What Silicon Valley should learn from Windows Phone 7 app developers (First looks at Zagat and Loopt’s apps!)

So, if you haven’t heard about Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 yet, you are either living under a rock or Amish or something like that. Microsoft is spending a billion in advertising the new system. Will it be successful? Well, I’ve been visiting app developers to figure that out.

Early results? Yes, it will be successful. Why? A few reasons:

1. It’s a sexy new OS that gives app developers more capabilities. You’ll see that in the Loopt video when CEO Sam Altman brags that his app is able to display info right on the home screen.
2. Developing for it is easy and consistent across the devices that it runs on, unlike Android, which requires testing and specialized development for each different handset.
3. There are a ton of bored developers who are familiar with .NET and Visual Studio who are chomping at the bit.
4. Almost every developer I’ve met lately has been approached by Microsoft’s evangelists (I used to be one so am familiar with the tactic) and have been offered everything from money, to discounts on other Microsoft products, to developer time to port apps. Microsoft knows that if its system has no apps no one will buy its phones, even if most customers use very few apps (the belief that they are missing out on a more capable ecosystem, they know, will keep them from buying).
5. The hooks with Microsoft Xbox have developers intrigued. Why? Well, just sign into Xbox Live and see how many people are online right now. I’ve been playing with Microsoft Kinect for the past few days and, damn, a lot of my friends are into Xbox. Gaming drives a lot of revenue on phones. Just talk to the folks who developed Angry Birds.

So, what can Silicon Valley’s mobile companies (Apple, Google, and others) learn from these developers?

First, watch the videos with Zagat’s head of mobile, Ryan Charles, showing off its Windows Phone 7 app:

And also take a look at Loopt’s Windows Phone 7 app, as shown by Loopt’s CEO, Sam Altman:

1. Phones now are going to be judged on what info will get displayed on the home screen. That makes Apple’s iPhone look lacking. Apple’s screen just shows you a count of things that are waiting for you. For instance, Whrrl on my home screen is showing “8.” That means that eight messages or friend requests are waiting for me. But that’s pretty lame compared to Windows Phone 7, which shows a lot more detail.
2. Apps are going to need to be photographic in tone. Look at the new Zagat app’s home screen and how beautiful it is. Makes Zagat’s app on iPhone and Android look pretty lame and Nokia and RIM? Not even in the ballgame.
3. Apps are going to need to have better cross-app links. Look at Zagat. It displays info from Foursquare users (tips) and Foodspotting users (photos of meals). Take that further, Apple is starting to look dated because its apps don’t allow interoperation. Wait until Tuesday and you’ll see another example on Android of how a system can do better integration than is allowed on iPhones.
4. Microsoft’s Xbox Live is showing signs of becoming a full-blown social network that could make Google very jealous. How? Well, I stood in front of my Kinect tonight and it recognized it was me, not my wife. Also, we’re using Xbox to watch movies, download music, video conference with friends (very cool feature of the new Kinect, by the way), and do other things. Facebook, Google, and Apple better watch for those things to come to Windows Phone 7.
5. The real money is in enterprises. While Apple had to convince us one-by-one to stand in line to get our iPhones, Microsoft knows that it can convince entire companies to switch, which will bring tens of thousands, or sometimes even hundreds of thousands of users in one swoop. Heck, I work for Rackspace and we have 3,000 users. If Rackspace decided on one phone system over another, I’d have to use it even if I didn’t like the choice (luckily Rackspace hasn’t been like most enterprises so far). I’ve already started seeing chatter of entire companies going one way or another. Microsoft has some big sticks to convince CTOs to go with Windows Mobile “would you like a deal on Exchange, Sharepoint, SQL Server, and Office?” Google and Apple don’t yet have a consistent answer to the Microsoft salesforce.
6. Google and Apple have to treat developers better to ensure innovative developers support them only. Microsoft +is+ winning over developers due to easier-to-use-and-more-powerful development tools and love and feeding due to 1,100 evangelists working the globe. Does Apple have 1,100 evangelists? No way. Neither does Google. So both have to find ways to make developers more loyal. In Apple’s case there’s industry-leading revenues. In Google’s case? Number of handsets. Will those arguments work in 2011 though? Microsoft is coming on strong.
7. But to me it comes down to the visual aesthetic. You have to see the new Zagat app. Can Apple or Google match this look and feel? Not yet, and that’s something they should look to beat.

How is Apple fighting back?

Well, Kik just found out how good being featured in Apple’s iTunes store is. They got more than a million users in just a few weeks. Heck, a less interesting app, FastMall, got 250,000 users the same way. Would they be able to get that many on Google or Microsoft? No way.

Also, Sephora.com tells me that most of its store’s mobile users are using Apple devices. Same thing with eBay’s CTO. OpenTable’s Mobile Team. All tell me that Apple has the most lucrative customers. Can Google or Microsoft get in on that action? Well, Zagat and Loopt aren’t leaving that to chance and have built great apps for Windows Phone 7. Other developers? They tell me they are waiting to see how Windows Phone 7 sells before dedicating precious developer time to that platform.

Listen to Zagat’s Ryan Charles and he says he is getting a lot more feedback from Apple’s users, which helps him develop better apps.

One other huge negative to Windows Phone 7 that I’ve heard from every developer: the Web browser is sub standard. Way behind Android and iPhone. I sure hope Microsoft fixes that soon, because a whole other range of developers are betting on HTML 5 to get into mobile. There’s a whole range of companies who don’t have enough developers, like Loopt and Zagat do, who want to build really great web-based apps, but who are looking at the browser in Windows Phone 7 and finding it really is crappy. That’ll hold back excitement of Windows Phone 7 for a while.

How about you? Are you excited about Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7? Are you building an app for that platform? Leave a comment here.

About Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, I travel the world with Rocky Barbanica looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology and report that here.

60 thoughts on “What Silicon Valley should learn from Windows Phone 7 app developers (First looks at Zagat and Loopt’s apps!)

  1. Roy, I too strongly prefer a physical keyboard but your obsession with the benefits of a physical keyboard sounds irrational and uninformed. At least 80% of the Android phones sold in the last year have no physical keyboard. Aside from the Droid, Droid 2 and G@/Desire Z there hasn’t been a broadly popular physical keyboard Android Phone in 2010.

    Currently I use an HD2 with an Energy ROM and while I miss my physical keyboard it is far from a deal breaker. I agree that the lack of 3rd party multitasking and Copy and Paste are very discouraging and at least for now a deal breaker for me. If you like all the benefits of Windows Mobile (Like Me) and want to give WP7 time to prove itself I strongly suggest you pick up a Touch Pro 2 with an Energy ROM or if you can live without the physical keyboard an HD2. The many benefits of the HD2 more than outweigh the missing keyboard for me but the choice is up to you.

    If you are really ready to give up on Windows Phones than I hope you are willing to live with a soon to be dead Blackberry OS that does email and keyboards well and most everything else is substandard compared to IOS, Android, WP7, Pre and even Nokia. Good luck in whatever you choose.

  2. Wow Anton, your comments make absolutely no sense. It almost seems like you didn’t read any of my previous comments. But ok

  3. From day one, yes, obvious to anyone, by then, but think back BEFORE to the Vista era and Mobile Phone days, and the “N95 is a better iPhone” yakking. Your predictions, well not so much. When it’s clear as blue sky, that matters not. :)

  4. Ahhh geesh, I kinda like it (and Zune), now that you think it will be successful, it’s doomed, unless at some halfway point just when it’s getting wheels, you throw in towel, THEN it will fly.

    My unsolicited thoughts…

    1. Interviewing developers, already invested, not very representative of a sample pool, of course they will say sing praises to beyond the solar system, regardless of “what phone they personally like”. And all the employee and MVP freebies, fake artificial demand.

    2. Success by what measure? Xbox billions lost get and stay in the game, that type of success?

    3. Marketshare is it’s own demand, once you have “evangelists” out there bribing and arm-twisting, it’s already a lost cause. All this developer drama is so much rot, whatever. Prove it in the market and developers will flock to you, no matter how arcane and annoying you be.

    4. Marketing won’t work. Joe User is going to think “computer on a phone”, virii and spyware ridden machines, that crash all the time. Sorry, just the perception, less so with Windows 7, but another generation before that passes. More Mobius junkets, and MVP and web-site insider-baseball games, with dull (and principals always hours late) lunches at CES. Pocket PC/Tablet marketing redux I predict. Awareness, brand equity and consumer perception is the game, but they will ignore that and coddle “early adopters” and “evangelists”, and other freebie hounds, go swarmy party “social-networking”, and call it marketing, cue up Beth Goza and other robots.

    5. Enterprise and niche bright spots, Symbol scanners and real RFID-ish and DOD-level apps. Think it will take here, but niche and small market. And Apple already has an infrastructure serious, only thing holding Apple back is the (insane) carrier exclusivity, and that will change, I know of a Fortune 500 that will go Apple if on Verzion, lots just chomping bit, it’s got nothing to do with Developers or all that drama queening, End User demand rather.

    6. Nice clean great UI, but nothing compelling enough to stop a truck, also ran. Sigh. I do so ever like my Zune, and then Tablets, MS Reader eReaders, UMPC, Spot, WebTV…same ole’ story.

  5. Still somehow I feel that its (may be) better than Andriod (but hard to believe) but not better than iPhone…at the end of the day, its still how many people embrace it.

  6. While Developers on iOS may get upset that it takes longer than they feel it should to review their apps and they may get frustrated when Apple kicks things back to them requesting changes to be submitted, the Average User could really care less. Seriously, they do not care and why should they?

    Fact is, no matter how bureaucratic the app submission process may be on iOS, Developers keep coming back because they know that is where the money is.

    As for the “unfriendly development platform” comment goes, what I have learned as a Developer is that Microsoft Solutions Developers do NOT like to leave their comfort zone and thus they do not like to learn new programming languages. Objective-C is based on the old Ansi C Language which is also at the roots of Microsoft’s C# .NET Language, however, I have found that Microsoft Developers are unwilling to learn the differences in the Objective-C language. Instead, they say it is ugly, non-intuitive and thus they don’t bother trying.

    Case in point, I was on the MonoTouch beta (for Novell). MonoTouch is a C#, .NET bridge to writing iOS Applications. It allows the developer to create applications using the .NET skills they already know. They still need to learn some things related to CocoaTouch but they don’t have to program in Objective-C. The developers that have moved to MonoTouch would NEVER have actually gone as far as to actually learn Objective-C primarily because they wear their Microsoft issued blinders. They physically can’t pick up any other technology or language.

    Many of these very same developers are also on the MonoDroid beta (C#, .NET for Android). All they talk about is how they want Android Development to be exactly like Silverlight and Windows Phone 7 Development. They simply do NOT want to get out of their comfort zone.

    While I respect MonoTouch and MonoDroid I have no respect for the people that use those bridges because they refuse to learn something new.

    So, when a Microsoft Developer says to me “Objective-C sucks” or “Apple sucks” I translate that to “I don’t want to have to learn something new and would much rather work with Microsoft than Apple”.

    That is just plain ignorance.

    As I mentioned, with MonoTouch and MonoDroid, Microsoft Solutions Developers can use their C# .NET skills to now develop not only for Windows Phone 7 but also iPhone and Android. However, when I asked Microsoft Developers if they did that they normally answer “NO, we will destroy the competition by winning over users with our superior applications”.

    That answer just shows me they have so much to learn.

    Apple’s App Submission bureaucracy sucks but in the end, consumers do not know that and don’t care and if a Developer wants their applications to remain relevant and they like getting paid, they will continue submitting their apps to the Apple App Store.

    In terms of Android, many Developers and large Development Shops have all found that building just for iPhone doesn’t work. Android Apps are a must these days, no question.

    Hopefully Windows Phone 7 Apps will become a must as well.

  7. While Developers on iOS may get upset that it takes longer than they feel it should to review their apps and they may get frustrated when Apple kicks things back to them requesting changes to be submitted, the Average User could really care less. Seriously, they do not care and why should they?

    Fact is, no matter how bureaucratic the app submission process may be on iOS, Developers keep coming back because they know that is where the money is.

    As for the “unfriendly development platform” comment goes, what I have learned as a Developer is that Microsoft Solutions Developers do NOT like to leave their comfort zone and thus they do not like to learn new programming languages. Objective-C is based on the old Ansi C Language which is also at the roots of Microsoft’s C# .NET Language, however, I have found that Microsoft Developers are unwilling to learn the differences in the Objective-C language. Instead, they say it is ugly, non-intuitive and thus they don’t bother trying.

    Case in point, I was on the MonoTouch beta (for Novell). MonoTouch is a C#, .NET bridge to writing iOS Applications. It allows the developer to create applications using the .NET skills they already know. They still need to learn some things related to CocoaTouch but they don’t have to program in Objective-C. The developers that have moved to MonoTouch would NEVER have actually gone as far as to actually learn Objective-C primarily because they wear their Microsoft issued blinders. They physically can’t pick up any other technology or language.

    Many of these very same developers are also on the MonoDroid beta (C#, .NET for Android). All they talk about is how they want Android Development to be exactly like Silverlight and Windows Phone 7 Development. They simply do NOT want to get out of their comfort zone.

    While I respect MonoTouch and MonoDroid I have no respect for the people that use those bridges because they refuse to learn something new.

    So, when a Microsoft Developer says to me “Objective-C sucks” or “Apple sucks” I translate that to “I don’t want to have to learn something new and would much rather work with Microsoft than Apple”.

    That is just plain ignorance.

    As I mentioned, with MonoTouch and MonoDroid, Microsoft Solutions Developers can use their C# .NET skills to now develop not only for Windows Phone 7 but also iPhone and Android. However, when I asked Microsoft Developers if they did that they normally answer “NO, we will destroy the competition by winning over users with our superior applications”.

    That answer just shows me they have so much to learn.

    Apple’s App Submission bureaucracy sucks but in the end, consumers do not know that and don’t care and if a Developer wants their applications to remain relevant and they like getting paid, they will continue submitting their apps to the Apple App Store.

    In terms of Android, many Developers and large Development Shops have all found that building just for iPhone doesn’t work. Android Apps are a must these days, no question.

    Hopefully Windows Phone 7 Apps will become a must as well.

    1. Here’s a little back story to go along with my comments above and the previous “built for the Visual Basic crowd” comments to Scoble above:

      Back in 2001 when Microsoft first created Visual Basic.NET, the classic VB crowd went nuts because their beloved drag/drop language that filled in the blanks for you as you typed was being turned into a real language that could stand up with the big boys. They didn’t want to have to learn anything new.

      Move forward 6 years and you get the introduction of Silverlight. While Microsoft Solution Developers everywhere scoffed at Adobe Flash and never even heard of the Object Oriented Developer centric Adobe Flex and were still poking fun at VB guys, Microsoft released a new Adobe Flex competitor (yes, Flex and not Flash as Flex is the Developer version) and C# Developers jumped on it. They loved the simple drag/drop mentality of it. That same mentality that enamored Visual Basic Developers.

      However, that old VB style drag/drop style didn’t appeal to agile developers who were used to their MVC Frameworks and Unit Testing so MVVM was created. The output wasn’t different but it required more work and it separated the Men from the boys. This is sort of a pattern amongst Microsoft Developers, you must draw a line at what is programming and what is just “playing around”.

      Move forward again to the September/October 2010 time frame.

      Leaks coming out of Microsoft told everyone that Silverlight was on it’s way out and that HTML5 was the new focus for Microsoft.

      Microsoft Solution Developers revolted but MVPs calmed them down. None of them could believe they might have to actually learn to develop for the Web using Web technologies… you know, that standard markup language and technologies used by everyone else (HTML + CSS + JavaScript).

      Skip ahead to PDC 2010. The cat is out of the bag. Microsoft execs made the very same statements but clarified that Silverlight was better suited for Corporate Applications while HTML5 was better for Consumer Web Sites and Applications.

      The Silverlight crowd revolted in numbers even larger than before. They didn’t even listen to the “Silverlight is better for Corporate Apps” part which is what 95% of them were doing anyway.

      This time, the Microsoft execs swooped in to back-peddle on what they had said and to reassure Silverlight Developers that they didn’t really need to learn anything new.

      And there you have Windows Phone 7 Developers. They don’t want to invest time into learning anything new so learning Objective-C or Java, all languages built off the very same C language their favorite C# came from.

      I call that lazy.

      Like I mentioned in a previous comment, I hope Windows Phone 7 developers will remove their blinders, put down the kool-aid and look around them to realize that iPhone and Android are very important to their revenue stream and hopefully they will learn to use the tools provide by the Mono Team at Novell to rapidly port their apps over to watch their investments grow.

      But I will point out that many Microsoft Solutions Developers scoff at Mono, the cross-platform version of .NET which I feel is pure ignorance.

  8. Hey Scoble, you can’t go around interviewing Microsoft Solutions Developers on their thoughts on Windows Phone 7 and then declare it an instant success. That doesn’t make any sense at all. If you interviewed an iPhone Developer and asked him if iPhone was successful he would smile and say “Yes”. If you asked him if Windows Phone 7 would be a success he would laugh so hard you would have to turn your camera off. The same goes for Android Developers. You just simply can’t judge a mobile platform by it’s Developers.

    iPhone and Android Developers make Apps for phones that Consumers love.

    Windows Phone 7 Developers currently are the only love that Platform has seen.

    Was the Twitterverse all excited today about the release of the phone? No, a handful of Microsoft Solution Developers were happy though and NO, they didn’t find huge lines when they went out to get their phone either.

    Let’s hold the celebration for later when the smoke has cleared and we can see how the general public reacts. And NO, you can’t consider the significant others or families of Microsoft Solutions Developers as the “general public”.

    I had the opportunity to go to a Windows Phone 7 Developer event this weekend and there was a good mix of the kool-aid drinkers and general mobile Developers. I noticed that the Microsoft Evangelist who was running the show laid everything on the table and told us that Windows Phone 7 is NOT done yet and admitted to problems with current implementations. The kool-aid drinkers were fine with that but the developers that were already developing for iPhone and/or Android asked a lot of hard questions about “why this” or “why that” because there are a lot of gotchas with Windows Phone 7.

    First, Developers only get 5 times to submit or re-submit FREE apps. After that its $20 a pop even though they already paid their $99 a year Developer Fee. On iPhone it is $99 a year and Android is $25 a year but you can submit all you want. This sort of left the non kool-aid drinkers a little disheartened.

    What about those countries that can buy Windows Phone but can’t buy Apps? Those people won’t be able to get your apps if they aren’t FREE. So, the solution would be FREE Apps with Ads but then that eats into your 5 FREE App Submissions per year limit.

    The solution was to create a “trial” version with a lifespan long enough to allow your FREE users to use it for FREE while getting around the 5 FREE App submissions limit. There would still be a price associated with the App but users could opt to do a “Trial” which is FREE and thus the Developer gets around the 5 Submission Rule.

    In all fairness that “hack” was provided by a Microsoft MVP and not the actual Microsoft employee (evangelist) running the show. But that should tell you right there that people find this to be stupid.

    Then there is the fact that Windows Phone 7 doesn’t have copy/paste or 3rd party multi-tasking which all the competition does. It also doesn’t have custom ringtones which both iPhone and Android do. Even the Microsoft Kin had custom ringtones and we know what happened to the Kin.

    The lack of a Business Solution also troubled many of the people attending this event. This means that Corporations can only release Corporate Apps to their employees by pushing them out as FREE Apps to the Marketplace but requiring a Login to use the App. The only problem there is that the Corporation will eat through the 5 Submissions policy and will then have to fork over $20 a pop every time they deploy a new App or Update. Of course they could use the “Trial” hack but that is really messed up.

    Let’s not also forget that submitting Corporate Apps to the Marketplace will inflate the App Count making it seem there are much more apps out there than there really are and then when Microsoft does come out with a Business Solution next year, all of those apps will then get pulled and moved out of the general Marketplace. You and I both know this will happen.

    Another really big hole in Windows Phone 7 is that Microsoft touts that Apps on Windows Phone 7 look better than on any other platform. This is indeed true when it comes to applications developed by big corporations with lots of money behind them but average Joe apps tend to look like something that was made for the “Hot Dog Stand” theme from Windows 3.1.

    We were shown several real-world, average Joe Apps and they all really looked lousy. No color, no artwork, just plain Jane forms. Kind of lame.

    But this is the big one that will really bite Microsoft and their legions of Developers in the behind. According to Microsoft, it takes the grace of God to get in as an XBox Live Developer. So, that means that Average Joe Developers have to create non-Xbox Live Games in Silverlight or XNA.

    That’s not the bad part.

    The bad part is that Microsoft purposely lists Games made by their Partner XBox Live companies first and then everybody else comes last. This means that after a Developer spends all their time working hard and getting friends to help them with Graphics, and Audio, etc. and getting it into the Marketplace, their hard efforts will be lost at the bottom of the pile.

    I have personally gotten into discussions about that with a few developers on Twitter and they were very upset to see their Games at the bottom of the list. Remember, this is just the beginning. The XBox Live Games list is still kind of small. Wait until it grows. It will be very hard to find the so called “Indie Games” in there. Let’s try to remember that some of the best Games on iPhone and Android are “Indie Games”. Remember Rolando and how about “Angry Birds”. Yes, that game is Indie as it was not party of the buyout for the small company it was part of. It is now on its own. Microsoft’s response so far is “this is by design”.

    Windows Phone 7 ain’t all sunshine, rainbows and unicorns. Don’t go out there and interview Microsoft Developers and declare the platform a winner. It is way, way too early for that.

    1. Um, I agree with many of your points, but both of these developers (Loopt and Zagat) are big-time iPhone lovers. They even admit such. Most of the developers I talk with are iPhone developers NOT “Microsoft Developers.”

      But, remove those attacks against my objectivity/reporting and I’d agree with most of your observations. It’s early, yes, but I’m seeing more signs than you are that Microsoft will do OK with developers. They are in a deep hole, though, and have a long way to scratch out of that hole.

    2. Um, I agree with many of your points, but both of these developers (Loopt and Zagat) are big-time iPhone lovers. They even admit such. Most of the developers I talk with are iPhone developers NOT “Microsoft Developers.”

      But, remove those attacks against my objectivity/reporting and I’d agree with most of your observations. It’s early, yes, but I’m seeing more signs than you are that Microsoft will do OK with developers. They are in a deep hole, though, and have a long way to scratch out of that hole.

      1. I agree Robert that I did kind of jump on you there but there are some points of your article here that are a little over the top.

        For one thing, Developers are not chomping at the bit about the XBox Live Integration. Regular, run of the mill Developers, those ones that sweaty Ballmer was talking about when he jumped around on stage screaming “Developers, Developers, Developers” can’t even develop for XBox Live. They must settle for Indie Game Development and thus their Games will be less likely to be noticed.

        I also wouldn’t list “device testing” as a downside to Android. There are many differences in the hardware being used for Windows Phone 7. Yes, there are specific hardware requirements but once those requirements are met, other hardware vendor changes can be made that can introduce problems.

        Besides, testing is a necessity as any good Developer knows so testing on as many different pieces of hardware or environments is a must.

        Is developing for Windows Phone 7 as good as they hype? Yes, however, it is only because it was built for the Visual Basic crowd with drag/drop and don’t worry how this really works built into the philosophy behind it. Building any application that way usually leads to problems.

        Also, as I mentioned, Microsoft made it dead simple to build for it but ease of development doesn’t make for good apps. To really meet the goals behind Windows Phone’s UI Guidelines, a team of Graphic Designers is a must, otherwise the applications you build will look like they came out of Windows 3.1.

        With that said though, this iPhone guy turned Android will be blogging tips to help both the Windows Phone 7 community as well as providing cross-platform tips and tricks to help as well. I love mobile computing so I’m more than willing to help.

    3. Um, I agree with many of your points, but both of these developers (Loopt and Zagat) are big-time iPhone lovers. They even admit such. Most of the developers I talk with are iPhone developers NOT “Microsoft Developers.”

      But, remove those attacks against my objectivity/reporting and I’d agree with most of your observations. It’s early, yes, but I’m seeing more signs than you are that Microsoft will do OK with developers. They are in a deep hole, though, and have a long way to scratch out of that hole.

  9. “According to your thought iPhone should be a huge failure. ”
    No, according to this thought, iPhone is simply less of a success than it could be (just like Apple desktops). On the other hand, Apple has made some enterprise headway in recent weeks, but the Windows 7 phone — depending on app integration with the enterprise behemoth that is Office — could dwarf it in less than a year.

    “wondering how much you are getting paid to make arguments like: “real money is in enterprises”. ”
    No money is neccessary to make such an obvious “argument.” It’s the reason Windows dominates in the desktop OS market despite offering an inferior UX (and yes, I’m generally a Windows user).

    “How does it apply for consumers?”
    Those of us who are forced to use Windows for work are more likely to use Windows as a phone OS, even if not forced. Personally, I won’t be using a Windows phone, but I know many, many people who have been waiting for this just to remain in a familiar ecosystem.

    Seriously, did you even read the article? All of your questions are answered there.

    1. you are speculating big time saying that iPhone is less successful that it should be. Based on what? How much more success could iPhone have? 100% market? For a company that just entered into a new market and changed the entire game, I think they were very successful.

      What is the iPhone penetration on smartphones market? same as Apple desktops on PC market? don’t think so.

      You cannot compare PC and phone marketw. Very different. 2 players (PC, Mac) and the other has multiple: Nokia, RIM, Apple, Android/Google, and now Microsoft.

      I know many people that use a phone for work and an iPhone for personal use. So what?
      It is funny you talk about enterprise when iPhone is a consumer phone. How about RIM?

      Familiar ecosystem? What is familiar? Office icons? Apart of tiles and xbox integration, what really new did it bring? App store? touch? camera? HD video? music player? Ahh, perhaps the three buttons. Not even start talking about apps and the lack of many features that everyone in the market already has.

      P.S None of my questions were answered there. Very biased article, btw.

      And just because everyone loves ATT…

      1. Heheh. Funny that lots of other people have been sending me notes saying “finally an unbiased article.” But, I think all your questions WERE answered.

        RIM? Give me a break. Their OS can’t even load more than 30 apps (I have 356 on my iPhone). Everyone hates using the web and apps on their Blackberries. They use it because it has the best keyboard and email integration. Period. Break that and their users start moving to other platforms.

        What is familiar? Yes, Office is a huge start. People know those apps. They want them on mobile, too.

        What new did it bring? A new approach to UI. I like it, but I don’t like it enough to give up my iPhone.

        I was actually trying to be nice to Windows Phone 7 BECAUSE I’m biased toward Apple. Geesh. If I bashed it, I’m sure lots of other people would come out of the woodwork saying I didn’t give it a fair shot. Most of this article, though, was reporting on what mobile developers were telling me, and, sorry, there are PLENTY of developers who would love to be able to integrate into Xbox. I talk with lots of game developers, from the folks who did Angry Birds, to the folks who work at EA. Not everyone is locked out of Microsoft’s Xbox ecosystem and many want to have that kind of integration. Whether Microsoft has made it really good or not is something worth discussing.

        1. I am not quite sure why you said the browser is no good!! Is it the speed, the display, what exactly do you mean? If you compare the pinch and zoom to android then WP7 is miles better, scrolling down is kms better. Few days ago my friend’s iphone couldn’t display a page well and couln’t see the time of a concert so tried my WP7 and worked fine. The browser is as good as the iphone, better experience than android. Have heard that it’s not as fast as android but haven’t seen any videos where that happens. In fact the video I saw WP7 would load the page quicker but it will take little bit longer to fully load it than android. But not a life changer. So far the IE is probably one of the best apps on my phone. Can you pls expain why the browser is not as good?

  10. Good coverage but I’m a bit confused by your 3rd point regarding cross-app links such as the Foursquare/Foodspotting tie-ins. Aren’t those just API services that any app can take advantage of regardless of whether the Foodspotting or Foursquare apps are installed?

    1. APIs are important, yes, and the iPhone can do those, I guess I was thinking of more of the home screen and contacts integration that apps can do. Apple says “hands off” to developers about those things, where Android and WP7 let developers do a lot more.

  11. I enjoyed the videos. The article makes some good points.

    Steve Jobs swiped at Android and said it wasn’t open vs. closed but fragmented vs. integrated when comparing to iOS.

    Jobs, of course, was talking about integration in terms of Apple’s eco-system, which was unique but will come under fire with the MS Xbox Live/Zune integration of Windows phones. But Android and now Windows phones also integrate on the system level (Facebook integration, sharing between services, etc.) which will be interesting to see if/how Apple addresses that in future iterations of iOS.

    My iPhone friend found it confusing that he couldn’t show me a pic on his phone and then email it or Facebook it right from the photo. Launching the Facebook app, figuring out which icon would find the photo and then uploading it was a major UI problem for him for weeks before he and I figured it out together.

    1. You are kidding right? There are these things? Called icons? You can click on them? At the bottom of the screen?

    2. You’ve always been able to email a photo from an iPhone, directly within the photo viewer.

      FWIW, I find the social network integration awkward. It’s really kind of gauche to sound like you’re overly aware of a friend/acquaintance’s status updates, so the idea of having certain friends’ status updates feed to your homescreen sounds silly. Add the fact that the OS won’t be updated with the latest features (Places) and I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t prefer a specialized app.

  12. Great article! I’ve also found that on WP7 it’s *so* much easier to build great apps an you can create better apps than for Android or iPhone.

    I’m one of the developers who’ve created the currently top rated WP7 marketplace application, Cocktail Flow. We’ve set out to create a cocktail application with a better experience on any other mobile platform, see this video on what it’s like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qghf4e2n0Yc

  13. Seeing these apps makes me think that cross platform HTML 5 app developers are going to face an uphill battle.
    Lots of folks have said that HTML 5 apps are the future because they are cross platform, but now I’m not sure. It will be crazy to see how this pans out.

  14. “Phones now are going to be judged on what info will get displayed on the home screen.”

    seriously? i’m thinking clutter isn’t a selling point or a legitimate purchase criteria. but we’ll see.

  15. We’ve been working on an interactive video app for Windows Phone 7 for the last few months, with the help of Microsoft. It was originally intended as an iPad app but we ran into all sorts of issues with Apple. To be honest, WP7 has been a dream to work on and is really the only platform we could do this on – Android, as great as it is, would have been a nightmare for full screen HD video due to the fragmentation, especially around video drivers and screen resolutions. The app should be out today, and the new gameplay trailer is up at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOW3U4dosh0 (the web site is http://www.timedancercorp.com).

  16. I think that the point on screen size that is set here is a good point http://intenseminimalism.com/2010/the-importance-of-frame-why-apple-gets-it-and-google-doesnt/ A good constant quality appearance really makes or breaks an OS reputation.
    I also think that Windows 7 will have more GUI policy that is a good thing, as it is a good thing to have a lot of policy on iOs. Android might linuxize itself.
    Is seems also that after the usual one (Apple) has showed the new way, there are a lot good players in the ballpark and invention has restarted.

  17. Putting on solely my “end user/social device” hat here… I saw the prototype for the Windows 7 phone out in NYC in August. What kept drawing me in wasn’t just the pretty. It was the ability to put up to 8 people on one of the pages that I was connected to across various social networks and have it alert me every time one of them did *anything* on *any* of those networks.
    That’s linking social data in a new way on a mobile device.
    Say I put you on that page Robert because I knew we’d both be at the same event. I’d see your blog posts, Twitter updates, foursquare/gowalla/etc checkins, and have a holistic picture of whats going on with *you*. After the conference? You might get replaced with my friend from my daughter’s school here at home. But the sheer brilliance was in allowing me to follow a *person* not merely a platform. I think it’s one of the many game changers Microsoft has in this phone… and I never use that word lightly.
    It looks like the only one that could shoot it in the foot is Microsoft themselves. Let’s hope they get that browser fixed and the enterprise customers on board.
    Then we, consumers, have a solid 3 way race in our smartphone world… and that always ends up better for the users in the long run.

    1. >>> It was the ability to put up to 8 people on one of the pages that I was connected to across various social networks and have it alert me every time one of them did *anything* on *any* of those networks.

      Ummmm, I suggest you check out the App store. There’s probably a dozen apps that will that for you.

      1. but having it built natively into the OS of the phone is new. Yes “There’s an App for That”*TM but the less things I have to go out and get the easier a device is to use.

      2. but having it built natively into the OS of the phone is new. Yes “There’s an App for That”*TM but the less things I have to go out and get the easier a device is to use.

      3. but having it built natively into the OS of the phone is new. Yes “There’s an App for That”*TM but the less things I have to go out and get the easier a device is to use.

      4. but having it built natively into the OS of the phone is new. Yes “There’s an App for That”*TM but the less things I have to go out and get the easier a device is to use.

      5. but having it built natively into the OS of the phone is new. Yes “There’s an App for That”*TM but the less things I have to go out and get the easier a device is to use.

      6. but having it built natively into the OS of the phone is new. Yes “There’s an App for That”*TM but the less things I have to go out and get the easier a device is to use.

      7. but having it built natively into the OS of the phone is new. Yes “There’s an App for That”*TM but the less things I have to go out and get the easier a device is to use.

      8. but having it built natively into the OS of the phone is new. Yes “There’s an App for That”*TM but the less things I have to go out and get the easier a device is to use.

      9. but having it built natively into the OS of the phone is new. Yes “There’s an App for That”*TM but the less things I have to go out and get the easier a device is to use.

      10. but having it built natively into the OS of the phone is new. Yes “There’s an App for That”*TM but the less things I have to go out and get the easier a device is to use.

      11. problem with iphone model is the apps don’t talk to each other… Microsoft’s hub concept is something that at least as of now, apple has no answer for. If I have pictures from facebook, flickr, whomever they are all available in the pictures hub. Viewing the same sets of pictures on an iphone requires going in and out of multiple applications – not very user friendly.

        1. That’s the part of it that is so compelling. It’s native to the OS, so it’s fairly seamless and simple for the ‘average’ user to use. My mom could use it moments after seeing it. Comparably, on the iPhone, it would be too complex.
          As it stands now, that is.

      12. Actually, no. Maybe it’s that you have to see the interface. It’s possible that if you mod-ed a ‘droid sufficiently you could create an app that would have the same look, feel, and approach as the screen I’m talking about – but currently, it’s not comparable on the iPhone.
        Don’t get me wrong. I love my iPhone. I love my Droid too. But this is a different beastie altogether.

        I’m sure that there will quickly be comparable android apps rather quickly. But apple would have to change the whole OS on the iPhone to compare.

  18. As an indie developer, I am very excited by WP7. I think it’s a game changer in a number of ways especially in the information display area. The live tiles are brilliant and the typographic/photographic design of the interface is just a joy to use. On the development side, the tools are very nice and developing for this platform is a joy. I really have to hand it to MS, I didn’t think they had it in them, but the sure proved me wrong. Now the only question is will enough people get into it to allow me to make a decent living. I am betting that the answer is yes.

  19. The fact that they’ve combined the 5 or 6 mobile Franken-SDK’s from previous phone products (*shudder*) alone is staggeringly amazing. Give THAT decision-maker a big fat raise.

  20. While there’s no doubt that Microsoft has some big challenges to overcome, I for one think they have a good chance of getting back into the mobile game in a big way and becoming an influential platform. As far as the browser? Yes, I think they’ll get it revved pretty quick. Look how much of an HTML 5 bet they are placing with the IE9 browser. Wasn’t long ago that experts on the web were saying that MS lost in the browser wars… IE9 shows what they can do, and I bet WP7 will do the same for them in the mobile space.

  21. My biggest concern here is that MS is pulling a “Pre” or “Zune” – coming out with a genuinely strong product that will almost immediately be eclipsed by the entrenched competition. I mean, the launch hoopla of WP7 has already conveniently glossed over the fact that Apple and Google have already launched features that are generations ahead of WP7 – video chat, rich video editing, tablet ecosystems… Mark my words – the fact that MS has no tablet ecosystem linked into WP7 alone will ensure that it will NOT be the lead mobile platform for any significant product in the coming years.

  22. I too believe Microsoft has a fair chance of being successful here. It will all depend on the hardware partners to create sexy enough handsets. It’s the visual appearance that make people (except for the geeks) buy a phone, not the operating system! it’s all about status, put your iPhone on the bar and people notice, put your WP7 on the bar and it could as well be a many in a dozen Andriod phone.

  23. I definitely see it as a plus for Enterprise, winmo 6 sucks… If i were in charge of updating multiple hundreds or thousands of phones I’d be choosing Windows Phone 7, it is just too simple, who cares if Apple or RIM or Android “can” work – the fact that Microsoft stuff all works together nicely and is manageable at scale = win.Of course I’d make everyone use Windows Phone 7 devices and I’d stick with my Galaxy S, as the IT guy I can handle issues with out resorting to calling the help desk :)The Xbox stuff intrigues me, then I go to use a shit browser and Android wins. Who cares if the phone has all this good stuff if the browser sucks the phone sucks… I don’t use my phone for phone calls, i use it to stay connected to the internet, internet = browser + apps.

  24. Our CTO is from a .net background, so were developing lovefresh for windows phone 7. That said, it’s very tempting as a bootstrapped startup to go the html5 route, though lack of access to voice recording until next year is preventing us from providing our full featureset.

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