Will "Mango" move Windows Phones from so-so to sexy?

Will "Mango" move Windows Phones from so-so to sexy?

Summary: In the Windows Phone space, however, there hasn't been a whole lot of variety, in terms of features or price points with the first-generation of devices. Will "Mango" devices be any different?

SHARE:

One of promised benefits of an ecosystem is choice. Microsoft often touts the ability of consumers to choose among multiple PCs -- and smart phones -- from multiple vendors as a differentiator between itself and Apple.

In the Windows Phone space, however, there hasn't been a whole lot of variety, in terms of features or price points with the first-generation of devices.

The HTC Trophy 7, which will be availble in Verizon Wireless stores as of June 2, looks and feels like a number of the other Windows Phones on the market. The Dell Venue Pro is the most differentiated of the Windows Phones, but for now, Dell officials won't say whether the company intends to offer a second generation of WP devices. And the Samsung Focus -- the WP7 device with an AMOLED screen and extra-thin form factor? That device has been plagued, more than any of the other WP7s, with operating-system update issues that still have yet to be completely resolved.

At the Computex show this week, Acer (one of Microsoft's three newly announced phone OEMs) is previewing its first WP7 device, the Acer W4. From the early spec list (3.5-inch WVGA screen, 8 GB storage, 1 GHz Qualcomm processor), this looks to be just another Windows Phone. What's disconcerting is the W4 is expected to be Acer's first "Mango" phone.

I've heard a number of Windows Phone backers tell those unimpressed by the first generation of WP hardware that Mango will change everything. New Windows Phones running Mango are expected to be in the market this fall, in time for holiday 2011 purchases.  But the Acer W4 doesn't make a convincing case for the coming generation of Windows Phones.

I'd expect Nokia -- which is on track to get at least one of its first Mango WP7 devices out in calendar 2011 (according to its CEO Steven Elop) -- will bring something new and different to the table. Hopefully, some of the other WP OEMs will have some new and different handsets that won't be bogged down with carrier testing and will be available this year, too.

But in the interim, the situation isn't great for those open to a Windows Phone. One of my readers, who describes himself as a Windows Phone advocate who really likes the WP software, explained the dilemma:

"I support many companies moving away from BlackBerry and BlackBerry servers but I can't tell an exec to buy a bulky small screened phone or a large screened phone with a very short battery life.

"While Microsoft may be promising more hardware providers when Mango is released, Microsoft has lost plenty of potential clients and with many companies; they have their employees stick to the 2 year policy on replacements of phones."

Should (and will) Microsoft do anything to push its phone partners to build better phones?

Topics: Telcos, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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

Talkback

77 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • They Should

    If the WP hardware for mango is as lackluster as the first generation it will really hurt MS in the phone space. They should at least come with front facing cameras so people on skype, messenger and kinect can all video chat with one another.
    rjohn05
    • Let's face it...

      None other ODM or OEM is more crucial than Nokia. All others are waiting for the reference design set forth by Microsoft and Nokia.

      The main reason is two fold.

      1) The Windows Embedded Compact 7.0 kernel is not finished yet. Either Mango is clinched to this release, and all BSPs are under development *OR* Mango will recycle the WEC 6.0R3 kernel or create a new one (6.0R4) so BSPs are just extended. Either way, migration must be controlled to avoid Samsung's Focus types of events.

      2) Mango code isn't still gold, so back to the Samsung Focus thingy, OEMs don't want to be lambasted on situations that really were Microsoft fault. The alleged memory switching was really a normal situation, but apparently Microsoft switched drivers without a note to Samsung. This speaks mounds of Microsoft and "once bitten, twice shy".
      cosuna
      • RE: Will

        @cosuna - Wrong, Samsung used processors from two different vendors and that is what resulted in the update dilemma that has been experienced ONLY by Samsung phones.
        NPGMBR
  • RE: Will

    All the current WP7 devices are just a warm-up act for what I think MS considers the "real" show: Nokia Windows Phones. Nokia's current N8, for example, is an amazing hardware device that is somewhat hindered by its OS. I think Nokia's hardware will really let Windows Phone 8 (or whatever it's called) shine.
    bmgoodman
    • RE: Will

      @bmgoodman

      Why so many believe, Nokia is the messias?
      Watchman247
      • RE: Will

        @Watchman247
        Because if you've held their high end smartphones in your hand, you know what the best-built phones in the industry feel like. Apple and Nokia are the only "high end" manufactures out there, I'm afraid, and Apple only releases one phone a year!
        x I'm tc
      • RE: Will

        @Watchman247 Maybe because they are the biggest sellers of mobile phones in the world with still 25% global market cap. Its falling but its still big.
        brhorv
    • RE: Will

      @bmgoodman
      One thing Nokia can bring to the table is superb camera lenses (Zeiss). There'd be plenty of people to whom a great photography experience on their phone would be worth a bunch.
      WebSiteManager
  • MS and sexy .....

    do not go together at all. That is one of the problems they are struggling with.
    Economister
    • RE: Will

      @Economister

      The only thing sexy is a gorgeous woman. People that use sexy to describe inanimate objects or companies have issues to resolve.
      lippidp
      • RE: Will

        @lippidp It's linguistic "artistic license", you aren't mean to interpret it literally. Actually the word "sexy" itself is linguistic artistic license.
        jeremychappell
      • RE: Will

        @lippidp I'd say sexy applies to inanimate objects as well.

        sexy adj.
        2. generally attractive or interesting : appealing
        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sexy

        People that claim facts without actually knowing them have issues to resolve.
        vel0city
      • RE: Will

        @lippidp Agree with you. This B.S. of using the word "sexy" as an "artistic license" to qualify gadgets is just that, B.S.
        nomorebs
      • RE: Will

        @lippidp

        LOL you are totally right.
        mikroland
    • RE: Will

      @Economister XBox is sexy...
      laserfloyd
      • RE: Will

        @laserfloyd

        Really? I always thought of it as a useful device for playing video games and for media streaming.
        bobiroc
  • Compelling

    I am not looking for sexy in a phone. I am looking for useful. Will the Lync integration in Mango be solid? If so, my most compelling need for Mango will be met. Everything else is just window dressing for me.
    Your Non Advocate
    • RE: Will

      @facebook@...

      Unfortunately "sexy" sells. Many people purchase their phones and update them frequently because somehow the phone you use has become a status symbol of sorts. I know people that insist on upgrading their phones every 6 months to a year even if it means breaking a contract because they have to have the latest and greatest from their favorite brand. It reminds me of that commercial from Best Buy about their buy back program.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZAAZ7iXN-o

      Sometimes I feel that while technology moves fast that some companies rush out a new device with one little improvement instead of a new device with considerable improvements. I guess it seems to work though because people insist on buying a new iGadget every year or new cell phone whenever they get a chance. I have been criticized in the past for skipping generations of devices like my iPhone.

      I guess I am like you functionality is more important to me then "sexy" when it comes to material possessions such as this. Maybe that is why I still have an old school rear projection HDTV and will only upgrade if there is a real reason to do so and refuse to let what others "think" influence my decision.
      bobiroc
      • I am shocked

        @bobiroc <br><br>You sound like me!<br><br>Scary ;-)

        Edit: Who is it scarier for, you or me?
        Economister
    • I am looking for ease of use but you might consider it &quot;sexy&quot;

      @facebook@... <br><br>What you may consider cosmetic, I consider essential functionality. I'm stuck on Sprint at the moment because I only get good coverage with Sprint or Verizon but I'm happy to jump ship to Verizon if they get a better WP7 than the Trophy.<br><br>I'm over 40 so my eyes find reading a 4.3" screen much easier than a 3.6" screen. I use my phone mostly to read e-mails and open email attachments (in addition to using it as a phone). I occassionally browse the web however I use it most often to browse the web when I tether. I use very little data but it would be nice to have 4G connectivity when I do tether. I'd turn it off when I'm not just to increase the battery time.<br><br>I'd like a big honkin' battery like the 1730 mah in the EVO 3D in a slim desing like the EVO 3D and with 4G connectivity like the EVO 3D and with a 4.3" screen like the EVO 3D (unlike the Sprint Arrive which is NOT a "sexy" phone). I like Android but prefer WP7. If I could reformat the EVO 3D with WP7 I'd be quite content with my "sexy" phone.
      boed