Jamie Thomson

Thoughts, about stuff

My thoughts on Windows Phone 7, and why I shall be getting one

with 7 comments

Earlier this week Microsoft announced their new mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7, along with a host of new phone devices on which it will run. They become available in the UK in 7 days time and I shall be getting one, in this blog post I am going to explain why.

Almost five years ago (on 1st November 2005 to be precise) Microsoft released Windows Live; a set of online services -some of which were re-branded from MSN- that were intended to…well…no-one was really sure what they were intended for. The progress of Windows Live since then has been rocky to say the least (including some highprofile departures) although I do believe that the brand now represents a concrete set of products and services that bring value and have a strong future. The change in strategy from trying to be all things to all comers to partnering with best-of-breed services (e.g. Facebook, WordPress, LinkedIn, TripIt, Last.FM) whilst doubling-down on their own popular brands (Office, Messenger, Hotmail) and then building desktop tools to support all those services is both palpable and to Microsoft’s credit in my opinion.

I have been, and still am, a keen follower of Windows Live since those early days (my first Windows Live related blog post was in September 2006) and since then I have endured much ridicule from friends and colleagues who wondered why I bothered maintaining an interest in it when everyone else was jumping onto the MySpace, Facebook and Twitter bandwagons. You can imagine that the phrase “Microsoft fanboy” has been uttered in my direction many times and frankly, given the evidence , its not something I can legitimately deny. They questioned why I bothered with Windows Live and the answer back then was essentially this:

Microsoft’s breadth of products and services that can get unlocked by a single Windows Live ID is greater than anyone else

Four years ago there was no other single organisation that offered (or were going to offer): music and video, gaming, email, instant messenging, online storage, social network aggregation, desktop computing, search, synchronisation & mobile computing (and not forgetting a software platform that I make my living off of) all tied to the same login and it is that simple fact that I always found so compelling. Moreover, even in the face of competition from heavyweights like Apple, Google and Facebook I still find it to be overwhelmingly compelling today. The potential for a fantastic integrated experience incorporating all of the above was always, in my opinion, greater than anyone else could provide but for the last five years that all it has been – potential.

So what has all that got to do with Windows Phone 7? For me, Windows Phone 7 is the first embodiment of that latent potential. I didn’t think it would take five years to arrive at this point but arrive we have. And how. The reviews have generally been very positive (anything from Microsoft that gets Stephen Fry and Jemima Kiss singing its praises must be worthy of a second glance at least) and at the centre of it is Windows Live; not plastered over the top as it was in previous incarnations of Windows Mobile but actually woven into the core of every Windows Phone 7 to the extent that it powers everything from the Facebook-heavy people hub to the online accompanying service at http://windowsphone.live.com.

So to sum up, why am I getting a Windows Phone? In a nutshell its not because I’ve been waiting a few months for this thing, its because I’ve been waiting for four years and I’m not going to turn my back just as we enter the finishing straight. I will be getting a Windows Phone in 7 days (I am as yet undecided about which one though it will probably be the HTC HD7) and I’ll tell you all about it right here.



Written by Jamiet

October 14, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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7 Responses

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  1. Well said, Jamie. I’m looking forward to getting one as soon as possible, too. It’s a bit difficult for me at the moment, because I’m currently with an unsupported carrier. So I don’t know whether I’ll switch immediately or just wait a bit.

    I’m definitely excited about the prospect of uniting even more of my digital life under the my Windows Live ID. It’s a shame that Live has faltered and appears to be resigned to being a second-tier platform in some areas (most notably blogging and social networking), but I think they’ve also done some amazing work in tightening up the services and getting some much needed direction.

    These phones are going to be revolutionary to say the least. Not that they’ll necessarily provide a ton of functionality that isn’t already present on other platforms, but I think they overall experience will be seamless in a way we’ve never seen before. I wouldn’t be surprised if it helps to create a new paradigm of how we see and interact with our mobile devices.

    Greg Edwards

    October 14, 2010 at 8:26 pm

  2. Greg,
    I don’t believe that Live has faltered, I believe it has focused on the stuff that people actually used and got rid of the rest of the crap. As I said that change in strategy, the refocusing, is palpable and I’m delighed to see it.

    Just my opinion.

    Which phone are you going to get?



    October 14, 2010 at 8:31 pm

  3. I also wholeheartedly agree with your thoughts!

    It’s taken a little time for Microsoft to get here, but I think that the Windows Live ID vision is finally coming together.

    A bit of a pain in the a*s initially, as I had tried to keep two Live IDs (one work, one personal) but this model doesn’t really work in today’s social-centric era.

    Now I have one Live ID that meshes my professional and personal information into one gigantic pot – Xbox Live, Zune Pass, Windows Live, Microsoft Partner, et all accessible from a multitude of devices or browsers. In addition, Outlook 2010 (and other Microsoft apps like Live Essentials and Messenger) aggregate all of my non-MS profiles (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter).

    I finally feel like I have one identity connected to many services, rather than many single identities in multiple services.

    Outlook 2010 and Windows Live Essentials 2011 were the first steps in merging everything together, and Windows Phone 7 is the next major milestone in this process… It’ll make information truly available anywhere, anytime.

    In particular – I can’t wait to create a new personal “OneNote” notepad that sits on SkyDrive and that I can access using a Windows Phone 7 device, through OneNote 2010 on the desktop, or through Office Web Apps – this is a fine example of how everything from desktop to mobile to cloud ties together!

    I’m fortunate enough to be getting both of Orange’s launch handsets (a spare phone for demo purposes), and already have both the HTC 7 Mozart and Samsung Omnia 7 pre-ordered at the local Orange store. I’ve also already arranged a one-to-one with a contact(/friend) at the Orange store for the afternoon of the 21st… 🙂


    October 14, 2010 at 11:50 pm

  4. Stan,
    Appreciate the comment, thanks. And I’m jealous of all yer phones that you’ll be getting 🙂


    Jamie Thomson

    October 15, 2010 at 3:48 pm

  5. Jamie,
    I’ll be getting one too – it’s just too compelling. The integration of services is the icing on the cake, but the architecture of the system is what drew me in.
    Microsoft appears to be taking the “best” road here between Apple and Android in key areas. They’re going to (mostly) bypass carriers with updates over-the-air – something you can’t say for either other platform. As smartphones become ubiquitous, there will be security issues that will require zero-day patching, and only Windows Phone 7 seems to be architected to deal with that inevitability. It also gives Microsoft a real way to push out updates (cut & paste, etc) quickly – let’s hope they deliver often…
    The developer experience is excellent. I’ve not made anything for any mobile platform – let alone a web app – and yet in less than a week’s worth of dev time (a couple weekends) I was able to make a very pretty and useful local app (if I do say so myself) that I’ll be offering in the marketplace. I simply couldn’t believe how easy it was to incorporate location, maps, page transitions, etc…
    I’ll be getting a WP7 as soon as possible after launch – probably the Samsung Focus. I just got my hands on a Taylor for testing, and even though it’s hobbled, it hasn’t diminished my expectations a bit.

    Todd McDermid

    October 26, 2010 at 4:09 pm

  6. […] provided such an app for my Sunbury-on-Thames Elmcity hub and hence providing such an app for my smartphone of choice may become my personal winter project – if there are any .Net developers out there than fancy […]

  7. […] provided such an app for my Sunbury-on-Thames Elmcity hub and hence providing such an app for my smartphone of choice may become my personal winter project – if there are any .Net developers out there than fancy […]

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