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Wondering how Microsoft’s new mobile phone stacks up

Microsoft "Mango" Smartphone

I’ve always been a gadget geek, but developed a serious mobile focus after my stint at Intel. Not only do I love the tech behind smartphones, tablets, and the like, but I’m fascinated with how our increased mobility is shaping the way we communicate and live our lives. We’re connected constantly. There’s no waiting until we get home to post our latest news on Facebook – we’re doing it as it happens. The way we interact with these tiny devices is also amazing to explore. The user interface (UI) and usability issues are evolving at an incredible pace to try and keep up so we can manage more information in less space. Pinching, shaking, and swiping are all commonplace now, but were unheard of just a few years ago.

Sadly I don’t get to play with as many of toys as I used to, but I still follow several of major mobile news blogs and keep my nose in things. So I was intrigued when I received an invitation to a Microsoft event for their new Mobile OS. Microsoft has been playing a long game of catch-up in the mobile space behind Apple and Android, and a few people I mentioned it to didn’t even know Microsoft had a phone out.

Sampling the Mango

Turns out, people have had good things to say about the new Windows Mobile OS, code-named Mango. Wired said it took the Windows phones from “good to great“, and the new “People Hub” looks interesting. From what I can tell from the People Hub videos, Microsoft has really been playing with their UI. I like to tailor screens to my own (odd) way of managing information, so I wonder how flexible it is. The limited ability to change my iPhone’s home screen (unless I jailbreak it) is one of my beefs with my current phone.

Microsoft is still the baby on the smartphone block with less than 4% of the market, but they never give up, so I’m looking forward to seeing what they’re up to and playing the HTC Radar they offered me. Free gadget to play with? Oh noes, don’t twist my arm…

I’m also horribly curious what this product event will look like. I’m an honestly bi-OSual computer geek, with a healthy supply of both Microsoft and Apple systems nearby (and a Linux or two), so I like to think I can be rather unbiased. That’s why I feel comfortable saying of all Microsoft’s strengths, social promotion efforts is not among them. Their incredible Windows 7 Launch Parties were just cringeworthy and inspired some hysterical parodies. This some seems much less contrived, and they’ve given away phones with Windows Mobile on it at events like this before, but I’m still curious to see it for myself. I plan on documenting it thoroughly with my iPhone.

Want to come? It’s free!

If you’re in Phoenix and interested in checking out some of the gadgets and seeing what Microsoft is up to, it’s free to attend. They will have their new phones to show off, and free cocktails and appetizers. I’d love to have someone else there to geek out (and drink) with.

What: Windows Phone Launch Event
Where
: Blue Martini, 5455 E High St, Phoenix, AZ 85054
When: Thursday, Nov 17th, 6pm – 9pm
Register (optional): Windows Phone Inner Circle Event

Any suggestions?

I’ll post my thoughts once I get a chance to play with the phone, but any suggestions on things to look for at the event? Or if you’re a Windows Phone user I’d love to hear what you think about it.

Comments

  1. Thought I’d be better off exposing my inner geek child via the comments here than continuing the thread on Facebook so here I am 🙂

    As I mentioned I have a windows phone and love it. I bought it pre-mango update because my brother (a hard core game, aka, hardcore windows fanboy) bought one and showed it off to me. I, like you, am a bi-OSual and have a history of picking up the under-dog gadgets especially when I think they’re actually a superior product in many ways (RIP Palm and WebOS.)

    I love that you brought up customization because I think that’s the strong suite here. I’ve heard from many apple users the same woe about customization and from some android users, the sentiment that there’s simply too much to customize or change. Win7 hits a sweet spot in the middle. The live tiles (squares that show up in a visual list on the homescreen) allow you to choose what you’d like to see. Many of them update in real time (and you can turn that on or off.) You can pin almost anything to the home screen. You have the traditional things – you can pin the calendar, your inboxes (which can be combined or separate), texts, apps, etc. But you can also pin snippets of information from inside various apps. For example, I have pinned my boyfriend’s contact card to the home screen, as well as my home address from the maps app and my current favorite playlist from the music app. 

    After I’d had my phone for a while my boyfriend decided to buy one as well and simply looking at our homescreens you can tell which one belongs to me vs. him. He has an updating ESPN score app and I have live tiles for Facebook on so I can see when there are new updates. 

    I think the people hub is great – but then I love seeing all the social media mashed up together with the contact info. Which is another strength to me – I love how integrated Facebook is. I see my Facebook albums along with my phone photos right from the pictures screen.

    After mango update I’m an even bigger fan (if possible) – so many intuitive additions. Including group texting and the like.

    You’ll have to play with it yourself but as much as I was an advocate for WebOS I love win7 way better. I think because, for me, it gets out of the way. It makes it really easy for me to do what I need to get done and I like the simple beauty of that.

    Update us with your review once you’ve had a chance to test drive it!

    1. Anonymous says:

      Thanks for the info, Katie! I’m looking forward to playing around with it, but one of my problems with configurability is I have so many weird social properties, and use them in weird ways, that sometimes new things just don’t work with all my established/entrenched way of working.

      It’s like Pinterest I know it’s All The Big Thang right now, but I don’t see what it lets me do that I don’t already have other things set up to do. I’d probably love it if I was newer to the space.

      Either way, I DO love playing with new gadgets!

  2. Evo Terra says:

    Dang. I missed it. But then again, those three hours show up just about every day. Aren’t you going to get bored being there each and every day?

    1. Anonymous says:

      Thanks, Captain Helpful! I appreciate your assistance and have added the date. Nice squooshy avatar, by the way.

  3. Kristi says:

    I’m planning on being there! I am an avid Droid X user but am a Windows lover and am curious about their phone and their tablet (hope they will have them there too). See you tonight!

    1. Anonymous says:

      Make sure you say Hello!