Molly “Rants” Her Final Verdict on Windows Phone ‘Mango’

Molly Wood of Molly-Rants CNet fame has accepted Brandon Watson’s challenge to try out Windows Phone and if she isn’t more pleased with her experience, he will donate $1,000 to a charity of her choice. She has updated her blog to “rant” about her final verdict on Windows Phone ‘Mango’ and it’s not really surprising.

To sum it up simply, she likes Windows Phone, but doesn’t love it and doesn’t see this as her next platform, instead opting to go with the hot mess, also known as Android. Her frustrations stem mostly from the lack of system-wide speech-to-text, poor turn-by-turn directions implementation and a confusingly buggy HTC Trophy that, for some reason, needs to reboot constantly. 

Her thoughts on the ZunePass service is that it is a good service, but she balks at the lack of ability to integrate with SkyDrive. For some reason she wants to load the music to a SkyDrive account and then stream from there? Not sure about the logic behind that. Why take music from one cloud and move it to another when it makes sense in its current state?

She also shared her thoughts on SkyDrive integration, in general. There is currently very good SkyDrive integration in both the Pictures hub and the Office hub, but the Music + Videos hub is where mango drops the ball. While I cannot agree that Zune Pass should have anything to do with SkyDrive, I do see a need for integration with music and video that non-ZunePass users might appreciate within the hub itself.

Overall, her verdict is kind of a wash. Which is sort of a cop-out because by watching the video, you can tell that she is stuck on Android, for some reason, and could never see herself giving props to Microsoft for a well-done product, but what did we expect from CNet? There is clearly a preference-factor here and Windows Phone isn’t for everyone and still has a little ways to go before being a complete solution, but even in it’s current state it’s still a much better platform than the power-hungry, spam-riddled mess that is the Android OS. I can agree with some of her assessment, but let’s be frank, we all knew how this was going to turn out.

Molly “Rants” About Her Pros and Cons With Windows Phone So Far

Molly Wood: CNet Executive editor

Molly Wood of Molly-Rants CNet fame has accepted Brandon Watson’s challenge to try out Windows Phone and if she isn’t more pleased with her experience, he will donate $1,000 to a charity of her choice. She has updated her blog to “rant” about the pros and cons with her Windows Phone experience thus far. Here are just some excerpts from her week 1 post. I’m not leaving out parts to misrepresent her thoughts on the phone OS, I’m just trying to shorten everything for a quicker read as her post is quite lengthy. Click here to read the post in its entirety:

Here’s what she likes:

Interface:The Mango interface is lovely. The screen tiles are attractive and the “live tile” behavior (they update constantly with new Facebook images, flip-board incoming e-mail counters, and so on) is dynamic without being annoying. Plus, the tiles are nice and big, which makes it easy to see things at a glance…

Social: I went back and forth on this, but finally decided it’s a “pro.” Mango has integrated Facebook and Twitter support (and Windows Live and LinkedIn, for the record), and it’s pretty nice. The little “People” tile lets you immediately see what’s happening on Facebook and Twitter. This feature was much improved when I realized I could sort by either Facebook or Twitter. And you can post a status update to all the services at once–mighty useful…

Local: The feature is called “Local Scout,” and the button on the Maps page is a little hieroglyph of buildings: if you press it, and you have location enabled, you get a cool little list of places to eat and drink, things to see and do, and places to shop–plus something called “Highlights,” which in the case of things near my office includes a lingerie shop I didn’t even know existed. Long lunch! This is local done well, it’s useful, it doesn’t require an external app, and although the list isn’t super comprehensive, Microsoft says it’s building out the database over time…
Autocomplete: The autocomplete is awesome. It’s accurate, it’s less aggressive than the post-Gingerbread Android dictionary, and it seems to have a lot more words. Love it.
 
Speech: Press and hold the Windows (“home”) button on the bottom of the phone and you can control a ton of things with voice commands: call or text someone in your address book, launch a search, or open an app. It’ll even read back a text you compose, so you can double check it without having to look, and then you can say “send” and off it goes. I like…
Here’s what she doesn’t like so much:
Speech: Speech is there in Mango, but it’s not there in Mango. I can’t, for example, say “Navigate to” an address from the home screen speech commands. But more importantly, while there’s a little microphone for speech-to-text on the onscreen keyboard when I’m texting, there’s no speech to text in any other app (that I’ve found): not e-mail, which I need, not mapping, which I need, not in the browser, which I need. You can voice search with the Bing app, but it’s just not enough. Android is doing speech to text light years better than Mango at this point, because it’s integrated across the OS. This little bit of speech in Mango is almost more frustrating than helpful because it just highlights what’s not available.
Turn by turn: The pro part of the navigation on Mango is that it has turn-by-turn navigation…kind of. Also, the mapping is beautiful, and I love the very human-friendly directions, which include helpful little notes about traffic (moderate congestion, etc.), local landmarks (“You’ll see a 7-Eleven on the right”), and also, as your near your destination, notes like, “The last intersection is Woodhaven and if you get to Potter you’ve gone too far.” That’s awesome. More awesome if you have a passenger in the car with you to read them, but still very helpful.
Apps: I know I mentioned this in a previous post, but the lack of app support is problematic for me, personally. I actually don’t know that it will be for everyone. But yesterday, I needed to download the Square app for a video piece I was working on, and I couldn’t; I was actually hamstrung in my work as a result of the lack of app support (and the guys at Square seemed to have little inclination toward building a version for the platform, which has got to hurt). That won’t be everyone’s experience, I know.

Molly also gets into some fit and finish odds and ends, but I won’t repost those as the writing is lengthy. Overall, the things she likes most about Windows Phone are the things that makes Windows Phone so great and the things she doesn’t like so much are either because she hasn’t figured out the phone just yet and some, like turn-by-turn directions, are valid and should be fixed in future updates. I’ve never had unreasonable expectations that Windows Phone is perfect, just that what it does, it does so much better than everyone else and hopefully she will come to that conclusion as well. We’ll keep following along as she discovers and critiques Windows Phone and we’ll see where she falls in the end.

 

Verizon Preparing for New Mango Devices

Right now, Verizon Wireless is practically giving away HTC Trophies! As many of you know, the Trophy debuted in May as the first Windows Phone for Big Red. As of today, on its website, Verizon Wireless has dramatically dropped the price. Initially, the Trophy went for $150 after all the available rebates. Now, the online rebate has jumped from $50, to $150! Click here to visit the Verizon Wireless Trophy page.

Verizon dropping their price over 60% seems suspicious. This is quite similar to AT&T slashing the prices of the iPhone 3GS (8gb) a few months ago. Why did AT&T drop the price? Because  iPhone 5 is right around the corner. This would lead one to question, is Verizon doing the same thing? It is quite possible they are. With many sources predicting Mango to be released within a month, I would not be surprised. Either way, this is a win, win situation because  HTC Trophies are $50 (with a new contract).

Update: 8/12/11 Price on website has gone up to $100, still $50 less than the normal price.

HTC Trophy Tear-Down Reveals MicroSD Slot

WMPoweruser has reported that a teardown of the Verizon HTC Trophy reveals a microSD card slot and positioned in it is a  SanDisk class-4 16GB microSD memory card. For those brave souls who need more than 16GB and are willing to void their warranty to change out the card, you can find thorough instructions with pictures over on the xda forums. I would not recommend tearing open your Windows Phone unless you are experienced and don’t care about the phone’s warranty.

 

 

Source: WMPoweruser

Verizon HTC Trophy’s Are Moving

We knew there was pent-up demand for the first Windows Phone on Verizon Wireless, but I didn’t expect this kind of demand as many readers are reporting that Verizon is out of stock when they try and order online and Amazon.com even lists the phone as backordered. For those of you who may be having difficulty finding  a device, WMPoweruser has noted that Wirefly.com still has them in stock, so head on over there and hopefully they’ll have some left over when you get there.

On Upgrading to the Verizon HTC Trophy…

A reader who was able to order the HTC Trophy a day early and before his contract was available to re-up sent this in as a helpful tip in upgrading to the HTC Trophy on Verizon. I’m not a customer with Verizon, so I am unfamiliar with their upgrade process and figured I’d post it for those of you who might find this information useful:

The new Verizon HTC Trophy Windows phone is $199.99 with a two year activation. If you are a VZW customer and you are still months away from your ‘new every two’ upgrade, call customer service and request an early upgrade. In February of this year, VZW suspended their early upgrade program. Yet, most currently customers are still able to use one more early upgrade on their plan. More than likely, they will allow you to upgrade early. You will then get the HTC for $149.99 online and $199.99 ($149.99 after mail-in rebate) over the phone or in stores. To receive the addition $30 credit, you must be eligible for your ‘new every two’ upgrade.

If you are eligible for your ‘new every two upgrade’ be sure to request the $30 credit. VZW is in the process of completely phasing out their $30 upgrade credit, so if you are eligible for an upgrade, you may want to consider doing it soon before the credit is eliminated. After receiving your upgrade credit, go online and order the Windows Phone. If you order online, you will receive the $50 discount instantly, and get the Trophy for $149.99 ($119.99 with $30 VZW ‘new every two’ credit). If you order over the phone or wait to get the phone your local VZW store (June 2), you will pay $199.99. You will then have to to mail in the form to receive the $50 rebate card. In addition, VZW is currently shipping all internet order at no added cost. To save the extra $50 instantly, just order it online, request the free overnight shipping, and save yourself the hassle of dealing with a mail-in rebate. Within a day you’ll be enjoying the best smartphone available on the Verizon network.

To further sweeten the deal, Microsoft is offering a free Xbox game. The games available are: Halo Reach, Kinect Sports, and Lode Runner. Information on acquiring your free game will be inside the box of your HTC Trophy. Enjoy.

Thanks, Roy

Confirmed: HTC Trophy Available to Order Early [Updated: Available Online]

Update: Right on schedule, the HTC Trophy became available to order via Verizon’s online web store. The price with a two-year contract commitment is $149.99 as promised. You can head on over to their website to get your order in and there is free overnight shipping.

Order online here.

As reported by WPCentral, many users are able to place their orders for the Verizon Wireless HTC Trophy Windows Phone. You won’t see it on their website, but if you contact customer service, there are confirmed orders that have already been placed for the device a day before the official availability. I’ve also heard that free overnight shipping is available upon request. I’ve been able to confirm one readers order, so why not gve it a try if you would like your device by Friday. Good Luck!