Saturday, June 18, 2011

Is now time to try Windows Phone 7?



I was asked why I do not recommend Windows Phone 7 devices. I do and I don't. On this blog, I don't, because I can only explain so much in writing and I cannot query the reader. With friends, I tell them it may be the right device for them, but in a setting where it is possible to guide them if Windows Phone 7 will satisfy them.

Premium price makes entry a hard choice. The hard part about recommending a Windows Phone 7 device is the price. When I was looking at my next smartphone, I have a HTC Desire HD in one hand and a HTC 7 Mozart in the other. The two devices were the the same price point. So I had the option of joining an established eco-system or being a early adopter in an up and coming operating system.

The mistake, I think, with Windows Phone 7 launch was that the devices carried premium prices in a market with two established leaders, Google's Android and Apple's iOS. I am not saying that the hardware did not justify the price, but it made a buy decision hard. Microsoft should have tried to do what Samsung did with their Bada OS. Offer a high end phone at 70% of the price that it would normally command, which was what Samsung did when they released their Bada powered S8500 Wave. In other words, subsidize the phone, for early adopters.

This month Evernote was released for Windows Phone 7, and Angry Birds is on the way soon. The Windows Phone 7 ecosystem is improving every month. With each passing month, the high end specifications of 2010, become mid-priced phones in 2011 and joining a developing ecosystem becomes an easier choice.

Why bother? We have iOS and Android, do we really need Windows Phone 7? In a word yes. iOS and Android have a familiar feel. They feel like hand held computers. The Windows Phone 7 interface, with its like tiles really feels like a phone interface. Everything you need is displayed on the screen without having to hunt in menu's and sub-menus. It is a powerful operating system with a very simple and elegant interface. 

iOS is basically a well design app launcher. Android is an app launcher with widgets. Windows Phone 7 organizes information into hubs accessed through live tiles in the home screen. Rather than accessing an one app to get contact information and place a call or send an SMS to a person, launch another app to get that persons Twitter or Facebook updates and another to check a person latest mails to you, Windows Phone's people hub offers a integrates this into one place.Navigating this hub is as easy as navigating a simple web page.

Is now the time? Prices of Windows Phone 7 phones have gone down. Whether it will suit you or not depends on whether the available apps already suit your needs. As of June 2011, the Windows Phone Marketplace has 21,000 apps available. That may sound like a a lot, but iOS has more than 380,000 with 11,000 new apps a month, while Android has over 200,000 apps with more than 28,000 apps a month.
My advice. I would probably wait a little longer till 2012 when Windows Phone 7 devices get cheaper, Nokia joins the fray and the Markertplace grows just a bit more. At the very least, I would wait for Angry Birds... who can live without that.

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