Well, this is going to be one of the longer posts. It all starts here: I remember being at the CeBit back in the early 1990’s and Novell trying to convince the visitors not to trust any DOS below version 7. Obviously that – in a very weird way – even worked out, because in my nightmares I can still hear that tune and the guy rapping* the slogan again and again from Novell’s booth. Nearly twenty years later it is Microsoft (btw. the very same Microsoft who thankfully ended Novell’s campaign back then by obtaining a cease-and-desist letter against it) trying to tell us, that version 7 of their Phone operating system is here to make our world a better place and eventually save us all. To my greatest pleasure Steve Ballmer chose not the rap the message at Microsoft’s official product presentation, which is definite plus because it prevents me from having more nightmares and therefore helps me to stay relatively sane a little bit longer. 😀
I’m currently using a HTC Hero running on Android 2.1 and I’ve been fortunate enough to put my fingers on a Win Phone 7 prototype device lately. Of course I was curious, if the actual devices would be as fast and smooth, as the product videos did show – and to my surprise they are. Everything is very responsive, clean, snappy and feels just awesome.
There are of course some more things than just the look and feel, I like about WP7. The first thing is integration. You log onto your accounts at Xbox Live, Facebook or wherever once and then just forget about it. You don’t need to check like ten social networks in order to aggregate your friends news, it is WP7 that does this for you. You just open up the person at the peoples hub and that’s it, all information is already there. Now that’s a BIG one for people like me, having friends constantly telling me things like „Didn’t you see that on my blog?“ or „I’ve tweeted this days ago…“.
The next thing is, that unlike other operating systems, WP7 is really centred about the user’s needs. Once you logged in to all of your accounts and personalized your starting screen, you’ll experience that everything you want to do or see is just a (very) few touches away. There are always options and shortcuts that lead you exactly to the point, you wanted to go to or let you do, whatever you intended to do. Obviously Microsoft did spend a lot of effort on predicting what people could really want to do at a certain point – and they did it well! If you want to, you can even make WP7 automatically upload all your stuff (a.k.a. pictures you took, messages, etc.) to your Skydrive, to allow you the most easy access from all devices and places.
Another good thing about WP7 is the integration of Microsoft Office and Exchange. Of course these are Microsoft products and you would expect nothing else than perfect integration of their own tools, but then again it’s absolutely irrelevant to me _why_ something works better than the competitors implementation, as long as it actually _is_ better. This is even more of big plus, as Office is still kind of a standard through the whole industry and business users most likely will have to deal with Excel sheets and PowerPoint presentations a lot.
Of course wherever the light is, there is shadow as well. And there is a big shadow when it comes to navigation. While Google’s navigation does work just fine, there is no such thing in WP7 at all. I am quite sure, that the app store will fill this hole one way or another, but in that case build-in and free navigation is the measure of all tings.
Another thing I don’t like, is that very much like Apple’s iOS and in opposition to Android, WP7 does not allow sideloading of applications. For most people this won’t be much of an issue, but diversity of suppliers is never a bad thing and I prefer the system I actually paid a lot of money for, to be as open and customizable as possible. Things like the upcoming Amazon-Store for Android will be very unlikely to be seen at WP7.
Last not least the Zune Pass, will not be available in Germany for the time being. Although this isn’t Microsoft’s fault (once again, blame the greedy GEMA!), the offer would have been an great addition to the other services. Where enabled the Zune Pass allows the user to listen to an unlimited amount of music and even keep ten tracks as DRM free MP3 per month for just 10 bucks.
All in all WP7 does a lot of things amazingly well and surely raises the bar for the next gen devices. It definitely has the potential to get a solid slide of the cake and it will be interesting to see, if WP7 cannibalizes sales from Android, RIM or WebOS, or if the smartphone market is growing fast enough to make room for all of them.
Now it’s Google’s turn and I just can’t wait to see Android 3.0. It’s just five more months until my current plan ends and I am keen to get one of those next gen devices – even though it prolly will be a tough one to decide what system to chose. Considering how much data Google and Microsoft could possibly get from those devices, maybe the choice will be more about what company to trust more, than about who has the sexiest gadget.
On a completely unrelated subject the TV station „Sport1“ chose to draw back from DVB-T in Berlin. No more „Doppelpass“ on Sunday morning, no more summarization’s of Sunday’s football matches. Half of the people I know in Berlin do not pay for cable and use DVB-T instead, so this is really a clever move Sport1…. not! I hate you! I really hate you guys!
More unrelated stuff: Two weeks ago I finished #179 of 11131 at a poker tournament, which made me kind of proud. I had quite a good start because there were some inactive players at the table, from which I could steal blinds, but later the tournament was quite tough and considered it being a freeroll the people played really well. In the end it was once more the queens who digged my grave. I went all-in pre flop with pocket queens, the other player showed the jacks (yeah!), I did hit my set at the flop (YEAAAH!) and by this time my chance to win the hand was 96,25%. Well, you know what that means: The other player rivered his backdoor flush (Hell, NOOOO!) and therefore kicked me out of the tournament. *sigh*
Another vicious comic. By reading this whole wall of text you really deserved it.
Also there is another one of these both interesting and funny posts at the Okcupid blog. Be sure not to miss it!
* A big, bad rapper telling me whom to trust. I think Novell actually never got the irony in that…