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.

Fujitsu IS12T Caught on Display in Tokyo Store

The buz about the Fujitsu IS12T lately is that it might be the first device released with the final Mango Windows Phone OS. If a picture found on Nanapho.jp by Tezawaly is any indication, the rumored release date of August 25th may be accurate.

The devices in question were found in the Biccamera Yurakucho store in Tokyo, Japan and were apparently not charged, according to WMPoweruser. Check out the picture below to see the army of devices set to be released.

HP WebOS Bows Out…And Then There Were Four

In a seemingly unexpected turn of events, HP announced that it will be killing off their WebOS product. For those unaware, HP’s WebOS is a fantastic mobile operating system that just never caught on with the public, mostly because of a lack of relevant hardware and a scant ecosystem.

The software overall was both beautiful and innovative and pioneered the card multitasking view that we now see in Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango). In a statement taken from the computer giant via their press release:

…HP reported that it plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward. 

The fate of WebOS is both tragic and heartening. The idea that a platform so inspiring and innovative could so easily fail is a scary proposition for the mobile industry, however, it leaves really four major players left in the smartphone game (Windows Phone, iOS, Android, Blackberry). It’s my belief, and this is opinion, that the mobile market might only be able to sustain three major players and a few other small ones, so with WebOS leaving the game it leaves Windows Phone as the fourth and up-and-comer of the bunch, with Blackberry continuing to cede market share.

Windows Phone still has a long way to go before it can pull down the numbers of it’s major competitors (iOS and Android), but the Mango update brings it up to par with features and functionality and at this point, it’s just a matter of getting the word out and getting devices into peoples hands. One thing Windows Phone has in its favor is a thriving app market and ecosystem and a solid hardware manufacturing base. For WebOS. It’s a shame. You will be missed…kinda.

Robot Unicorn Clone “Double Jumper” Leaps to Windows Phone

Robot Unicorn is a popular flash game from Adult Swim. The flash game became a hit almost immediately and even has a product line because of its popularity. The game “Double Jumper” by GSSoft, which is now available for Windows Phone, takes its cue from Robot Unicorn and brings them to mobile.

Like Robot Unicorn, Double Jumper is a side scrolling platformer and the object is to prolong gameplay without falling off the platforms scattered about on the playing field. Crashing into the edges, failing to land on a platform or hitting a mine will cause you to fall to the lowest level, resetting your gaps count.

You can find this title by searching for “Double Jumper” in the Zune PC software or on your Windows Phone.

Bing Announces “We’re In” App for Windows Phone

Microsoft and Bing announced their app called “We’re In” today for Windows Phone. The app essentially allows users to log into the app, along with their friends, and see each others location, making meet-ups and traveling infinitely easier. Just add your phone number to the app and add your friends via your contacts in the people hub and viola, you’ll see exactly where they are and they you.

We’re In makes organizing get-together’s, carpooling and trying to find people in a crowd a breeze. Any time you want to see where your friends are—We’re In can help you. It’s simple, invite your friends, and when they join, they’ll see your location and you’ll see theirs. When the invite expires, so does the shared location – no complicated process to worry about.

Check out the blog post on Bing for the entire description and a walk-through of the app and its features. “We’re In” is currently exclusive to WIndows Phone, but is promised for other devices very soon. You can find the app by searching for “We’re In” in the Zune PC software or on your Windows Phone.

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