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  • softdrinkviking - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    nice clip vivek. :)

    i am interested in WP7, but i am totally underwhelmed by the weak hardware, especially the displays!
    basically, a phone is like 90% display, and it seems like apple is the only company that gets that.
    but i am not huge IOS fan.

    i am going to be back in the US at the end of June after working overseas for 3 years, so i am really hoping that something awesome comes out by about then. (droid 3 maybe?)
    Reply
  • sviola - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    I know everyone here is a hardware enthusiast, but I don't think it is a major problem with WP7, that seems to run very well on the current hardware, in terms of processor and memory. Of course there is room for improvement and I could add a few examples: cameras, 4G, front facing camera, removable flash storage, multi-SIM; but this will probably come with the Nokia handsets (seems their first handset will be built with the N8 as reference, so we will get 12 mp camera and many other nice stuff).

    As for the software, there is a need to improving it and I'm sure that with Mango we'll see a lot more than has been disclosed so far:

    - Multitasking
    - IE 9
    - Twitter integration
    - Turn by turn navigation
    - Voice to text
    - Bing Audio
    - Bing video
    - Messenger integration
    - Unified Inbox
    - SkyDrive sink for Mobile Office
    - Skype

    Of course, we'll have the complete list on May 24th when they'll show it to the press.
    Reply
  • Silent_Rage - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    To say that WP7 runs well on last generation hardware is an understatement. I currently have an HTC Arrive (gotta have the keyboard) and while there are features I wish it had such as front-facing camera and 4G, I really enjoy using it. I got one for my wife and the best part was that she didn't need me to show her how to use it....she figured it out herself!! I think that WP7 has a lot of promise, but I agree with Vivek that the update cycle must be more aggressive to catch up with the competition. From what I read about Mango, it looks promising but they cannot afford to delay this update like what happened with NoDo. Reply
  • softdrinkviking - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    the only thing i really want is a better display. that's it. processors they have are good enough to do what i want for the most part, but i would really like a nicer, crisper, display, and hope against hopes, one that is easy to read outside! Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    I don't think that removable storage is a sensible thing. We used to have people here who simply didn't 'get' removable micro-sd storage back in the 6.5 days and neither do many of the people out there in the street. If it works for apple then I say 'don't' have removable storage as you open the company to complaints. People will also buy MEGA cheap cards and THEN complain of speed issues. Reply
  • FrederickL - Friday, May 13, 2011 - link


    I have to say that I really disagree. I do not see why my choices should be damaged by the brain-dead amongst the customer base. I have some respect for what MS are doing with Win7 and will definitely be interested when Nokia start delivering. If however there is no removable storage (and they continue like other companies with non-removable batteries) that will be a total deal-breaker for me. MS are clearly running hard to catch up on the software front but if every new release of a WP7 is more of the same old same because Redmond refuse to lighten up on the hardware restrictions, I for one will not even bother to look at a Windows phone.
    Reply
  • xype - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    iOS 5. :P Reply
  • xype - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    Damn, should have been a comment to softdrinkviking… anyhow, the hardware will get its updates—if WP7 looks like an interesting alternative, I wouldn't worry too much about the hardware part. Reply
  • Psycownage - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    As always a great review from ananndtech however i have noticed a couple of problems with the graphs, first on battery graphs 2 are identical, looking at image links i guess one of these should show talk time. second, shouldn't black levels be lower is better not higher is better? Reply
  • VivekGowri - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    Fiiiiixed, thanks for catching! Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    I don't want a super resolution phone with S-lcd or two processors...

    What I DO WANT is a much, much larger battery. I'm sick and tired of charging the thing nearly every single day. Sure, I've lived with the situation since the Qtek days but the HD7 (and HD2) that's in front of me does take the biscuit.

    Also, HTC, stop designing the back of your phones so the people in China can't make a suitable cover for their extended batteries. Either do it yourself or design well.

    AggHhhhgghg
    Reply
  • Crono - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    As a Dell Venue Pro owner/user, I have to agree with all the points in this article about Windows Phone 7.

    In one sense, Microsoft stepped forward with their new phone platform to come close to what Apple has done with iOS, even (dare I say) surpassing Apple with some features and elements of the GUI.

    But they have done so by limiting the options available. It's as if Microsoft gave up the "Windows" aspect and really just went the Apple route, albeit in their own way. Microsoft has always been apt to learn from/copy the innovations of other companies, but it seems like they gave up a bit much in recreating a Windows branded platform over the ashes of the old Windows Mobile. I find it odd that Google's Android OS is more akin to Windows than WP7 is. I miss the "power" options that the Windows Mobile/CE phones and PDAs had, like the ability to close and switch between apps and the ability to overclock/underclock with an application, among other things.
    Reply
  • Trefugl - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    I don't find it odd that Android is "more akin to Windows than WP7" assuming that you are referring to the openness/scalability and "power user" aspects. Google comes from a Linux mindset, and Linux has always been that way... what is amazing is that Google has managed to polish Android to the point that the average user finds it accessible (much like they do Windows).

    I always hoped that Microsoft could find a balance between Google and Apple's approaches, but they are still just too far behind. At this rate, Google will manage to provide an appropriately structured environment for their userbase before WP7 is relevant in terms of market share and features. (This comes from a guy who had high hopes for WP7)
    Reply
  • Flunk - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    I have an HTC HD7 and I can see your point. Windows Phone 7 is more of an offshoot of Xbox and Zune than a successor to Windows Mobile. It's not designed to be the most flexible pocket computer it can be but instead focuses on doing common tasks well and quickly.

    I used to use Windows Mobile and I think this is the way to go for a phone. Sure I can't use it to code Java programs, but it's much better at things I normally use my phone for.
    Reply
  • Stuka87 - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    For the Black level, isn't lower better? This graph seems to the opposite of the ones we normally see. Reply
  • Spivonious - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    I just wanted to point out that "NoDo" was done in January. It was carrier testing that has delayed it.

    For other readers, watch the videos from this year's MiX to see what Mango contains. If MS really puts some marketing muscle behind it, it really has a good chance of knocking the iPhone out of second place.
    Reply
  • Stuka87 - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    You are aware that the iPhone is in first place right? Well, unless you compare all Android devices against the single iPhone device (rather than iOS devices).

    But even if you do measure it incorrectly like that, WP7 would need to have the single largest sales increase of any device in history to even get close to Android or iOS.
    Reply
  • duffman55 - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    It's trivial to compare the number of users of an individual smartphone model, unless you're going to be holding some sort of smartphone popularity contest.

    What's important is the number of users of the OS. Developers are more likely to develop for a platform with more users.

    You're right, WP7 does have a ways to go to compete with the likes of Apple and Google. It's going to be a while, but I think they'll get there eventually.

    Vivek, I noticed "it's" was used where it should have been "its" a few times in the article. I don't mean to nitpick, just letting you know :)
    Reply
  • VivekGowri - Friday, May 13, 2011 - link

    Really? I'm usually better about that. Damn English grammar, lol. Reply
  • earle36 - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    I really have to disagree with part of the conclusion here... I have been using a Samsung Focus for several months and love the OS. I don't need custom ring tones - sure its 2011 and they don't offer custom ring tones - big deal. I'd rather they focus on ACTUAL core OS improvements rather than extras like custom ring tones. And mango will offer several improvements to the OS. Within one year they will have added copy paste, improved app loading, new browser, multitasking, messenger integration, and so on. That is huge. I understand that they are just playing catch up - but that's what happens when you release a completely new mobile OS. Several months ago Anandtech published reviews of the WP7 devices and and the WP7 OS - knowing full well what it did and didn't offer, and what the next year was to offer. The reviews were very positive when looking at the big picture. Fast forward to today, MS has delivered exactly what they said they would and (as of now) are on track to deliver some MAJOR improvements to the OS, and now its not enough? What changed? Reply
  • VivekGowri - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    Not much, other than the NoDo update being delayed from January to April. I very much understand that Mango will cure most, and very close to all, of the fundamental issues with WP7. But it needs to come out sooner. June-July would be preferable, but I'm willing to settle for the October-ish time frame. If it gets pushed back another 2-3 months like NoDo, and Mango devices end up shipping in December-January, Microsoft is screwed. This isn't a question about the OS itself or what Mango will bring, it's a question about how quickly Microsoft needs to iterate and how basically flawless their execution needs to be to catch up within the next 24 months. Reply
  • irsmurf - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    Vivek,
    I had an HTC HD7 and now own a Dell Venue Pro. Thank you for writing such a thorough critique of the state of the Windows Phone 7 OS. I love my phone and while I accept lacking the advanced functionality of iOS and Android, I can do so only because Microsoft's promise to include these components in the next OS update.

    You're list WP7's shortcommings, "...3rd party multitasking, decent JavaScript performance, Silverlight, Flash, USB mass storage support, some decent form of IM support, VoIP and video calling, tethering or WiFi hotspot support, file transfers via Bluetooth, and custom ringtones," is the most complete I've seen attached to constructive criticism.

    I can't agree more about keeping the OS update cycle shorter than twelve months. Like movie studios, these mobile operating systems futures are only as bright as the next OS update. Microsoft will generate an enormous amount of good will if Mango is delivered ON TIME with its promised features.
    Reply
  • VivekGowri - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    I went the opposite direction - first the DVP, now the HD7, with a little Android in between. Honest to god, I'm probably dumping the platform for Android again, probably whenever the Sensation comes out. I love the UI, I just really need IM support and better Gmail support.

    And man oh man, WP7 needs Mango soon. Like, it'd be great if they could get it out in the next five weeks kind of soon, but at this point, I'd settle for September or whenever they said they'd release it. If it ends up three months late again and we see it in December or something...well...to quote Russel Peters, "SOMEbody gonna get a hurt reaaaaaal bad." That somebody will probably be Microsoft.
    Reply
  • XMason386 - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    Excellent article!

    So far the only irritating problem I have encountered with the HD7 is finding a holster and arm band that it will fit in easily. I hear that owners of the Droid X and EVO 4G experience similar challenges with 4.3 sized devices. In store accessories are also a bit hard to find because just about everywhere I go, most of the mobile accessories are for iPhones.

    I have had this HD7 for 6 weeks now and love it. It's very simple to setup and use daily. The integration with Windows Live, XBOX and Zune is great. I'm not an app hoarder so all the apps I will really use are available.

    The battery life is better than I expected and I'm hoping multitasking enhancements do not interfere with power consumption or stability later on.
    Reply
  • paulpod - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    I like the simple functionality of Windows Phone tiles but the missing functionality and wasted space of the homescreen take this to too much of an extreme.

    In that first screenshot, above the tiles you could have a signal strength indicator, a ringer setting indicator, a bluetooths conneciton indicator, a location setting indicator, and many more. But instead you have BLANK SPACE. That makes no sense whatsoever. And having to touch something to see indicators is a massive step backward for even the earlies "dumb" phone.

    Then look at all the wasted space down the righthand side below the arrow. You could have optional settings switches here (airplane mode on/off, etc,) and smaller quick-launch buttons for apps that do not warrant a full tile and get buried way down the page.
    Reply
  • paulpod - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    Wish I could edit the typos! *backward from even the earliest Reply
  • VivekGowri - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    It's an industrial design thing - it's just cleaner that way. I'm not going to bug Microsoft for the minor UI details, because I know how much they sweated each and every single UX interaction and the thinking that went into it. The UI design is one of the single best things about WP7 in my mind. Reply
  • Belard - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    I'm an Android user... and the design of WP7 is a clean and easy look. I wish Android didn't copy Apple so much with its icon layout.

    While they are called "tiles" on WP7, they are still icon-buttons with interactivity really. But hey, for a main screen on a phone, only 4-8 buttons are needed.

    On my Android, I have it mostly clean of buttons... just 8. I wish they were bigger (double size). I still like it over Apple a bit more, which doesn't give you custom desktops.
    Reply
  • cj100570 - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    The problem with WP7 is that Microsoft is incompetent. Reply
  • VinnyV - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    Imagine sitting on your couch in the living room, saying: Xbox Kinect, Skype, call Anand!

    Then Anand's new Nokia rings (with his custom ringtone of course!) and over his Wifi Internet connection instead of over 3G or 4G or whatever, he sees you on his nice big clear WP8 Nokia screen, sitting on your couch, feeling like the future's finally arrived.

    I wouldn't just be worried if I was an Apple or an Android, I'd be worried if I was making my money sending people bills for using my mobile network...
    Reply
  • TIGGAH - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    I think the battery life estimates are wrong. I own an HD2, HD7 and Focus - they all get comparable battery life. With the HD2 being a bit worse, the 7 in the middle and the Focus slightly better. Are the battery life figures presented obtained from the manufactures?

    Just curious.

    Also I as always I have to gush about WP7. I support blackberry, android, ios and wp7 phones at my work. Hands down my user base who has WP7 are the most happy and require less support. Once we get a few critical apps that are iphone only available for WP7 we will dump almost all the iPhones.

    Once mango comes out I think people will be even happier with WP7. Microsoft has truly created a gem here.
    Reply
  • VivekGowri - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    The battery life figures were obtained in instrumented battery life testing. Overall, in day-to-day usage, the Focus and HD7 are very similar, but our battery life test takes a larger toll on AMOLED displays due to a higher percentage of white backgrounds in the pages we load. What I will say is that if you use the Venue Pro or Focus with the "light" WP7 theme, you will get awful, terrible, woeful battery life.

    I love WP7. I really do. It just needs some updating to get to feature parity with the iOS/Android crowd.
    Reply
  • Ushio01 - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    Nokia uses 2 platforms S40 and S60, the major differences between these platforms are that the S60 smartphone platform has multitasking and customization while the S40 feature phone platform doesn't those are basically the only difference in software yet the WP7 phones i've used are at best equal to S40 on the software side. Reply
  • Penti - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    Actually technically S40 does multitasking since it's a Java ME device.

    And S60 is legacy.

    Nokia has Symbian^3 and Maemo. Both modern OS's with a modern framework on top of them with Qt/Qt Mobility/QML and Gstreamer etc powering it. Modern frameworks and API for writing software. With Symbian still having the legacy frameworks for supporting S60-programs. So you can write POSIX C/C++ programs, Symbian C++ programs, Qt C++ programs, programs in scripting languages like Python, Java ME, Compiled web apps and so on. And you can compile and ship Qt with older S60 devices/apps. To just drop that platform makes no sense. It was the software platform driving MeeGo's mobile branch. Symbian was driving that platform into the wild and into stable code.

    Microsoft is basically killing the future of Nokia all together, they sold over 100 million Symbian devices last year, and they kill Symbian and the investment in the software platform that was about to take over even in cheaper devices. Presently Symbian^3 devices only goes down to $309, but it can easily outplace older and cheaper S60 devices and go down as low as maybe $150 pretty soon, and would have sold well if they didn't kill it. Effectively killing all mobile phone OS development outside North America. To promote a platform that isn't as good (currently) or complete. Nokia already has all the modern bits there. In devices shipped already. They can also support stuff like Lotus Notes Traveler so you can have your notes mail in the phone. Which is at the moment technically impossible to do on WP7 phone even if IBM wanted to. Hoping that Nokia survives on S40 like Elop is, is just lunacy. S40 today is sub $150 devices. Not 400 dollar feature phones any more. If they themselves don't outplace the S40 devices someone else will and Nokia will drop their sales by hundreds of millions of devices, which is crazy, for a company that has production capabilities and plants themselves ruining billions in previous investments and tens of thousands of workers must go.

    The mobile phone business of Nokia must bring in €40 billion euros to go around. Which of course Microsoft couldn't care less about. The future market of maybe 20 million a year WP7 devices don't make a dent in a company that size. They will earn less and has to destroy property and have it totally written off to have any money for the share holders. Microsoft 2 billion US or so deal will make them loose billions and billions of Euros. They could only keep a few thousand employees busy with building WP phones. The rest of the 60 000 is gonna have no future. They where however profitable before the Microsoft deal. Nokia can't survive on that chump change.

    .NET CF before internet sockets, multitasking and alternatively native code isn't much use as a platform.
    Reply
  • VivekGowri - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    I almost feel like this comment needs commercial breaks.

    I think what it comes down to is this - hanging onto Maemo and Symbian^3 was no longer a winning proposition in the smartphone game, while with Microsoft, Nokia has the chance to become the premier handset manufacturer for a platform with a lot of potential for both improvement and growth. Risk vs reward, at the base level.
    Reply
  • FrederickL - Friday, May 13, 2011 - link


    Very interesting article Vivek, most informative.

    "I almost feel like this comment needs commercial breaks"

    Actually what it needs is editing out all the malicious wishful thinking. I do not claim to know whether or not Nokia have made the right decision
    - only time will tell. The point with Penti's post is that he/she *wants* the alliance to be a major fail. It will be interesting to see, in the event that it turns out to be a success, just how many of his/her words he/she will be able to eat and how much seasoning it will take to make them palatable.

    "Nokia has the chance to become the premier handset manufacturer for a platform with a lot of potential for both improvement and growth. Risk vs reward, at the base level."

    I agree wholeheartedly, Nokia have taken a big gamble and we will begin to see in the next year or so how it pans out. Personally I wish them well although I have no current intentions to move to WP7. I am very happy with my Desire Z!
    Reply
  • Penti - Saturday, May 14, 2011 - link

    Well even the N8 sold better then all the WP7 phones together, definitively they all together sold well over WP7. Only counting the latest Symbian^3.

    The wishful thinking is thinking Nokia could sell 100-150 million WP7 devices like next year or so. The market for all the manufacturers won't be that high by all account's even the overly optimistic ones. I do not wish WP7 to fail, but I still think it will for Nokia even if it's great for Microsoft and the users if they manage to sell 20-30 million devices a year again. As said you do realize there is no longer any mobile phone OS development outside of Canada and US? If they would have tired to bought them they couldn't have.

    Obviously they had some challenges, but how are they suppose to meet those without any developers? They still turned a profit, so I think it was prematurely and possibly disastrous and harmful for the company, they are god damn fudding their own platform to death before they have a new one. Why behave like a broken company before you are one and stop building for the future.

    In the event Nokia won't go under it will still turn into a company with 20 000 - 30 000 employees, and competitors would have gotten a hand on their manufacturing on fire sale outplacing Nokia in every segment. A success would be something like 1/3 of the current Symbian volumes, and that would be huge, and I don't think that is worthy a company like Nokia however I do not think they can't pull that off. And I wouldn't count that as a success, just like Motorola is just a abandoned shell of a company. I have no doubt Microsoft can be successful on the platform, it would do great if they can pull off all the promised features in Mango, however wishing for three platforms doesn't make it so. I don't think firing thousands of developers and closing down OS-business is a way to achieve that. Nokia is simply interesting for Microsoft because of Ovi Maps and Navteq. I wish Microsoft platforms the best, I simply just don't think it's good fit for Nokia as their exclusive platform. I think Nokia would need something that in a few years could sell 150-250 million devices a year, and I don't think WP has a chance do that, but I think their own had a small change to do so at least. Simply I don't see the benefit for the development to disappear. If they whore a failing company I could have seen a benefit to sell the OS/software and development like ones Symbian did in the 90's. Simply disregarding Qt and Nokia's recent effort just seems dishonest. Metro UI won't churn out hundreds of millions of new smart phones from Nokia. There's no reason to be overly optimistic about the move, they could put out some great phones, but I wouldn't translate that to commercial success. This is isn't desktop computers. There's still a good 5-6 months before Mango, and probably you won't see proper WP7 phones until next year. And in 2 years we won't see them sell 100 million smart phones like last year. Nothing malicious about that, it's just a totally different path they are taking. Selling a few millions devices in the US definitely won't save a global company.

    They had the ST-E platform ready for Symbian and MeeGo, they had their hardware platform partnership which will just go to waste now when they have to start from scratch. They are also the only mayor manufacturer that will use one platform exclusively on smart-phones. So just closing down Symbian-shop rather then pursuing a multiplatform strategy don't make sense if you would like to be a big profitable company. It's not like S40 can take over for Symbian, neither should it. Nokia needed to get rid off all that, but now they are getting rid off their own company instead, which certainly don't give me confidence.

    // Android Froyo, budgetphone user.
    Reply
  • paul112 - Friday, May 13, 2011 - link

    in this review it says there are 2 speakers, there isnt there's only 1 situated next to the camera, i was really dissapointed when i got home to hear the really crap sound quality output it has too Reply
  • dew111 - Friday, May 13, 2011 - link

    Who's your source for that story? That's not the true story. The circle waiting icon in Windows 7 is nicknamed the donut, so no donuts means that there's less loading time...which there is in NoDo. Ridiculous pastry story killed. Reply
  • DLeRium - Friday, May 13, 2011 - link

    Because seriously, I'd like to see how the copy and paste works. It's not all about benches. Just like in motherboard and GPU reviews you spend the first 2-3 pages looking at the external appearance, analyzing the layout etc. You also look at the BIOS for motherboards before you just jump into benches.

    So seriously, I'd like to see some software stuff. This is like talking about Android 2.3 but just looking at benches only.
    Reply
  • brucek2 - Friday, May 13, 2011 - link

    Who's the marketing genius who let the name "NoDo" be attached to their product? I understand that within Microsoft this is understood to mean "No Doughnut." Of course, to any regular consumer who hears the name (such as those who see it in the press because it was apparently leaked to them...), it is much more likely to mean "No Do" as in can't do it, won't do it, etc.

    Think this is a small matter? Many years ago Chevrolet tried launching their Chevy Nova in Mexico. Without changing the name. Unfortunately, "Nova" or "No va" means "it doesn't go" in Spanish. The predictable result was that it didn't sell there.
    Reply
  • KrazzyDJ - Saturday, May 14, 2011 - link

    Perhaps NoDo (or No Doughnuts) is Microsoft taking a dig at Android considering one of their OS upgrades was christened Doughnut. So, the name might mean Microsoft trying to say No Android !!! Reply
  • crazzeto - Monday, May 16, 2011 - link

    You reference a wiki listing of things wmo 6 did that 7 doesn't do. It would have been nice to include a link. I can sympathise with such a listing, I was an avid wmo 6 user until I switched to google with Droid 2. When I read about what wp7 would have feature set wise, I couldn't believe how limiting it was. Reply
  • Lilitu - Friday, May 20, 2011 - link

    I have high hopes for the WP7 platform.
    This review was quite lucid and fair.
    While I like my HD7 a great deal I do miss a working IM client but for texting, calling and browsing it works well.
    Unlike WM6.5 in my HD2 and every single Android device I have ever used; it does NOT freeze.
    IMHO that is worth the price of admission.
    We'll see what Nokia comes up with as well as the rumored HTC "Bresson"!
    Reply

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