Connecting people and ideas through improvisation

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
: 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.