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Windows Phone 8 Summit Staff Roundup

After roughly 24 hrs to digest what Microsoft unveiled at their Windows Phone 8 Summit. Users have been divided on the issue of lack of upgrade option from Mango to Apollo, the beauty of the New Start Screen and whether Microsoft has shown enough to mount a credible challenge to iOS and Android. We’ve gathered the staff’s thoughts to let you know what we feel are our big takeaways.

Doug Smith –Editor-In-Chief

For me the UX only got better. The smaller Live Tiles and the ability to change their sizes make Windows Phone the best out.

Microsoft throwing current device owners an update to 7.8 is awesome. Even though the current hardware does not support the new OS, owners of Windows Phones will be treated to the new UX and various other updates which will fall short of the complete 8.0 new OS. The fact that Microsoft will thumb their noses at carriers and roll out the update on their own made me stand up and applaud! AT&T owners will not be at the mercy of the Death Star and have to wait, or allow carriers to withhold this update to sell the new Windows Phone 8 devices when they roll out. That made me believe that Microsoft is strengthening like Apple and will not totally bow down to carriers.

Evan Powell – Staff Writer

I very rarely agree with Thurott but I think he said it best: Microsoft isn’t rebooting Windows Phone, they are rebooting Windows.  For as little as they actually showed off, I was impressed by the business emphasis that MS seems to now want to focus on (with the Surface as well) and I was impressed by they way MS is treating VOIP, location and voice.  Skype not being integrated in the OS until you download it was something else that was important to me.  I didn’t want to see MS gain all this momentum after the anti-trust lawsuit, only to run into those same problems again.  All in all, I’m still curious to see the end user changes (aka how effective that suggestion box app and website really is).
Native code, multiple core support, more screen resolutions and enhancements to IE10 is really just a “what say you now” type of thing aimed at all of Microsoft’s detractors.  Actually these last two conferences have felt like that.  With Surface coming I really have my doubts about pulling the trigger on a Transformer Prime this fall and now I sit with agonizing anticipation of the Google IO conference to see what Jelly Bean is going to be like/ differentiate from Apple and MS.  The detractors are losing things to complain about at a fairly high clip.  Those that said the installed base is too low to develop for the platform now will be placated with a good couple hundred million users.  Those that hated using managed code don’t have to.  Simply put, as Windows 8 and their apps grows, Windows Phone 8 grows.  As Windows Phone 8 grows, Windows RT (and Windows 8) grows.  As the app catalog for those grows, so will the 360.  This ecosystem is getting pretty #$^&@&$ serious.

I will say that I’m not sold on the start screen yet.  I’m one of those people that actually liked the right rail that became the left rail in the app list.  I need to see more info before I pass judgement but for right now, I’m iffy.  Maybe all I need to see is the applist itself…who knows.  I can wait.

Last thing, regarding Windows Phone 7.8, people were looking for the doom and gloom.  Microsoft provided enough for people to make it into just that.  It’s FUD-bait.  It’s ironic because Microsoft didn’t dance around the topic.  They said it flat, current devices won’t get Windows Phone 8.  Ultimately, it’s the right thing to do.  I need to repeat this, it’s the right thing to do.  There were complaints with Eclair devices not being able to go to Gingerbread, complaints about Froyo devices not being able to go to ICS and even complaints that devices shipped with Gingerbread well after ICS was launched (*cough cough* Galaxy Note).  On the Apple side of things, Siri is still not on the iPhone 4, the 3GS will see iOS6 but the original iPad won’t.  This stuff happens.  Apple, Google and yes Microsoft develops software to take advantage of new hardware.  This is nothing new.  The question to those that feel slighted is a simple one: would you rather MS name Windows Phone 7.8, Windows Phone 8 and bring reduced functionality to the devices compared to current technology (we’ll call that the Apple approach) OR allow OEMs to try to push an OS on hardware that simply just can’t handle it (the Android approach.  Yes it’s still happening with LG.  Take a look)?  I suppose the funnier part to all of this is that there’s no reason why a developer creating a Metro app should just target Windows Phone 8.  It’s still Visual Studio 2012, you can develop for WP 7.8, WP 8.0 and Windows 8 so why not shoot for the highest install base possible considering Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are backward compatible?

MartiM – Staff Writer

Ditto here. I Love the new Start Screen, I know that current hardware won’t support a lot of the new functions & I’m glad to see they’ll push to us what they can. It still remains to be seen how much the carriers will squawk, but all MS has to do is say, “Apple!”

I Will definitely be upgrading come the end of the year!

2 Bunny – Staff Writer

It’s all a big joke. Palm OS is a lot better.


There’s a whole lot more where this came from so stay tuned as we update the article as we get more opinions sorted out. In the meantime feel free to voice your takeaways and get this conversation moving.