Scott Adams Discussing his Windows Phone Experience

As many of you know, Brandon Watson has challenged celebrities to try Windows Phone 7 (Blake Griffin received Watson’s latest offer yesterday). If the user is not satisfied with their experience, Watson promises to donate $1,000 to charity. One of the first people to take on Watson’s challenge was Scott Adams, author of the Dilbert carton. Adams has been using his Windows Phone for about a month. This morning, on his blog, he discussed his experience with his Windows Phone. Adams noted, “The Windows phone has the best user interface experience.” I’ve included his entire blog post.

Background: In a recent post I complained about both my old iPhone 3GS and my new Android phone. Brandon Watson, Senior Director of Windows Phone Apps challenged me to test a Windows phone. If I didn’t like it better than the iPhone and the Android, he would donate $1,000 to the charity of my choice. I agreed. My evaluation follows.

Keep in mind that I’m just a casual user, not a phone tester. I didn’t test every feature of every phone, and I didn’t measure anything. I simply used the new phone and kept track of my reactions compared to my Android and iPhone experiences.

As it turned out, the Android phone I originally complained about was a lemon. I exchanged the phone at the Sprint store for the same model, and the new hardware doesn’t crash. Apparently the crashing wasn’t an Android problem.

I’m not always able to discern which problems are caused by the hardware versus the operating system versus the carrier. That warning is most relevant for the iPhone because my understanding is that AT&T doesn’t work well with the iPhone 3GS in my corner of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Here are the three phone configurations I compared:

iPhone 3GS/AT&T network

HTC EVO 3D/Android/Sprint network

Samsung Focus/Windows 7.5 (Mango)/AT&T network

CALL QUALITY

Samsung/Windows/AT&T: GOOD

iPhone/AT&T: FAIL (dropped almost every call over a minute)

HTC EVO 3D/Android/Sprint: FAIL (no dropped calls, but always garbled)

USER INTERFACE

Samsung/Windows: GREAT

iPhone: GOOD

HTC EVO 3D/Android: POOR

ONSCREEN KEYBOARD

Samsung/Windows: FAIL

iPhone: FAIL

HTC EVO 3D/Android: FAIL

(I found all three phones frustrating. If you plan to do much typing, get a phone with a real keyboard.)

BATTERY LIFE

Samsung/Windows: GOOD

iPhone: GOOD

HTC EVO 3D/Android: FAIL

APPS

Samsung/Windows: OKAY-ISH

iPhone: GREAT

HTC EVO 3D/Android: GOOD

(I don’t use many apps, but I’m assuming the Windows phone has most of the popular games and utilities but lacks some vendor-specific offerings one might like.)

INTANGIBLE COOLNESS FACTOR

Samsung/Windows: NONE

iPhone: GOOD

HTC EVO 3D/Android: GOOD

Summary:I hated my call-dropping iPhone. I’m told that the call-dropping had a lot to do with the AT&T network where I live. But I rarely had an acceptable voice call when I travelled either. Maybe it’s just me.

My Android phone is nearly useless unless I’m near a power outlet. The battery drains so quickly that I avoid using it if I’m out of the house for more than a few hours. And I don’t use it for voice calls unless I have to. I also find the user interface to be a think-about-it-every-time experience, which is a fail. I can’t seem to commit the most basic functions to reflex no matter how many times I use the thing.

The Windows phone has the best user interface experience, although the onscreen keyboard is problematic just as it is with the other phones I used. The Windows interface is intuitive, simple, and has a liveliness that I find appealing. Voice call quality was good, and battery life seemed good too. I declare it the winner compared to my iPhone 3GS with AT&T and my HTC EVO 3D with Android on the Sprint network.

However, the intangible coolness factor is impossible to ignore. Even the names Microsoft and Windows feel dated. And the home screen of the Windows phone is great from a usability standpoint, but lacks sizzle. I’d be lying if I said that didn’t matter to me.

So what phone is right for you?

If you’re an image-conscious hipster/rebel/brand-monkey, and you don’t use the AT&T network in the SF Bay Area, the iPhone is a great choice, especially if you need obscure apps.

An Android phone is great if you enjoy its gadgety nature, which I confess has some appeal. And the larger screen on the HTC EVO 3D is a huge plus compared to the iPhone 3GS. I assume Windows can match screen size on some phone models. The downside for Android is a frustrating interface and, in my situation, with my particular phone, an inexcusably bad battery life. Other Android users I have spoken to don’t complain about the battery issue although they do notice it seems short. My suspicion is that I live in a weak signal area and the phone is using extra power to compensate. Or perhaps my particular phone is a power hog; I can’t tell.

If you want a smartphone that is easy to use, performs well, has a good battery life, and doesn’t frustrate you, the Windows phone is the best choice of the three options I tested. All you give up is some hipster credibility and access to lesser-used apps.

For legal reasons, allow me to state that my opinions on any of the software, hardware, or networks mentioned are purely subjective and potentially misleading. My situation is not typical. Your experience with any of the software, hardware or networks mentioned will differ.

I don’t have a financial interest in any of the companies mentioned except for their inclusion in diversified stock ETFs.

Brandon Watson Placing a Windows Phone in NBA’s Blake Griffin’s Hands

Brandon Watson’s aggressive Windows Phone evangelism is well documented. He’s constantly gaining developer support by reaching out to frustrated devs from other platforms and, more recently, offered Dilbert author Scott Adams and CNet writer Molly Wood a challenge to take a WIndows Phone, use and not like it as much as their current devices.

Well he’s not done folks, Brandon Watson is at it again, but this time it’s the L.A. Clippers’ Blake Griffin he’s after. It seems that Griffin might have been frustrated with his current iPhone and that’s where Brandon Watson comes in. Check out the tweet below:

Blake Griffin responded to Watson’s tweet with, “@Brandon Watson Sounds good to me“. So one of the NBA’s most marketable players (and his brother Taylor) will soon be sporting a Windows Phone. Hopefully this translates into a greater audience for Windows Phone because we know that people only need to see and use one to drop their current device.

via Mobility Digest

Developer Interest in Updating Apps with Mango

Microsoft recently conducted a survey of Windows Phone developers to find out whether they were planning on updating their apps along with the Mango update and if so, when and with which features? The results of the survey shows that roughly 75% of developers surveyed will be updating their apps along with the Mango update, with fast-app switching being the feature the devs will most likely add to their current apps. Here are some charts showing the survey results:

The results are certainly heartening as Mango will feature some really cool new features and the ability to fast app switch is one that I am most looking forward to.

via WMPoweruser

Tumbler Rolls on Windows Phone

I wanted to write-up a quick post to tell you guys about a game that I’ve been playing the last few days. It’s called Tumbler by Hub Labs LLC. It’s a free, cool little physics game that is unique, at least to me. Instead of trying to put the object of the game into my own words, here’s the developers description:

Tumbler is a fun original 2D physics game you won’t find on any other platform. The objective is to simply drag and flick the grass to rotate the log which will navigate Tumbler into the goal. The challenging part is the goal will be in random places, inside a Field goal, inside a mailbox, on top of a unicycle, on the bottom shelf of a set of chest of draws, inside a barrel, behind a whirly ball goal, inside a moving barrel, a basketball goal, inside a newspaper stand, and more fun random places. Flick, drag, sit back and watch Tumbler fly across the screen as you try to use the obstacles to your advantage and reach the goal before time runs out.

The controls took a fw attempts to get used to, but once you get the hang of them, it’s smooth sailing.

Tumbler is an interesting and challenging indie title for Windows Phone and I have been playing it non-stop for the past few days, so you guys may want to give it a download as well. You can find this free, ad-supported title for Windows Phone  by searching for “Tumbler” in the Zune PC software or on your Windows Phone.

You can visit Hub Labs LLC on the web at www.hublabs.comor on Twitter @HubLabsLLC.

The Majority of Windows Phone Users Have an Xbox LIVE Game

Microsoft mentioned along with the news about coming features and titles for Windows Phone that about 70 percent of Windows Phone users have downloaded an Xbox LIVE game for their device. It seems obvious, but when you consider that many business and casual users are not into games, let alone achievements and gamerscores, that’s a pretty good number.

Xbox LIVE integration is considered to be one of the standout features on Windows Phone and as it grows in mindshare and functionality, should attract more gamers to the platform. For new users to the Windows Phone platform, Microsoft usually releases one new Xbox LIVE-enabled title for Windows Phone each week on Wednesday and also discounts a current title on Wednesday for that week as well. I usually report on the new title each week and the “Deal of the Week” title will be featured in the Marketplace screen on your device, so be sure to keep an eye out of for the savings.

Source: Seattle Times

Job Posting Teases Windows Phone 8 ‘Apollo’

For the first time, Microsoft has teased us with an official mention of Windows Phone 8 which is rumored to be codenamed ‘Apollo’. We’ve heard that the Apollo update is set to come after ‘Tango‘ which will come after this Fall’s ‘Mango’ update. Little is known about the rumored updates, except that Windows Phone 8 is said to tie the desktop OS and the Windows Phone OS closer together.

Windows 8 has already been unveiled by Windows Chief, Steven Sinofsky, and features a Windows Phone-esque start screen complete with a grid of live tiles. It should also be noted that the new Xbox console update also features a tile navigation screen similar to the one we have on Windows Phone, so it’s no surprise that Windows Phone and Microsoft’s other hit products would be brought closer together.

Anyway, the job post in question lists the need for a software developer who wants “…to be a part of making Windows Phone 8 a reality”. There is also a mention of the next version of Windows. Here is the job post:

Want to be part of making Windows Phone 8 a reality? Want to work on a strategic and exciting product targeted at the next version of Windows? Then the Consumer eXperience (ConX) team is the place for you! The Windows Phone team is taking on a huge challenge stirring up the out of box experience for Windows Phone 8 and is committed to building/improving a compelling and dynamic high quality look and feel to our end user experience.This promises to be a volatile world churning within the OS, Phone 8 as well as our AUT (Application Under Test) that we’ll ship in the Windows Marketplace! Our test team needs a few more key folks to compliment the talent already onboarded. We are looking for experienced and intelligent engineers to join our team! Join us in our mission to bring the most compelling Windows Phone experience to customers to date! If this sounds like the next step for you in your career here at Microsoft, we would love to hear from you. We can talk about the opportunities and challenges we are facing right now to see if your passions are a fit.

You  can check out the job post on the Microsoft Talent Network website here. Stay tuned here at Windows Phone Metro and we’ll keep you in the know about the current and coming versions of Windows Phone as the information leaks.

via WMPU

IonBallEX Xbox LIVE Game Available in the Marketplace

IonBallEX, indie title gone Xbox LIVE for Windows Phone, is now available in the Marketplace. IonballEX by Ironsun Studios is a twist on the original brickbreaker game and features 35 levels which will challenge and feature achievements and gamerscore upgrades. It’s exciting to see indie games get the chance to become Xbox LIVE games on Windows Phone. Here the Marketplace description:

IonBallEX is a modern twist on a classic Breakout style game, featuring an XP-based progression system and end-of-level bosses that are going to push you to the extreme, all delivered in a unique SteamPunk style. With 35 challenging levels, mind-bending features and awesome bosses; IonBallEX is the breakout game to “break” all others. See where you can get on the leaderboard, or unlock achievements like “Record Breaker” or “Wipeout”; the IonBallEX challenge is here.

This title can be found by searching for “IonBallEX” in the Zune PC software or on your Windows Phone. The title is $2.99 with a free trial.