[Everything I write on this blog is my own opinion and not that of my employer.]
I read with interest the InfoWorld article entitled Windows Phone 7: Don’t bother with this disaster. I was surprised at the level of vitriol contained in the article. The anger that comes across in Mr. Gruman’s missive belies the notion that he might be writing something can be considered a reasonable critique. I guess what I found most telling about the article is that Mr. Gruman was not able to find one single positive thing to say about the phone. This runs counter to everything that I have seen with my own eyes. I only have a small amount of anecdotal evidence at my disposal, but what I do have indicates to me that Mr. Gruman’s opinion is (and will be) in the vast minority. People who have the phone love it, people who see the Metro UI think it’s cool and user friendly and people who develop for the phone are thrilled with the quality of the experience. I guess there’s not a lot you can do in these situations other than point out the universal truth …
… or put another way …
Now I don’t know what Mr. Gruman’s particular bias is, but he clearly has one. So let’s look at some of the hate and why I think it’s wrong.
Bit-o-Hate #1: No caveats now: Windows Phone 7 is a waste of time and money. It’s a platform that no carrier, device maker, developer, or user should bother with. Microsoft should kill it before it ships and admit that it’s out of the mobile game for good. It is supposed to ship around Christmas 2010, but anyone who gets one will prefer a lump of coal. I really mean that.
Here’s a potential caveat that he fails to point out: Windows Mobile 6.5 sold a lot of units. I know that’s not popular to say and it’s not cool, but it did. According to comScore, as of January 2010, Microsoft has 15% of the market. That’s a lot of phones. That makes Bit-o-Hate #1 simply FUD – carriers, device makers and developers are all going to make lots of money on Windows Phone 7. It is a smart business decision to support the platform.
Bit-o-Hate #2: And it’s not just the UI: Under the hood, Windows Phone 7 rests on creakingly old technology that the main competitors have all moved past.
This is a bizarre statement. I guess that’s why he just leaves it hanging by itself with no justification or evidence behind it. The truth is that Windows Phone 7 will be on advanced hardware (ARMv7 for example). It will also have the best, modern runtime (Silverlight) and development environment (Visual Studio .NET). It’s all modern: Every Windows Phone 7 is a Zune, every Windows Phone 7 has Xbox Live integration, Office integration, native out-of-the-box H.264 support and more. If he’s talking about the kernel, he’s going to have to come up with a better argument as to what is missing. But, I guess that’s why he just makes the statement and let’s it go without backing it up.
Bit-o-Hate #3: The developers at Mobile Beat quickly recognized the labor-intensity of this UI method and one asked the Microsoft rep if anyone had bothered to test it with users. The answer was essentially "no" — a scary thought indeed.
Argument from authority fallacy here. Some nebulous group of developers thinks it’s too labor intensive. But, the truth here is that everything is designed around glanceability and quick access to information. Furthermore, and I can’t say much here, but I can tell you from personal knowledge that the notion that the UI has not been tested with users is flat out wrong – more FUD.
Bit-o-Hate The Field
No HTML5 support: HTML5 is great, but not complete yet. The phone will support it when it needs to. This is simply more FUD. I wonder why he omits to mention that eventually the phone will support both Flash and Silverlight. I guess that just does not fit into his narrative.
No Multitasking: False. The phone has multitasking. There is limited access to multitasking to ensure a good user experience. You will still have your Pandora.
No cut and paste: Here I can only say that it will be very interesting to see what use cases come out that require cut-and-paste and if they are compelling. Personally, I believe to have a full Office experience, you need cut and paste. So, my guess (and I have no special knowledge here) is that we will see cut and paste soon. But the level of integration that the phone does between search, calendar, maps and browser make use cases that require cut and paste to be reduced.
The bottom line is that there is a lot to like about Windows Phone 7 and this guy couldn’t find one thing. Oh well. Haters gonna hate.