Since launch, Windows Phone has been struggling to get into the market at a late point in time. Opinions from owners who are on other platforms were almost identical, "Windows Phone will never take off." Granted, it's been a fairly difficult year for not only the development team, but for consumers and app developers alike. We've all huddled together and can agree on one thing - we've travelled through thick and thin rather successfully thus far.
Now Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) is out and second generation handsets (HTC Titan, Samsung Focus S, Nokia Lumia 800, etc.) are making headlines, we've seen some heads turn to the platform as a viable contender in this competitive mobile market, which the fragmented Android dominates. Rich Trenholm, UK Editor at CNET, is a good example on some well known names moving over from a competitor.
Introducing another opinion, which is fairly positive, from Alasdair Monk (a user interface/experience designer). He's used the Nokia Lumia 800 (our review) for a mere 24-hours before writing up a detailed review of his experience.
"Metro is beautiful. I'll say it a thousand times in this piece no doubt, but it is. What it isn't is an iOS pretender. Microsoft have actually crafted a mobile operating from the outset that shares few similarities with its peers. In one release, they've made Android look like some tacky fifty-quid knockoff imitation of iOS you see on blogs.
But what's really amazing is that not only is Metro as good as iOS in almost every respect, but in some ways it's far, far ahead."
"Metro is beautiful" is big coming from a UI designer, and is something we can whole-heartedly agree with. But as with any other review from people on other platforms, Monk went into how there appears to be a lack of "talented developers" providing consumers content on the Marketplace - there are simply not enough apps. Something I disagree with. The developer base is growing, along with the number of available apps. We have some big names that have recently come forth and released apps, as well as some superb quality such as the (plug alert!) WPCentral app.
"They should probably rebrand it something like 'Windows Car Boot Sale' such is the quality of the goods on sale. And not one of those good car boot sales that yummy mummys in Hampstead frequent to pick up carrot cake for little Jerimiah and red letter days for wine tasting; oh no, probably more like the sort of affair that some kids flogged their bounty of JB Sports gear at, after the riots."
Monk isn't the only one testing out Microsoft's OS and actually believing the software giant has created something special (some of us are still finding it hard to believe this is the same Microsoft that brought us Windows Vista and the famous animated paperclip). Noah Kravitz, a well known blogger in the technological world, has been using the Lumia 800, Titan and Focus S, taking Windows Phone Mango for a test run - and he likes it. A lot.
"Whichever side of the Fanboy Wars you’re on, it’s hard to deny that the latest incarnations Android and iOS share more than a passing resemblance. You’ve got grids, you’ve got folders, you’ve got trays, and you’ve got notification pull-downs no matter which camp you’re in. Microsoft didn’t exactly re-invent the wheel with Windows Phone 7, but at least they took a different tack. Giant blocks of color and the Metro design language look great on giant screens and work just fine on Lumia 800′s “little” 3.7-inch display."
Being a "Microsoft hater", Kravitz is going through the same stage in life we've all experienced when using Windows Phone for the first time. That giggly feeling you get in your stomach as you see your tiles flow onto the screen on start, and your Xbox Live avatar getting continuously beaten off the tile (poor guy), is something that makes the experience so special and unique. Using your phone is fun once again.
"Most everything in Windows Phone is big, bold and easy to see; after using Titan for a week I went back to my iPhone 4 and wondered what the hell was up with the weird banners, fonts and textures in Game Center."
Kravitz has actually ditched the iPhone for Windows Phone (like many others), and is now enjoying a minimalistic experience on the huge HTC Titan (our review). It's interesting to see how the platform is evolving, not only for consumers with updates and new hardware, but with how it's perceived by 'outsiders'. To end this article, I leave you in the hands of Yazz. The only way is up, Microsoft.