is the NoDo update.

"Finally!" I’m laughing – "the update!", just to read the rest of the message saying: "please connect your phone to Zune to learn more… ". Damn.

Anyways, this is how my vacation started, but since I promised myself to forget about technology, gadgets and the likes, I actually managed to avoid reading mails, answering phone calls, etc. The vacation was amazing, quality time with the wife and kids was a great joy, and my Samsung Omnia 7 served me well as a camera. It is really good, and the hardware button to quickly launch the camera is brilliant, it turns your phone into a "ready to use" camera. Something which always bothered me with other smartphones, where it takes few seconds to open the camera, usually long enough to miss the scene you wanted to capture.


Of course, not everyone found the camera to be that simple to use.

My wife, for example, always clicks on one of the capacitive buttons by mistake, resulting in weird videos or serious delays when trying to take a picture. I will say for her defense, that I think the Omnia 7 has one of the lousiest designs; the material it is made of is way too slick, the side curves are bad, they create a horrible gripping experience. I still love the phone (mainly due to the screen, camera and of course Windows Phone 7, but I sometime wish I had another model).

Here’s how a simple mission to take a short video turned into a challenging task all afternoon:

(and I apologize to all the gadgets freaks out there who may find this video a bit too mushy, I don’t often do this… please forgive me just this once)

Back to NoDo Update:

Anyways, back to the NoDo update. first thing I did when going back home was to open my laptop and connect my phone to Zune. The upgrade took around 20 minutes or so, and went smoothly. Way to go Microsoft. I know there was a lot of criticism about this update process – I actually think it went pretty good.

What I do want to say is that I feel that the update was disappointing in terms of content.

We knew the main items will be copy/paste, and performance improvements, but the improvements are barely noticeable on a day to day use, the marketplace search may be better, but after learning this MarketPlace app search trick (thank you MobilityDigest!)– I don’t really need it, and besides that there is simply NOTHING ELSE to play with!

I understand the need for a quick and stable update, but here are a few minor improvements which I’m sure could take a little effort to implement and could have helped Microsoft get some more winning points from anxious users like myself:

  1. More colors in the theme settings (com’on MS, give us some more customizations!)
  2. More ringtones and sounds (standard kit is too basic, all the sounds are the same!)
  3. If we are talking about ringtones – how about custom ringtones!? (that one might be harder and riskier to implement)
  4. A better in-call interface (expanding the additional buttons by default for instance…)
  5. Remembering the camera settings (this one is so annoying! I need the anti-shaking to remain on all the time!)

See? a list of 5 simple improvements / bug fixes which I’m sure could have taken few days to implement, seems like low risk (I’m a developer, I assume adding more colors or ringtones, as long as they are coming from a closed list – is risk free) and gain a some more credit by users desperate to see more features coming and fast.

To conclude, I finally got the NoDo update. It’s great to be part of it, but the improvements are minor and very disappointing.

But at least I had a good vacation…