Windows Phone a push with CNET's Molly Wood

Microsoft's Brandon Watson challenged several to give Windows Phone a chance and if it failed to impress, he's donate $1,000 to their favorite charity. Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, took Brandon up on the challenge and deemed the Windows Phone a winner over his iPhone and the EVO 3D Android phone.

Molly Wood, Executive Director over at CNET, took up the challenge to see if the Windows Phone could lure her away from Android. She posted the above video rendering her verdict as a push. Molly felt that Android gave her more power and Windows Phone was more on the "friendship ladder" where she likes it but doesn't love it.

Molly found Mango to be an easy to use, attractive system.  She found Zune Pass to be be "fine" and like the Skydrive concept (but not the implementation).  However, the two most important features Molly is looking for in a phone is speech to text and mapping. She was disappointed to see that speech to text wasn't integrated throughout out Windows Phone and wasn't a fan of Bing's turn-by-turn directions.

While we'd love for it to be different, not everyone is going to be a Windows Phone fan.  For those keeping score, Brandon's challenge has produced one winner and one push.

In viewing Molly Wood's verdict, I couldn't help but think that her Windows Phone was fighting an uphill battle. In the end, she acknowledged that some will find Windows Phones appealing but in her case, she'll stick with Android. Not because Windows Phones suck but because Android fits her needs best. And we can respect that.

Oh and if Molly is looking for someone to send her Windows Phone to, I'll be happy to get my mailing address to her.

Source: Cnet and thanks to everyone who tipped us on this!


Reader comments

Windows Phone a push with CNET's Molly Wood


Posted about this in the forum a bit ago:http://forums.wpcentral.com/windows-phone-7-general-discussion/179772-2.htm Since that time, users on other forums and Cnet are going bananas about the verdict!Great point about Windows Phone fighting an uphill battle. Truthfully, her overall impression was mostly negative, especially on the video review. Surprisingly,however, Molly's written review is a bit more balanced and nuanced overall.http://m.cnet.com/Article.rbml?nid=20094766&cid=null&bcid=&bid=-256the sad thing is most will watch her sorely journalistic-integrity-lacking , incredibly negative video review due to short attention spans. I;m sure Molly knows this and regrettably she tailored her reviews for both mediums based on that. Oh well...In any event, I believe the smart thing for Brandon/MS to do is donate a grand to all charities after each challenge as a true show of class. It would make for a win win for MS and the Challengee (is that a word?), by exposing all readers/viewers of the news what Brandon was doing to spread goodwill as well as awareness of WP in a fun and novel way.

1) She's based in the Bay area. It's hard to get a good review out of Bay area journalists. (They think their inflated house price depends on MS's failure!)2) OK, having to click on the nav sucks. But do people really use phone navigation all that often? I know it sounds useful but frankly I find the car built-in or add-ons like Garmin to be much more useful. I mean, what do you do when you get a call or txt while following the phone nav? And what about the data cap? Many people don't have unlimited plans anymore.3) Is she really 35? She looks more like 40 something.

a critic is asked to critique, and you're surprised at the outcome ? 1) pointless2) yes, people really use features on devices IF THEY WORK.3) pointless personal attack

The minute I heard Brandon offer this challenge to her I groaned. First he's offering people $1000 to say that they don't like the product? That's really dumb. Second of all this person does not like Microsoft. And I back that up with the fact that she is a very prominent tech journalist who has never seen a reason in her life to sign up for a Windows Live ID. Do you have any idea how many Microsoft services require you to register a Windows Live ID? From Xbox to Office to Zune to Live to Hotmail.. the only way to not have a Windows Live ID is to completely avoid any and all Microsoft related service your entire life. Third of all at least half of the benefits of the Mango update won't even be realized until developers can release apps for the new OS. Without new Mango apps not only are none of the new API's available, or the new dual sided Live tiles or the App Connect features unavailable, but the version she tested doesn't even have multitasking yet! It has a barebones task switcher, but nothing can actually run in the background. So why do this publicity seeking challenge now with a beta version of an OS and no new software to take advantage of it's best features? And then give it to someone who dislikes Microsoft products and services and frankly seems clueless about technology? Seriously I hope Steve Ballmer throws a chair at Brandon. This was a really dumb move.

I don't think it is possible to give you more than 1 like vote but I'll keep trying. Everything you have said is spot on Molly despises all things Microsoft and it isn't even subtle how much she hates the company. The fact that she has never had a live id speaks volumes. But forget her bias, giving mango out now when no apps support it yet and the OS isn't even final is mind numbing I can't believe this guy still has a job I'm sure he means well but this is just plain stupid. It's like allowing somebody who hates your company to test drive your new car with no wheels on it you are just going to fail.

I agree with most of your points but in general Molly is usually pretty well knowledge about technology, but she does have a huge bias against Microsoft and it is unfortunate. However, I am still a fan because she is actually a really smart person. She has very valid rants on Buzz Out Loud all the time, IMO of course.

Haha, she hates all tech.. She rants about Android and Iphone just as much if not more, in fact that is how this all started :D And although I dissagree with most of her commentary on Mango's use I do agree that Turn By Turn is truly terrible, I almost died trying to use it. I love Mango but that Turn By Turn implementation is just not safe.

Unfortunately, from what I know of it, the tap-to-turn implementation was due to patents that MS does not have. Once Navteq IPs from the Nokia deal comes through it should be fixed.

In her earlier blog from the first week, she openly admits that she didn't even care to read the instruction manual for the phone; which I get it we all like to play. But smartphones these days have soo many different gestures, it doesn't hurt to look up how to properly use the phone. She kept having to retract her negative statements regarding gestures.

Bad luck. With professional experts, I think it is best not to put them in zero-sum situations, i.e. have them choose WP7 over others, but to have them give 2-week run evaluating the phone, outline the pros, cons and where they think Microsoft will steer the system in the future. Yes WP7 doesn't have speech-to-text integrated throughout the phone, but the text/SMS and Bing certainly suggests the capability is there, and if consumers vouch for it, WP7 will get it in future updates.

Should have gone with my plan, just make WP7 so awesome no other OS could compare, instead just as they did when they omitted copy and paste they hand their detractors an easy, large and juicy target in the craptastic navigation they put in Mango. And this time they cant complain because it is truly atrocious. WP7 Mango is good, but that wont be good enough for the apple/droid loving tech press. Have to make it flawless, MS!

Should have gone with my plan, just make WP7 so awesome no other OS could compare, instead just as they did when the omitted copy and paste they hand their detractors an easy, large and juicy target in the craptastic navigation they put in Mango. And this time they cant complain because it is truly atrocious. WP7 Mango is good, but that wont be good enough for the apple/droid loving tech press. Have to make it flawless, MS!

...why didn't you tell Microsoft about your plan? I am sure that they would have been happy to adopt it because as a multi-billion company, those losers have no clues at all about how to run their business...

Unfortunately she is correct. Apple is the king of the smooth and brainless experience. It'll take years to catch up plus in case you hadn't noticed, the Apple fanboys are really anti-MS. The power users on the other hand WILL go for Android since it is the king of openness. So Microsoft will have a choice here. It would be better to just open up the OS and marketplace to Android's standards because it's fast and free. "Not as open as Android, and less smooth than Iphone" just isn't a good tag line.The even bigger problem of course is that almost no one on this kool-aid drinking web site agrees with me. So there is no hope that there will be any pressure on MS to turn things around. If the users don't even get it, why should MS?

one huge downside to letting tech people take this challenge is that if they're running android, they probalbly have a ROM(is that what it's called? like...improving the performance of the phone by doing some soft of hacking) running, where a average person doesn't. so "android" in that case is not really the "consumer version" to be compared with windows phone 7 :Dinstead they should let the average people try it, just like what a cnet jounalist did by letting his daughter try it out, accoding to a previous wpcentral/wmpoweruser post

Well, maybe Android feets better her needs, and I'm fine with that. But what should be noted is the lack of integration of the speech to text, and the turn by turn that's unusable (no: you shouldn't have to tap to have next direction...).These are two weeknesses that should quickly get adressed: I hope the WP team will take a note...Mango isn't even released yet, and I already hope for a quick update to fix these flaws...Maybe she hates MS (although this is not my impression while reading/hearing her), but there she underlines *valid* points: and that's where people should focus on...

Worthless. The two main things she based her verdict on (text-to-speech and navigation) are ancillary features most people don't care about. Her word choice ("as well as anything by Microsoft is") shows a clear anti-Microsoft bias.It seems like she criticized WP7 because of the lack of Skydrive integration but only tried to access MP3s, meaning she didn't even try Office or Zune. I have Nodo and I can access Onenote files from Skydrive. I don't mind negative reviews if they're correct, but don't critize a feature you didn't even try.

Molly's nuts and her biased review shows in both the video and written commentary. The comment that stood out in my mind was as follows: "Apple is promising to at least scan and match your iTunes library and stream it back to your device; and even Spotify lets you find and manipulate music either on your computer or on your device and sync it up wirelessly. Zune Pass stands alone in the now ancient-feeling request to "connect your phone to your computer" to load up music...."So Apple gets a pass because they "promise" to solve her problem. I call BS Molly. Sorry but it's plain that if you don't even try it shows.

I thought these people were given Windows Phones because they were unsatisfied with their buggy Androids. Do the minor flaws of Windows Phone really compare against the bugginess/battery-sucking of Android.

I have to agree about the voice to text, that's one of the biggest things I miss from Android.However it sounds like she didn't use skydrive via the office hub, technically there is an app for streaming music.

I don't take Molly seriousely anyway. You could just see it in her eyes in the video when she talks about Mango. Something is not right.