After the iPhone 4S, Windows Phone 7.5 still feels right

After the iPhone 4S, Windows Phone 7.5 still feels right

Summary: The Apple iPhone 4S is being purchased at a fast pace and I am enjoying mine. However, Windows Phone 7.5 is still my preferred platform and just needs better hardware.

SHARE:

My fellow ZDNet blogger and friend, James Kendrick, put up a post comparing his Android and iOS 5/iPhone 4S experiences and I agree with his take on the two. Since he has been a much more regular Android user while I have been focusing more time on Windows Phone 7 I thought you might enjoy hearing my thoughts on how the new iOS 5 OS on my Apple iPhone 4S compares to the Windows Phone 7 platform.

Software: iOS 5 vs. Windows Phone 7.5

A person who has used Windows Phone 7 even more than myself is Paul Thurrott and on his SuperSite for Windows he offers some thoughts on Windows Phone 7.5 versus iOS 5 and comes the conclusion that his AT&T SIM belongs in his Windows Phone 7.5 device. Paul emphasizes what I talked about when Windows Phone 7 was first released in 2010 and that is the philosophy of an application based system versus a task based system. In Windows Phone 7/7.5 you don't generally think of apps as much (except for Xbox LIVE games) as you simply perform tasks to get things done, such as call a friend or look at your photos.

iOS 5 and the Apple iPhone 4S may change all of that as Siri grows up, but right now Siri is still a bit limited on what you can do and I personally find it most useful for creating reminders and calendar appointments. Since Siri is a beta, I am hoping to get more integration into 3rd party apps and even Apple apps. I would love to just say something like "Download the latest MobileTechRoundup podcast and start playing it." It is not yet that advanced though and as I mentioned in an earlier article the Windows Phone 7.5 Tellme voice integration is excellent and deserves consideration.

Apple rules the smartphone world with the number of applications, but I personally find all the apps I want and need on Windows Phone 7 in their catalog of 30,000+ applications. I find the notifications in iOS 5 to blow away what limited notifications we see on Windows Phone and would love to see a bit more work in this area.

Speed and consistency has always been a hallmark of iOS, but Windows Phone 7.5 beats Apple here with an extremely snappy performance even on old hardware. Windows Phone 7.5 is as consistent as iOS and maybe even more so with less menu options and settings available to the end user. Windows Phone 7.5 does an excellent job with service integration while Apple forces you into the idea of working with specific apps, such as separate Facebook and Twitter apps.

Hardware

There is no question that the hardware of the iPhone 4S blows away anything we currently see in Windows Phone. Hopefully that changes very soon when Nokia joins the picture and if they release a device as amazing as the Nokia N9 I am looking at then we'll have a real competition going on. HTC, Samsung, and others need to step up their Windows Phone game and I think a couple of the upcoming Windows Phone 7.5 device look to do that.

Which do I prefer?

As regular readers know I have been a major fan and advocate for Windows Phone 7 and still am a strong believer that you need to try it before tossing it out for consideration. My daughter liked it so much that she helped pay for her own unlocked Samsung Focus to use on T-Mobile and said the same thing.

I really enjoy my new Apple iPhone 4S and love that you now get a rock solid zippy experience with a ton of tweaking options, similar to the Android platform, and a platfom that is consistent like Windows Phone. The iPhone 4S hardware is awesome and with a camera that performs as well as anything on the market I recommend the iPhone 4S for many people. However, like Paul I still find I enjoy using Windows Phone 7.5 even more than my iPhone 4S. Windows Phone 7.5 is my primary phone on T-Mobile and the iPhone 4S is my primary on Verizon and there is nothing I see from Android that will knock either one of those out. I am enjoying the Nokia N9, but with a dead end software platform that is a tweakers device and not for the masses. I cannot wait to see what Nokia announces next week at Nokia World, I will be there covering the event, and hope to soon replace my aging HTC HD7 and Dell Venue Pro.

Topics: Windows, Apple, iPhone, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

43 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Windows Phone 7.5 still feels right

    Argh, I hate to be the grammar Nazi, but your camera performs as "well" as anything on the market.
    dsf3g
  • Microsoft deserves good marks with the polish and conceptual consistency of

    ... their Windows Phone 7 approach. They went the Apple way, so the quality is there.<br><br>The problem for them is that since their WP7 platform is conceptually similar (I do not mean UI, which is different) to iOS, to gain mass marketshare Microsoft has to have some significant software/hardware advantage over iOS. Because people who want this type of integrated, consistent UI platform already have iOS for this.<br><br>WP7 does not really much compete with Android, since the latter is conceptually different (from both WP7/iOS), offering great flexibility and customization, but lacking in UI consistency, integration, solidness. There are a lot of people who prefer this geeky approach, sacrificing quality of their day-to-day experience with OS and applications. These people are not usually interested in WP7/iOS platforms since these can not offer the goods they need, so no real competition here.<br><br>However, Nokia and some other manufactures may storm mass-market with devices for common people, who are not "smartphone-conscious". Many Android huge sales are done this way -- people are buying cheap devices with big screen which is useful to look photos on it, and <b>they do not really care which OS is installed there.</b><br><br>This way Microsoft can gain its market share quite quickly -- almost as quickly as Android did.
    DDERSSS
    • I agree with your conclusion that WP7 cannot compete

      @DeRSSS
      "Because people who want this type of integrated, consistent UI platform already have iOS for this."

      Exactly right. There is absolutely no incentive to go from iOS to WP7 because iOS has the best, most powerful ecosystem in the world.

      This is a sick market. We all lose.
      toddybottom
      • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Windows Phone 7.5 still feels right

        @toddybottom This is true for now, but lets not forget that windows 8 with the live tiles concept is coming, and the ecosystem along with Xbox is becoming a reality. It's not difficult to see that all will become one, and one will be the extension of other. It was already announced that windows 7.5 apps will work on windows 8. As a developer after seeing what I saw in the developer tools man, Microsoft will rock years to come.
        BigAlPlayer
      • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Windows Phone 7.5 still feels right

        @toddybottom Right now, Microsoft is not trying to convert iPhone user in the masses. Their focus is first time smart phone buys with an emphasis on women and youth. Only around 30% of the US wireless market own smart phones.
        WixosTrix
    • Market share?

      @DeRSSS WP7's market share isn't going anywhere until they fix the <a href="http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hardware/windows-phone-75-mango-update-causes-freezing-and-keyboard-issues/15601">Mango bug batch.</a>

      By then we'll probably have W8, and a fresh batch of bugs. This one is over.
      symbolset
      • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Windows Phone 7.5 still feels right

        @symbolset
        I have not experienced any of the mentioned bugs.
        kstap
      • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Windows Phone 7.5 still feels right

        @symbolset Using Mango for a few days now and haven't noticed any of these bugs. Probably some publicity paid article by google or apple, or maybe some specific devices are affected, remember that there are millions of windows phone 7 out there (not enough). I am sure microsoft and htc will resolve it, end of the day there is a backup so anyone can go back to their last version until sorted out.
        panoslondon1
  • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Windows Phone 7.5 still feels right

    Could you explain in greater depth what you or Paul meant by the following line.

    Windows Phone 7.5 does an excellent job with service integration while Apple forces you into the idea of working with specific apps, such as separate Facebook and Twitter apps.

    Apple's iOS 5 has tight integration with Twitter and now FaceBook has released a native iOS 5 app. What Win 7.5 service advantage are you referring to?
    kenosha77a
    • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Windows Phone 7.5 still feels right

      I have to admit, I struggle with the claim that iOS 5 has tight twitter integration. As far as I can tell, the integration is on 2 levels. At the OS level, you can store your twitter account information so you don't need to enter it again in every single app (note the word- app). However, the OS itself does not give you any access to twitter. All access to twitter is performed through apps (note the word- app). Even the twitter notifications I get in the notification center are not from iOS 5, they are from the twitter app (note the word- app) that Apple suggested I download when I entered my twitter credentials in the system settings. Apple has updated some of its apps (note the word- app) so you can tweet from them. Of course, this is nothing new for the iOS platform since many apps (note the word- app) have given the user the ability to tweet from them. "now FaceBook has released a native iOS 5 app" Note the word- app. Please don't mistake this post as suggesting that the WP7 way is better. It clearly isn't since sales numbers prove that WP7 cannot compete. However, there is no doubt that the approach MS took with WP7 is less app centric than the approach Apple took with iOS. This "tight" integration with twitter can only be leveraged through the use of apps in iOS 5. Again, this isn't a bad thing but hopefully that answers your question- "What Win 7.5 service advantage are you referring to?"
      toddybottom
      • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Windows Phone 7.5 still feels right

        @toddybottom

        Thanks.
        kenosha77a
    • Messaging and status updates are couple examples

      @kenosha7777 Messaging in WP 7.5 includes text messaging, Windows Live, and Facebook Chat so conversations work across services. I know iMessage is working to do this, but still not as open yet. Status updates include Windows Live and Facebook on WP7.5 so you see your friends and family updates without having to go into apps. You think more about people rather than apps in WP7.5. It is more experience/task focused (what do you want to do?) rather than what app do I open for this or that?
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
      • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Windows Phone 7.5 still feels right

        @palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)

        Thanks, that makes sense. The Metro UI on Win 7.5 phones is a nice concept (I've gone on record as endorsing this interface for both phones and tablets.)

        But with push notifications (for FaceBook and the like) and, as you mentioned, iMessage and FaceTime, the end results between the two platforms (regarding social interactions) are very, very close.
        kenosha77a
      • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Windows Phone 7.5 still feels right

        @palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)

        Also include Twitter and LinkedIn integration to that list. No doubt Skype will come aswell.

        The point is, you don't need a separate app for all of those services like on iOS - Instead they are aggregated within the OS' Peoples Hub.
        Poppets
  • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Windows Phone 7.5 still feels right

    Glowing review of Titan on Engadget...yes...pro-Apple Engadget.
    Microsoft has gotten all the little stuff SO right.
    I`m switching to Mango , baby !
    Bufbarnaby
    • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Windows Phone 7.5 still feels right

      @Bufbarnaby <br><i>I`m switching to Mango , baby !</i><br><br>Don't forget your bluetooth <a href="http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/windows-phone-mango-users-reporting-disappearing-keyboards/11018?tag=mantle_skin;content" target="_blank">keyboard</a>. You're going to need it.
      Return_of_the_jedi
      • Proving once again that this is a sick market

        @Return_of_the_jedi
        You are supporting my claim that there is no good competition in this market. Consumers lack a real choice. They can have the wonderful iOS 5 or they can have an OS that can't even get the keyboard right. This isn't real choice. This is a sick market. We all lose.
        toddybottom
      • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Windows Phone 7.5 still feels right

        @Return_of_the_jedi - Yeah, reminds me of the problems people were having updaing to iOS 5. The keyboard on my Windows Phone has never disappeared but then again, the problem is isolated to particular manufacturers.
        NPGMBR
  • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Windows Phone 7.5 still feels right

    I have been with WP7 since it's launch and what frustrates me is the bias against the platform. In most of the tech blogs I read, when comparisons are done, it is often between the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. Not even a mention of WP7 devices.

    Yes, it's cool to see WP7 devices used on TV shows, which can only help give more exposure to the platform. I just hope that the hardware manufacturers HTC, Samsung and Nokia put more money into promoting and designing better, eye-catching and practical devices.

    All the partners in the WP7 ecosystem have to be "all in" or else they can never truly compete against iPhone and Android.
    ITdudeMTL
    • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Windows Phone 7.5 still feels right

      @ITdudeMTL
      i agree, but at the same time i don't.
      Recently there has been talk about how money is being set aside for marketing and that Microsoft is giving some to manufacturers, yesterday i was reading about HTC promoting their Titan and Radar devices in Europe. Hopefully we'll see more of this.
      vidwa