Windows Phone 7 Series loses some of its shine

W7psRemember when the first iPhone was announced way back in 2007 and how it was mocked, ridiculed, and criticized for not having basic features that Windows Mobile users had enjoyed for years? You know, stuff like multitasking, copy-and-paste, and expandable memory.

Well, fast-forward to MIX10 three years later and guess what Windows Phone 7 Series, Microsoft's shiny new mobile operating system, won't have. Yes. While news of the upcoming OS was mostly positive yesterday with word about the revamped Windows Phone Marketplace, a quick peek at some of the new apps, and a nice list of initial software partners, today some of WP7S's makeup wore off and revealed some pretty nasty warts. Never mind the previously known fact that all phones wanting to run the OS need to adhere to Microsoft's hardware guidelines; these next-gen devices will have more in common than just their looks. They also won't have user-replaceable memory cards (microSD cards may still be in some phones, but they'll be locked in place) or be able to truly multitask and copy-and-paste. And although Silverlight is used in the operating system, it won't be built into Internet Explorer, making any Silverlight-dependent websites pretty useless in the browser.

There's still plenty of time for Microsoft to conceal these blemishes before WP7S is released (and even afterward, really), but at the moment, I don't think those iPhone-mocking Windows Mobile fans are laughing quite so hard at the fruity phone anymore.

[WMExperts | Phone Scoop]
Pocketables does not accept targeted advertising, phony guest posts, paid reviews, etc. Help us keep this way with support on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

More posts by Jenn | Subscribe to Jenn's posts

Avatar of Jenn K. Lee

23 thoughts on “Windows Phone 7 Series loses some of its shine

  • Avatar of Steven L

    All of a sudden Jenn, it looks like picking up an HD2 was an even smarter move, doesn’t it?

  • It’s really sad to see them decide to step backward although the interface is kinda nicer.

  • Avatar of jimtravis

    I had been contemplating the purchase of a HD2 from T-Mobile, but was waiting for the details of WM7. Now that it appears everything I liked about WM has been removed, or hindered in Series 7, the HD2 will be my last WM device. Hello Android when the HD2 runs its course unless MS comes to its senses by then. If I wanted limited / hindered features within a too tightly controlled system, I would have already purchased an iPhone.

  • Now the WM6.5 devices will be highly sought after, since they have all the extra features ;-)

    But I do understand why they’re trying to consolidate the hardware, since it’s been out of control for years with all the various carrier customizations, but it seems like innovation will suffer. Now there will be no good reason to buy a Samsung over an HTC or LG or whatever, since they will all be cookie-cutter type phones.

    This works for Apple, since they build the software and hardware and can change either anytime they want, but the MS hardware partners will just be sitting around cranking out the same old thing over and over until MS gives them the OK to update the specs.

    I think this will eventually start driving even more of the manufacturers towards Google, where they can “be themselves” and add snazzy new features and better specs.

  • Wow, I sense a lot of negativity in this blog post. Did your or your iPhone’s feelings get hurt by all the Windows Phone 7 news?

  • No kidding! The fact that it couldn’t be upgraded wasn’t stopping me anyway, though. :-)

  • Haha, yeah, we’re taking turns weeping and consoling each other in the corner.

    Kidding aside, I’m actually a Windows Mobile fan. I had the AT&T Tilt, Xperia X1, HTC Advantage, Samsung Mondi, and an imported HTC HD2 that I just sold to buy the T-Mobile version when it comes out next week. I use an iPhone 3GS as my primary phone right now, yes, but I also use Android, WinMo, and now Maemo 5 (just got my N900 today) alongside it. I haven’t used webOS because I’m not interested in the Pre, but all mobile operating systems are still welcomed here.

    That said, it’s tricky to put a positive spin on WP7S not having features that WinMo has pretty much always had, especially considering how the iPhone was first received. Apple is heavily criticized for being so controlling and using battery life as an excuse for not implementing various features, and now Microsoft is doing the same thing. There’s no way of sugar-coating that.

  • “I think this will eventually start driving even more of the manufacturers towards Google”

    Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking too. Although the last thing Android needs is more fragmentation! ;-D

  • WM has been run by users and MS never had control over it. So tech savvy users enjoyed it so much. It pushed away the regular consumers coz in order for the phone to run properly, You have to patch this, patch that, reg edits and Flash custom roms. Regular consumers don’t wanna mess with that and in return, Carriers don’t make money off of WM phones anymore.

    MS on the other hand stepped up and do exactly what the most successful phone in history did(Which is the most hated by the tech savvy WM powerusers). Now, Poweruser are all in shocked. Can you blame MS for that? Hey, WM users should still be happy coz they still have the removable battery that they always use to mock the iPhone. LMAO!

    I always argue about this facts about iPhones in WM forums. I am always being flamed at. Now who’s laughing? I still go to these forums and guess what? They are gone hiding in embarrassment. What is their defense? Android. They turn to Android to save their (u know what)Which they mock as well before.

    This is coming from a WM Poweruser. I don’t discriminate OS’es. They all have strengths and weaknesses. It is what it is. There will be no perfect Mobile OS. There will always be missing and locked features.

  • Avatar of Vakeros

    Hate to disagree with you there jethro, but….

    Apple is successful because it is simple. You can be simple, but still have multi-tasking. You can be simple and still have removable Micro-SD cards. You can be simple and still have removable batteries. You can be simple, but still allow more advanced options such as skins etc.
    What MS has done is taken away what made it better to try to compete with Apple – where Apple already does it well. Removing the specific features Jenn has listed doesn’t make a phone any simpler, just cripples it. Most of my family have or are getting iPhones – because it is simple. That is what I was expecting from WM7 – a simple, solid OS, with simple installation of apps and a simple way to find them. What I didn’t expect was for more advanced options to be removed (which is unnecessary!)
    Having a stated minimum base spec. is good. If you don’t have that then your equipment won’t perform as well. But not allowing additional specs. removes the opportunity for personalisation.
    My phone is the most personal piece of kit I have. If I had a UMPC then that might be, but the one I carry with me everywhere is the one that I want to be mine. The blog is rightly negative, because WM7 isn’t really WM7 – it is a Zune Phone. I won’t be buying one and will probably get a Sony X10 with Android as my next phone instead.

    PS I don’t flash my ROM, patch this or that or mess with RegEdit. Though I like the ability to be able to do so.

  • Avatar of John in Norway

    You can still replace the battery yourself, though, can’t you?

  • @ john in norway
    no microsoft doesnt want you doing sh** to their product lol.
    but really all this seems pointless… can someone explain why you cant have replacelable memory cards?
    There were several reasons as to why the iphone became so popular one of which is the oh so elusive popularity magic but limiting your product only seems to alienate your existing and loyal fanbase… i have a tilt 2 with at&t and i love it, I just might get a hd2 and call it quits with wm… sigh

  • You don’t understand. Microsoft removed things like Multitasking not to be simple. They removed it to make the phone efficient. Not having memory leaks and constant restarts. If you see how iPhone handles gaming, No WM phone comes close. Now we see the WP7 doing the games and it looks promising. The point is, MS wants to regain control of the OS. They don’t want the users easily manipulating it. You can claim that you never restart or do this or do that, Good for you. I hope you stay with WM forever.

  • Avatar of jimtravis

    I am sure some have bad experiences with multi-tasking like you related. I have not experienced those problems. The system closes down apps when memory is low, and I have not noticed any performance hits whether one or eight apps. are running. I used / tried many 3rd party apps over the years, and only one was a memory hog, and that app was a memory hog even when it was the only app running. Deleted the offending app, tried a competing app, and everything was fine again.

    I rarely have to soft reset any of my WM devices. I have reset my iPod touch (don’t own an iPhone – too feature deficient) more often than any WM devices due to Safari freezes.

    If MS was worried about multitasking’s impact on battery life, and / or stability, have it turned off by default for the non-tech consumer user. However, allow us power users to turn it on with all the benefits / liabilities that entails.

    As I am writing this, I have the TV on watching last night’s shows via TiVo, and an iPhone commercial came on. I must see at least a dozen iPhone commercials a week while watching prime time network TV either live or via TiVo vs. let’s see – zero WM commercials. When the non-tech consumer decides to dump their dumb phones, the Apple iPhone brand is embedded in their mind from the ubiquitous commercials, and other mainstream advertising by Apple (very smart business move on Apple’s part). Although Apple never claims the iPhone is the only phone that can do features x, y, and z, the only phone consumers see doing those feature in mainstream advertising is the iPhone. The competitors are finally getting it, and now I see mainstream ads for Blackberry, Android, and several feature phones, but still no WM ads.

    I am not saying all iPhone sales are due to their very effective advertising, but many are. If the advertising wasn’t effective, Apple would not be continuing the expensive prime time network TV ads. The same marketing strategy was very effective for the iPod as well.

  • Avatar of jimtravis

    Very concise, accurate comment Jenn, my sentiments exactly. Hope all is well with you, and the baby.

  • Avatar of Vakeros

    Removing Multitasking doesn’t make the phone more efficient. Nor has MS lost control of the OS. The OS remains WM. MS had a good idea, but then threw out the things that give them an edge over the competition. What advantage does WP7S have over an iPhone? You can still change the battery! All its value from legacy is lost. Would MS do this for Windows? No – because they would be wasting what they already have. So they gradually make things incompatible. In reality though you can still run a Win95 program on Win7 if you want.
    I think this is why they want to say that there will be WP Classic. But by shouting out about W7PS as if it is the successor to WM6, when it isn’t, they will lose a lot of people. I expect market share to go way down, and unless they can give a better consumer experience with W7PS compared to iPhone 3GS, then they aren’t going to gain any from anywhere.
    They might be looking to get gamers to buy and that might be a good strategy, but they shouldn’t have cut across WM.
    So they should have left WM alone and promise a WM7 for the future and integrate, like they gradually did with Win98 and WinNT which ended up with XP. And started something like Windows Mobile Gaming Phone. And then called it Game HD!!

  • MS said it themselves why they removed multitasking. To make the phone perform at it’s best in each task.

    MS lost control of WM bigtime. We flash our WM phones with whatever ROM that we want. Most of the time, A leaked ROM that is never even been released yet. And you say that MS never lost control? A 13YO boy can make an app so easily and distribute it anywhere, anytime. We used our WM phones as a MiFi for free(w/o additional plan) long b4 MiFi ever comes out. Tell me what carrier would be happy about the OS on that? and MS never lost control? There is so much more to discuss why MS don’t have control of their OS but it will be a novel if I list it 1 by 1.

    Now, I will let you know why things like removable battery, expandable storage and all the things you like about WM is not really better and most of the time, Not an upgrade.

    Removable battery: You think that’s a great Idea? No! A great Idea is to make the battery perform as it should. It is well known that WM phone are notorious for having a poor battery life. Instead of finding a solution for this issue, WM phone manufacturers gave you a removable battery coz they don’t want to do nothing about that. They don’t even try. They want the consumers to deal with it by themselves by buying a second battery. They got you where they want you. Make you think that it’s the best Idea, Defend them, Don’t ask for a fix, and expect the next device to be the same.

    Removable storage: A lot of people thought that this is an upgrade. Upgrade? are you kiddin me? Manufacturers put a cheap card reader on the device which is prolly 99 cents on bulk and let you buy your own storage. Plus Memory cards are slower than internal drives. Let me tell you something. They got you where they want you again. Let’s do the Math. An unlocked WM GSM phone will set you back atleast 500 bucks. 16gig MicroSD was 100 bucks the first time it came out. Well, Thats the same price as a no-contract 32GB iPhone. And iPhone is more expensive? aside from the fact that is has faster and more storage? People will then say, I can buy another card, for as much storage that I want, Well, Once again, they leave that responsibility and bills to you. Gave U a 99 cent card reader and let you handle things yourself. Once a gain, they got you where they want you. Making you believe that removable storage is better than internal storage. You will then defend it, ask nothing about it, and tell them put it on the next upgrade.

    According to your logic, MS’s WM is perfectly fine. There is nothing wrong with it at all. But the sales continue to decline. Why? WM phones have full control,Multitasking, copy and paste, removable storage, removable battery etc etc but yet the sales continue to plummit? Is there something wrong about the consumers or there is something wrong with the OS and it’s overall performance?

  • Avatar of jimtravis

    Respect your opinion. Although the iPhone is purchased by some of the tech crowd, the majority of new sales are to non-tech consumers who have little to no experience with previous smartphones. As indicated in an earlier post, I must see a dozen or so iPhone commercials a week on network TV vs zero for WM. Ditto for other mainstream advertising mediums such as lighted kiosks in the city, subway advertising etc. When the non-tech consumer decides it is time to upgrade from their standard phone, the Apple brand is embedded in their mind from all the mainstream advertising they have seen, and heard. Great marketing by Apple. The non-tech consumer never / rarely sees an advertisement for WM (pre 7), and may not even know it exists since they don’t read tech blogs. Apple never states the iPhone is the only device that can do the tasks seen in the ads, but it is the only device (until recently) that the non-tech consumer sees performing those tasks in mainstream advertising.

    Many WM fans were holding off buying new WM devices waiting until series 7 were known. Since the features many of us power users like have been removed or hindered in 7, the HD2 may have a surge in sales when it goes on sale next week at T-Mobile.

    Concerning removable storage, I have a different opinion again respecting your opinion. I want removable storage in my device. My recent WM device have enough built-in storage for me, but I use the removable storage as a quick way to add videos, music, data files, even CAB’s when I don’t want to tether to a computer or use Bluetooth / WiFi for transfer. I also use it with my digital camera when I want to review pictures on a larger screen than the camera while I am still at the location. I use the removable storage more for quick file transfers than storage.

    Although there are many slick third party skins, I understand why MS went to the stock slick UI which is the trend today. I don’t understand why they threw out the baby with the bathwater while making the change.

    I do agree that battery technology needs to be improved, but I still want a removable battery for those days when I am gone for the day, and extensively using my device. Although I have many devices, I use them for a long time. I like replacing the old battery with a new one in about 1 minute or so without mailing the device somewhere when the battery has used all its charge cycles.

    I am not sayig I am right, and you wrong, or vice versa. We all have different needs, and desired features in a device. Our device needs are different. For me, the old WM met my needs better than any other platform, WM7 does not. Unless MS reverses its decisions, hello Android for me after being a big WM fan with about a dozen or so WM devices.

  • I totally get where you’re coming from. I am a WM poweruser and I’ve always been using WM. Yes, everyone has their different uses and needs. My point is, Going to the iPhone’s direction is not necessarily a downfall for MS sales. Coz they will lose a lot of powerusers and gain a lot more of the masses, which I think business is all about.

  • Avatar of jimtravis

    Agree that MS sales probably will be good with the new Win 7 Series assuming they have an effective mainstream advertising campaign. My problem is they threw out the baby with the bath water. I understand the reasons MS made the changes they did with a non-tech consumer focus, but they also could have kept the features us power users used frequently as well. The non-tech consumer will probably like the tiles / hub interface, and wouldn’t care whether it could be changed or not. The power user who desires something a bit different should have the ability to change the UI shell. Multi-tasking could be turned off by default (except for the “smart” multi-tasking), but it would be nice if power users could turn full multi-tasking on knowing the benefits / liabilities of “flipping that switch”.

    Lack of direct access to files is a killer for me since I have so many devices, and constantly share data among them. I use my personal web host, and NAS drives to store the latest versions of media, databases, spreadsheets etal, to share among all the devices. I need direct file access to transfer data files between the device, and central location along with the device being able to use the file when received. Again, the non-tech consumer would probably not use direct file access, but us power users need it frequently.

    The non-tech consumer wouldn’t use true multi-tasking, direct file access etal, so there would be no battery, or performance hits for that demographic. Yet, us power users could still customize it, and use the power features we have come to love knowing the potential impact on performance / battery life. MS could have had the proverbial cake (non-tech consumers), and ate it too (power users) if they did not delete the features important to power users.

  • The reason why WM wasn’t selling well, wasn’t to do with batteries, nor to do with whether they control their own OS (which I disagree with you about, but is irrelevant), nor to do with removable storage. It was down to the consumer experience. How easily the average punter can use the phone. I love the HD2, but my sister finds it too complicated – this is without installing any programs or doing anything clever.
    You can get smartphones like the Omnia II which comes with 8GB internal memory, plus use removable storage too. This is purely a pricing issue.
    Smartphones seem more expensive in the states, but I can get an HD2 for £35 a month on contract for free in the UK or £45 a month for iPhone for free.
    Regaining control of the OS doesn’t prevent removable options – memory, batteries, GPS etc. Nor does it require the removal of multi-tasking.
    So in answer to your final question – the answer is Yes! Consumers don’t want to use a complicated Mobile OS. Prosumers like me, and Power Users like yourself do. So in order to get mass appeal MS have switched from Prosumer and Power User appeal to Consumer appeal.
    What they need to win over the consumer though is something extra to what the competition offer. They also didn’t need to lose their appeal for people like us. They have now lost me and I might get an Apple for my next phone. Though probably the Sony X10 will actually be next.

  • Avatar of jimtravis

    Don’t doubt the iPhone’s ease of use is a big selling factor; however, massive advertising (in the US, don’t know about other countries) has certainly helped sales. In the US, we see constant mainstream ads for iPhone vs. zero for WM which may change with Series 7.

    Agree MS should have left in the power user features while also making the UI slicker, and easier to use. I will probably purchase a HD2 now that it will be available on T-Mobile, but that will probably be my last WM device.

    I am a bit curious about your statement that you might get an Apple for your next phone. I am curious because for me, the iPhone is just as, or more restricted in power user features than the new WM other than it has copy / paste. There are the plethora of 3rd party apps for the iPhone, but still no multi-tasking, direct file access etc. along with hardware restrictions such as no physical keyboards, removable batteries etc. For me, my future phones after the HD2 will probably be Android unless MS comes to their senses from a power user’s perspective.

  • Admit my iPhone idea is partly tongue-in-cheek. But also as most of my family are getting them, if they get a good app I’m hoping I could use it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *