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.

 

Challenge Accepted: Users Taking Brandon Watson’s Challenge

If you’ve been following Brandon Watson from Microsoft on Twitter then you’ve probably read about his latest challenge to Molly Wood from CNet and Adam Scott of Dilbert fame to ditch their current smartphone platforms and take up Windows Phone. If they do not find Windows Phone to be a better experience than Android or iOS Brandon Watson will donate $1,000 to their charity of choice. It appears each have agreed to take up the challenge. We’ll keep you informaed on what happens next…

via WMPoweruser