The Legendary (self-proclaimed) Battery Boss

Okay guys.  I’m going to warn you up front.  This is going to be a little out there.  Let’s start slow with a little quote from a Simmons comment on Ramon’s article.

“What I still don’t get is how there used to be outrage here that Microsoft was selling out and ditching everything the XDA crowd liked about their phones yet now, after some leaked screen shots, decent PR, hype and youtube clips, most of you are drooling over its release. As complete a 180 as the changes to the phone that set it apart from all the others (well, that and that relatively few people owned them).”

Cool.  I get what you’re saying.  After reading your last post I considered what you said about how Microsoft pretty much tossed their existing user base aside like a twice-used condom.  Microsoft’s market share rests somewhere between not shit and 3/4 mark of the “other” column you mention so often and it’s because no one wants it.  Windows Mobile had its time when nothing could touch its functionality.  I’m going to take you on a metaphorical journey to illustrate my point.

Let’s start by placing Windows Mobile.  It was originally put together in 2000, which was a time when a hell of a lot less pictures sent, facebook statuses updated, and twits twated via a mobile phone.  It was for email through exchange servers and to this day it still offers some of the best exchange server integration.  The point is that this Mobile OS that took us through the first decade of the 21st century was designed at the beginning of that decade and has lost some of its appeal and comparing its functionality is an interesting test.

Think of Windows Mobile as a mature and venerable mobile OS in the spirit of Betty White.  A sweet old lady who knows and does everything you can imagine but is not so great on the eyes.  No one can deny the awesomeness of Betty White.  However, when you place Betty White next to let’s say the Olsen Twins you begin to notice the shortcomings that are a product of age.  You have one cracked out and stripped down Olsen (IOS) and then you have the diabetic sweetness of the non-crazy self-loathing Olsen with an identity crisis (Android).

Similes make me smile.

This is a snapshot of the Olsen twins (and Operating Systems) as they were when the Nexus One was released.  But don’t be so quick to forget this was not always the way of things.  There was a time when men sat counting calendar days for the Olsen twins 18 birthday just as there were losers waiting for IOS and Android to enable Copy and Paste.  All the while Betty White was hanging out with the Golden Girls, doing Saturday Night Live, and generally making our lives more awesome with what she had left.

The Force is strong with what's left of her.

Now Betty White can barely move and all the other Golden Girls are dead, but the Olsen twins are legal.  They have gotten over some of their personal issues (copy paste, multi-tasking, anorexia,) but they still have their quirks.  Now we bring this whole metaphor full circle to introduce Microsoft’s newest child, Miley Cyrus.  This young and still maturing platform still has a lot of potential for foundational changes and not just face lifts.  I’m not saying that the new Windows Phones aren’t lacking because they are missing some core functionality and it hurts.  At the same time there are things possible through the dynamic aggregation of application functionality into a single and productive hub environment that just isn’t possible with a folder.  The functionality will get there (just like it did with Android and IOS) and go beyond as a newer generation and user interface paradigm that will shift the focus from grid based app/widget arrangements.  Although this same generational gap occurs when comparing a more mature celebrity or a mobile OS the balance will shift.

Let me know if I’m reading too much into this or if Simmons is the crazy one.  Drop us a line.


  1. Hey all right, my business suit picture on the front of the site. I look good! Though tough to compete with the Olsen twins. Okay, gonna read this on one screen and comment real time on another.

    Twice-used condom? Keep those similes up and we’re definitely gonna make it onto Google News. Thanks for comparing one of the Olsen twins to Android. The identity crisis diabetic, is she the hotter and slightly younger one, right?

    To extend your Betty White being WinMo thing, in addition to getting to watch her all the while copy and paste technology was slowly being adopted by the chicks who have greater life expectancy and can still bare children, while watching WinMo Betty you also have to hold the antenna all the time, aiming it in slightly different directions that someone told you about being slightly better than the one you had been holding it toward the week before, adding some tin foil, trying out a coat hanger extension and then go debate which way’s better with other guys in your boat versus kicking back on the couch with a built-in massager thing and watching with excited anticipation for these two broads to turn eighteen finally (to surpass the competition) and in high def.

    Oh great, now I have to read an AOL-owned Engadget article you linked when quickly googling for something not too negative about WinMo. Yikes, this one’s long. Time for monitor three. Doesn’t go into much depth other than identifying it as the one you get to have a more endless experience on XDA with. That and “Windows Mobile has made some gains here over the years, but still suffers from inborn deficiencies that are clear the moment you start using them.”

    What’s the big deal with copy/paste anyway? Which would you rather your Mom be able to do were you to give her her first smartphone, use the phone or theoretically copy and paste were she ever able to use the phone?

    David K wants me to put a WP7 launch date countdown clock on the sidebar of the site. Just looked up Miley Cyrus to get an idea of this comparison, see she turns 18 soon. Which clock do you think would bring us more traffic? Better open up the wordpress config on monitor number four. That’s right, I got four.

    Foundational changes, you call changing the name of your product, which by the way still is Windows CE, a foundational and not a superficial (face lift) change? What are Android’s face lifts, coming out with new OS releases periodically that have a tendency to be different and better and many ways, and not only that but detaching the main Google apps (Gmail client, Maps, Youtube) from OS releases, meaning you can upgrade to the newest Google Maps when it’s ready rather than waiting for the entire OS release to be ready? Android gets better and better all the time. One guy asked me if I want a Nexus Two given how much I love my Nexus One. Good question because when I look at this thing right now and think hard I cannot come up with any deficiency — other than, say, a lack of official and full-fledged Google Voice VoIP, though I understand we’re about to get that. Are you going to get that? Or does MS have something better than Google Voice?

    By the way, lots of brilliance and prolific manifestations of it, be it operas, paintings, poems, rap music along with technological mastery and capacity for prediction, have come from crazy people.

    “Dynamic functionality aggregation” — woah, ease up Harvard.

  2. Dead on accurate IMHO. But I am just a little closer in age to Betty than Miley so let’s see if WP7 can work for me. Maybe they need to include some Viagra in the box.

  3. Betty White’s an all-time classic, to be remembered fondly forever. Its all about the disturbed, publicly deficient tweenie who just doesn’t know how to build a safe environment.

  4. You know me well Mr. Simmons and your cable organization directly resembles my methods as well. When I move I throw all my loose cables into a garbage bag and then just pull them out in a wad and hook them up.

    Foundational changes indeed. Just because it is still based on Windows CE doesn’t mean there aren’t major changes in the way the system operates from an end user standpoint. I’m sorry to get above your vernacular with my use of words like dynamic so I’ll make it easier for you. :) The idea of a hub-centric model (WinPho7) v. an app-centric one (IOS/Android) changes the experience in a significant way. As you’ve seen everywhere by now app-centric has the negative experience of splitting up data and functionality into multiple locations on your phone. This is obviously more prevalent on IOS with its static app icons (sans that stupid and pointless ability to add a number. woo-freaking-hoo) than Android with its animated and definitely more functional widget system. I’m a fan of widgets, being from the old SPB Mobile Shell crowd, but I’m also able to admit the advantages of the hub-centric model and I think it’s something that can improve the experience of, not only WinPho users, but hopefully Android in future versions. I’m not saying Microsoft created a masterpiece. Da Vinci, Ballmer and crew are not. However, they were insightful or lucky enough to envision a creative and efficient way of allowing applications and additional functionality to coexist in a single and intuitive space called a hub. And these hubs (including Bing maps) and even functional pieces of the hub can be updated independent of one another or the OS itself. Your misunderstanding of Bing Maps integration being tied to Mobile OS updates is merely telling of your app-centric mindset. In the world of WinPho apps blend into the functionality of the OS and appear to be a “part” of it, although these parts can be updated and changed independently.

    And your point about copy and paste merely confirms that the stupid people who make phone platforms successful (because people like us don’t win any contest for Mobile OS’s i.e. WinMo) don’t care and will lap up any electronic device that treats them like a 3 year old who doesn’t understand what the hell security and permissions are.

    So yeah, WinMo sucks and WinPho isn’t perfect. But neither are the prolific and genius people either if we are to take some of your observations to heart. All the tinfoil in the world wasn’t going to resurrect WinMo just as plastic surgery has the limitation of diminishing returns (for more info see Cher). I just hope all these half-assed tablets flooding the market aren’t going to tarnish Android’s rep like any Windows based LG phone ever made.

  5. For me, LG is a prime example of why I feel Microsoft could do well to go even further with OEMs. Who at Microsoft approved of such a design? Clearly these phones were DOA when matched up against other OEMs.

  6. Why do we always point out the features that are present in (iOS/Android/WM) and missing from WP7, while we don’t consider anything from WP7 a missing feature from other OS’s?

    What makes Copy&Paste a missing feature from WP7, and doesn’t make the integrated Office experience a missing feature from the rest?

    I use office much more than C&P, and consider it a more prominent and valuable feature!

    I’m sure that if iOS had some features like: Live tiles, Zune pass, Office, Xbox Live, social integration, Super AMOLED, Keyboard …. and WP7 didn’t, it would be considered missing features and deal breakers!

    It’s not the “possible features” that make a device a success, it’s what it can provide more, better or differently than the others to the masses.

    It’s the “whole experience” that matters, and WP7 can provide a unique and compelling one.

  7. @mussab: I honestly haven’t even tried to use copy and paste on my WM6.5 phone in the last 6 months. The difference between platforms is that they try to paint all of WP7’s missing features as potential dealbreakers and other platforms as minor inconveniences.

  8. Your ugly mug aside Doug, that quite possibly was the most enjoyable read I’ve experienced from your fingertips. Gotta give some major props to Matt though for taking it to the next level. All this talk about Betty White though has me thinking of those Snickers commercials and I’m beginning to wish I weren’t at work so I could snag one. I can’t help but point to MS making it possible for third party apps to run in the background behind a lock screen as solid proof MS is committed to making WP as complete as possible as soon as possible. Can’t wait until all those “10 reasons why” authors have nothing but Android’s popularity to point to WP failure. What a stupid reason indeed. It’s obvious MS is not Apple, it won’t take two years to add basic functionality.

  9. Oh and as much as I hate to say it, mussab I would take the iPhone’s retina display over a super amoled screen any day. Compared side by side the super amoled looks downright early 90’s resolution, however bigger it may be.

  10. It seems Doug Simmons has become for Google what MG Siegler (of TechCrunch) is for Apple. Though owing allegiance to their own “can-do-no-wrong/evil” brands, they exist only for Microsoft bashing. While it would be a folly to expect them to understand and acknowledge any virtues that WP7 (or any other MS product) may bring to the world, their staunch opposition is ample proof of the strength and relevance of Microsoft. Quite the opposite of Ramon Trotman’s WP7-will-not-fail, these bloggers NEED WP7 to fail.

    Oh, by the way, even though I hate pointing out typos and miss-spellings…. being able to “bare” children is way beyond my overlooking threshold.

  11. i do find it funny that for someone who once suffered “stockholm syndrome” himself, mr. simmons is following the same path with his google allegiance as he once did with WM, burning himself out on all the cool stuff you can do with it and whatnot without admitting any fault on the mighty googles behalf even when they could clearly do better. simmons, its cool u wanna blow goog and all, but is it too much to ask you to evenly evaluate the OS’es and the features of them? at least anderson makes sense in his metaphors… even if he is “baked” :)

  12. Excellent question. I run Windows on that system because it’s a bitch to get a dual headed configuration working on Linux the last time I checked, which in Linux’s defense was a long time ago and maybe it’s since improved, so with a four headed setup with Nvidia cards (less open than ATI), figured I’d save myself some headaches.

    The systems I rely on the most, and the two which have been perfectly reliable, are Debian Linux, plus a testing/experimenting machine running OpenBSD, all three of which run with no monitors, something for which Nvidia’s driver friendliness with Microsoft comes in handy as seen in the picture, remote administration of multiple server serving multiple things.

    Though I typically use a smaller fonts in my terminal sessions.

    Guess what my phone’s running.

  13. Oh, one other reason: Microsoft Flight Simulator. Gotta hand that one to Microsoft, they know how to make a damn good flight simulator. Grew up on that thing. Which returns me to the four-headed point, while you might be able to run Flight Simulator using WINE on Linux (probably not), it’s nice to be able to spread out the cockpit components across four screens.

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