Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My Smartphone!

Microsoft will now "come out" with its new Windows 7 Mobile OS. It won't matter how good it is, only how many apps get created for it, if it doesn't get in the users' way, and if they don't succumb to the temptation to bottle it up with Microsoft-branded services. It could be a winner. Well, unless it still takes as long or longer to load than my Windows 7 laptop.

I use a version of the Windows Mobile OS which nobody likes. But I can't figure out what's not to like. It hardly ever crashes compared to the previous version of Windows Mobile I had. It does Google just fine, and I can pretty much ignore Windows Live, though it would sure be nice to have everything slick and interlocking. Or not. I'm not terribly interested in controlling my house, watching TV on my phone, or Microsofting my entire lifestyle.

It does have fewer useful apps built-in compared to my previous Windows Mobile smartphone, presumably because of some intellectual property battles or squabbles with developers about stealing thunder: My old phone used to be able to announce by voice who was calling, which was actually useful on the job, but pretty embarrassing socially. It had one single app which would read documents, images, and seemingly anything else without installing endless other specialized apps to do stuff you're never going to do on a phone. For instance, it would read Adobe Acrobat, or MS Office, or browse pictures or the web, all from one single app, but you couldn't edit. Fine. Perfect. And its memory management, which is probably why it crashed more often, wouldn't always be closing open apps in the background to drive me crazy. But other than that the newer OS is a strong improvement over the old one!

The big problem with Windows Mobile overall is that the one I use still has a pressure-sensitive touch screen. I thought that's what I wanted, having grown up on the Palm OS, but now I'm just so jealous of the iPhone which seems so much more, you know, alacritous in response to my fingers. The new Windows Mobile will have capacitive touch, so don't worry about that. The lawyers will figure out about pinching and multi-touch, in the background. Money will change hands.

So, OK, fix the touch, fix the memory management, make it multitask so that you can do one thing while waiting for another to finish out of sight, but mainly you're going to have to fix the politics, since Pandora won't bother to support my Windows Mobile phone, and neither will Skype, even though Verizon promotes cost-free unlimted Skyping, or at least they used to.  Hmmmm. I wonder if I should sue Verizon over that?

Then there's the whole 4G thing. The real excuse I need to hurry up and wait.

I definitely endorse cutting Steve Ballmer's bonus, but considering his salary is but a drop in the bucket of his investment earnings each and every day, I have to wonder how he really responds to symbolism. Or maybe that's all he responds to? I'll just bet they can't resist going head-to-head against Google.

They could take the high road, but that would be a first. If they did, and made their phone work just as well with Google's cloud services as Android does (I swear my current Windows Mobile can make that claim) and if they were to somehow force the issue of iTunes on Windows Mobile, and if they were to subsidize the production of all those apps now ghettoed out (I mean really, if you want market share, you have to buy it!), it would be the perfect platform.

Microsoft let go of the Zune competition to the iPod, even though the iPod powered Apple's actual competitiveness in Microsoft's neighborhood. If it lets the phone go, it will be toast. Toast! Well, that's been said before too.  Microsoft's toast and I'm a bejillionaire. Maybe the game's just fixed. I'm pretty sure that the Zune was a technically superior platform, but why would I bother to find out? The crowd was moving another way, and my daughters would have been crestfallen if I'd done the test on them (I only get to try these things after my kids grow out of them).

OK, so here's the biggie. They should just convince Verizon, my carrier du choix, not to burn in some image. They should leave it wide open so that I don't have to start with what they bundle, and so that I can upgrade the quickly obsolete apps they bundle it with, and so that I can just do whatever I want with the phone. But that would be so un-Microsoft. And come to think of it, so un-Verizon.

Well, maybe I should spend some time thinking about things that really matter. Yeah, I'll try that. Tomorrow.

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