Yesterday we posted an article on why the iPhone is so wonderful, or Part 1 of the whole iPhone versus WinMo debate. Today I’ve got a guest blogger, David K from over at Mobility Digest and he has written up Part 2, so read on to learn why Windows Mobile devices are the best and are here to stay…
And I’m a PC
The sheer power and beauty of Windows Mobile has been tarnished recently. Not by any flaw in the machinery, but rather in the marketing myths created by glossy commercials. It’s time to debunk those myths and remind everyone why Windows Mobile is the past, present and future of mobility. Well, I was also getting suffocated by iPhone fanboy smug and I needed to get some air by bringing some facts to the table;)
First off, let’s get past the numbers game. Windows Mobile has been out for years and overall has outsold the iPhone. Of course there’s been a recent explosion in sales of the iPhone due largely in part to millions of dollars in ads but the sales of a product are hardly the ultimate test or else we’d be declaring the Razr the best phone of all time. Not to take anything away from the Razr but it was a great form factor and little more…much like the iPhone.
So let’s talk form factor. The iPhone is a sleek looking device. For you WinMo fans, it looks like the Touch HD sharing almost identical dimensions. Of course, where the HD has those buttons on the bottom, the iPhone just has blank space that goes unused for some reason and the screen is smaller and a lower resolution than the Touch HD. Of course, the Toshiba G series will have an even larger screen than the HD with the same resolution as the HD thus really mocking the iPhone. But we don’t need to speak about identical form factors. With Windows you can get candybar style with or without a physical keyboard, sliding keyboards in all directions…pretty much whatever you want. And keyboards are a question of personal preference and for some people it’s a gift. Fortunately for WM we have phones released in two flavors at a time, like the Touch Pro and the Diamond (or Touch Pro 2 and Diamond 2) which are essentially identical except for the keyboard. I know Steve doesn’t like a keyboard but Doug loves them.
And I know you iPhone guys love having one button…just because it’s sleek I guess. Without that button you’d have no safety net, but fortunately it serves to both reset your iPhone when it fails or correct a non-functioning iPhone so thank goodness you have that button. I have a neat idea – instead of having just a home and power button use that empty area for something…anything. Imagine that if you were in email and wanted to make a phone call you didn’t have to go home and then go to the phone and instead you just pressed one button. On the Fuze and Diamond that area is a capacitive screen and can be used to scroll or launch apps leading to even more ease of use and speed in accessing what’s important to the end user. We all know why there aren’t more buttons – it would confuse iPhone users. It’s ok to admit it?
Much has been made of the ‘beautiful’ screen on the iPhone but the facts are straightforward on this point. The entire current line of HTC phones (and Toshiba and Acer) all have at least 480×640 with most opting for 480×800 compared to the iPhone’s 480×320. And of course the Touch HD, Touch Pro 2 and Toshiba line all have larger screen sizes than the iPhone, but who’s counting? Oh right, we are. So too bad iPhone fans! If you want to imagine what it looks like look at your iPhone and instead of pixels you just see sharp lines. I’m sure when you make it to WVGA it will be to much fanfare, like when the iPhone got 3G and I would have sworn they had introduced 3G that day (except I was on my Tilt at the time using 3G and I had already retired my 8525 that was also 3G).
I know the iPhone and multi-touch go hand in hand, but there’s a reason why capacitive screens are in use. Like, did I mention that I can use my finger with a glove on and use my screen? It’s a neat trick in winter. I can even type with my nails for precision (and for women who have long nails). How about the fact that I can use a stylus and write words on the screen (you know, like it’s paper) and my WM device will turn those words into text for me on the fly. If the iPhone could do that same feat it would be considered revolutionary. For WinMo it’s been around for years though.
But let’s discuss hardware a little bit more. Of course, we have an accelerometer as well, but of course with Windows we can customize it so that means any app we want we can force rotation and we even have this crazy keyboard that works in landscape mode. And by year’s end we’ll have at least two phones with 1 ghz processors in them so let’s not get into a speed competition here.
While the iPhone is only available on AT&T with WM you can unlock your phone and move between carriers. It’s mindboggling to iPhone users but I could use my phone on any GSM network if I wanted to. The iPhone is shiny though… And we’ve got your fancy 802.11g, don’t worry about that. And somehow WM figured out how to conquer MMS (you know, sending photos and sound) which the iPhone lacks for some reason.
And if you want to make the best audio and visual experience it helps to have the hardware and software to back it up. Of course watching movies or tv recorded on your PC are an ease and you can even set your computer to sync recorded tv or other videos with your phone at set times so when you leave the house you can have the morning news waiting for you. And did I mention that we can listen to music over Bluetooth stereo headsets? I know Apple is working on that but Windows Mobile is apparently living in the future. Man I love my Motorola S9 headset.
And you know what else I love? After I use my camera to take VIDEO I can share it with other people. Of course, I can email it, stream it in real time, use video share but I like to sometimes use my Fuze’s tv-out and put it on a full screen. And by the end of this calendar year we’ll have HDMI out with full HD abilities. I know the iPhone can’t do it, but trust me, it’s really happening. The iPhone 3G’s 2 megapixel camera is really behind the market here. My Fuze is 3 megapixels and the Touch HD and Diamond 2 are 5 megapixel cameras.
Let’s talk about the simplicity that is the iPhone’s interface. I remember my old Treo 600 with a user interface that was nothing more than an application launcher. I was so happy when Apple brought that back from the grave? With the iPhone it’s one interface for everyone. Meanwhile, Windows Mobile has a user interface for everyone. I mean that. We have plenty of interfaces that are just app launchers and even iPhone clones. We have Touch Flo3D in multiple versions, SPB Shell, PointUI, Mobility Flow, Windows standard home screen, MyHome, Winterface, YRGO…ok even I’m bored of going through this list (which isn’t complete) but it’s pretty simple: if you want Steve’s preferences you know what they look like. If you want your user interface Windows Mobile has it for you. And few things are as important as the main user interface of a phone so it’s good to have the option to just have an application launcher or to have a sophisticated multi-tab user interface but what I like most is that it’s my choice as to what I want.
And much has been made about the iPhone’s applications. I don’t need to go through the myth again but there are more WM apps in existence than iPhone apps and that’s a simple fact. And most of the apps that are ‘only on the iPhone’ are either entirely false (with the same exact app available on Windows Mobile like Shazam’s MusicID) or misleading (since we have at least one app that does the same function except has a different name). So many of the touted apps like GMaps and Facebook apps already exist for WinMo. In fact we typically have multiple apps that perform similar functions and they compete to be the best which in the end leads to the consumer getting the best product. All of this with the ability to get any app available under the sun without Steve’s blessing and he doesn’t have the right to revoke apps. It’s a free market and we like it that way.
What may come as even more of a surprise is that WinMo not only has more applications but we can run them simultaneously. Yes, every modern mobile operating system can multitask…except the iPhone of course. The iPhone is so revolutionary that multiple apps drain the battery excessively so it’s one app at a time guys. I mean really? Really? Windows Mobile can not only multitask, but you can toggle between running apps just like a computer so you don’t need to close the app, go home, launch a new app and keep that cycle going.
iPhone fanboys are convinced they have the latest software and tout Calendar, Contacts, Weather, Email Client, Calculator, Web Browser, Photo Viewer, Camera, Stocks, You Tube Browser, GPS and Google Maps. That’s pretty easy to match because we literally have all of those and almost all of them are preloaded on our phones. Except of course, our GPS is unlocked so we can use it with TomTom, iGo, Amaze, GMaps, Live Search…well you get the point. And yup, we have geotagging, FaceBook, Twitter. I know the commercial says ‘only for the iPhone’ but it turns out WM has it as well.
And that browser you guys have that is the ‘real internet’ let me just state 1) we have Iris which is the same engine (WebKit) so we see pages exactly the same way you do (except of course our screen resolution is substantially increased so even on a smaller screen we can see more thanks to VGA and WVGA) and 2) we have SkyFire which shows things like Flash 10 that the iPhone can’t show…you know, like the REAL web page. Streaming flash and video of any kind is not a problem and ActiveX plugins actually work. I guess I should mention that SkyFire loads webpages multiples faster than Safari but let’s not let facts get in the way of a sexy device.
I’m sure we all remember when the iPhone finally got the ability to push email. The only thing is that fancy push email and Exchange sync you have is Microsoft’s ActiveSync because Apple couldn’t get push to work. Apple licensed it from Microsoft! So yeah, we’ve had that for years so the best phone of all time is licensing from MS one of the most basic phone functions of an email capable phone. Thanks for sharing but you can’t be better than us when you’re borrowing from us. Of course, while we’re talking about a business phone it really is important to be able to cut and paste to be able to effectively use your phone for business. So if I get an email from one person I can cut texts from it and move it into a Word document or another email. And of course, Microsoft Office (Outlook, Power Point, Excel, One Note and Word) are all standard for WinMo as is Adobe Viewer. We can use VPN and utilize remote desktop as well so having a Windows Mobile device provides instant access to all of your work files. Another standard app is World Card Mobile Business Card reader that takes a photo of a business card and ‘reads’ the text and inputs that right into your contacts. In terms of a business phone it’s really not the best place for the iPhone to try to claim a victory.
So you guys try to claim that you can make a locked phone ‘your’ phone with jailbreaking. Jailbreaking leads to Apple re-locking and then a race to re-jailbreak. These are all patches to try to customize your phone while Apple tries to lock your phone. It’s pretty funny that some WM users are using a version of the WM operating system that’s not even on the market yet, apps ported from different phones, emulators (GameBoy, NES, Genesis, they’re all here)…well pretty much nothing is off the table and it’s doesn’t involve ‘jailbreaking’– it just involves installing an app or a ROM and none of that is something WM will retroactively lock on us and HTC seems to like it in fact. Unlike the iPhone, with Windows it’s my phone and I can do with it what I like and WM isn’t arguing over that.
And don’t think for a second I’ll let the fanboys tell you about how good of an mp3 player the iPhone is. I already mentioned Bluetooth stereo headsets, but this is something WinMo has had for years. The ability to use a Bluetooth stereo headset seems so fundamental to a portable mp3 player it’s hard to imagine not having it. But that’s not the only advantage WinMo has. Windows Mobile has removable storage so there’s no limit to how much music we can carry. Of course, we can always stream music from our computers to our phones (using freeware like Didiom or Orb) so any music I have on my PC I have access to on the go. Oh and I have this crazy FM radio tuner so I can listen to local FM music without killing my battery listening to internet radio (and yes, we have the same apps for internet radio too, calm down).We get this without being locked to iTunes music and of course we get video on larger and higher resolution screens which as I mentioned can be expanded exponentially by using the tv-out capabilities. Also, if I want to listen to a song by Doug Smith I can simply say ‘play artist Doug Smith’ (you know, like those Ford Sync commercials) and it will play songs from that artist, a particular track, fast forward to another track, announce the name of the song…well you get the picture. We can control our music with our voice and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. I know it’s a tangent, but incoming text messages can be set to be read out loud and all of the phone’s functions can work that way as well so if I want to call someone all I need to say is “call Doug Smith” and the dialing begins. And this is all thanks to standard software that is on every Windows Mobile device and has been for years. I’m sure the iPhone evolution will eventually claim it as their own but it’s fun to have it now
There’s one thing I won’t argue with…simplicity – the iPhone certainly appeals to the simplistic (ok, that was a cheap shot?). It’s pretty easy – if you don’t want 1ghz processors, unlimited storage, tv-out, WVGA resolution, FM radio, unlimited apps, full customization, a real business solution, video recording, a flash to go along with my camera, a phone design of my choice with more than one button, a removable battery, use of non-proprietary connections (so I can use miniUSB from a BlackBerry, for example) then go for an iPhone. If you want to have those same features in 2 years with a bunch of really glossy commercials so you think you’re the first on the block to get them then get the iClone.
The most powerful devices on the market with the latest hardware and software belong to Windows and it’s available without any smug. With everything WM has over the iPhone I feel like I’m living in the future!