Windows Phone 7 (wp7) debuted and its been four months since the OS has matured in the mobile market. With four key OEMs (Samsung, LG, Dell and HTC) all creating some devices, now we have a new partner – a huge one too. I know I’m just preaching to the choir when I make that statement, but the reason why I think it is huge is not the reason why I think everyone else will think it is huge. And in part, the thought came from the heels of what Peter Chou said regarding Nokia and Windows Phone connection:
They’re doing what they have to do. It won’t be easy, but they’re doing what they have to do. We are very committed to Windows Mobile, and we are one of their lead partners for Windows Phone 7. So we are positive, because this combination will surely make that ecosystem stronger. As a strong player [in this ecosystem], HTC will be a beneficiary from [their decision]
Of course you can gleam the rest of Peter Chou’s statement except the bolded which is extremely important to me. Make the ecosystem stronger? Let’s consider the state of the ecosystem now before that point is tackled.
Four OEMs, nine plus devices released worldwide right? Well let’s take a look at them because while they’re each running wp7 as their primary os, the colors are undoubtedly different. First, HTC, who seems to innovate. Currently, users are given the options of the HTC HD7, the HTC Surround, the HTC Trophy, the HTC Mozart and the HTC 7 Pro. Each device has a different niche to which we all know and love. Next, Samsung and their release of a few devices with the Samsung Focus and the Samsung Omnia 7; packing in their brand name Super Amoled display. LG brings to the table a QWERTY keyboard wp7 device with the LG Quantum and a candybar with the LG Optimus 7.
Before I get to Dell (and the Venue Pro), I have to pause a moment because I listed a fair number of devices. Yes, each device brings something unique to the wp7 niche, but by in large, the devices suck. Say it with me. S-U-C-K. No it’s not much of the hardware that makes it suck. Heck the snapdragon processor, for all its faults has done extremely well in comparison to the current crop of android devices or even the iphone 4. Nor is it the OS that makes it suck, because wp7 does a lot more than advertised and it is a refreshing experience. So what makes these phones suck? Two reasons – the hotdog syndrome and the design aesthetic.
Let me begin with the hotdog syndrome. I coined the term in conversation in reference to the HTC mytouch 3g slide. What it means is that a company will use other parts of a device to make a new phone and sell it for market value. I’ve seen it done so much before. The HTC touch pro and the HTC touch pro 2, heck anything mytouch imho. But to see it on some WP7 devices? Inexcusable! And again most notably it is HTC that uses the hotdog syndrome to the fullest extent and in a lesser extent Samsung and LG. It’s mind boggling that HTC releases devices that are essentially pasted together from maybe a desire or a touch hd2 (for instance) and sell it. So when me, as a consumer, wants to purchase a device on Tmobile, I am left with a hotdog or something else. Samsung in a lesser extent has done this, but at the very least, they beef up their devices in other ways as does LG. HTC, one of the premier phone markets worldwide gives us a hotdog. Is there any reason why I considered jumping ship from HTC because I am paying so much for essentially a proper screen lifted from the cold dead hands of probably some android device to make the HTC HD 7 for instance? Nope.
So that brings us to the late party guest that is Dell and their Dell Venue Pro. Save from the flaws attributed to the microsd card (to which I didn’t know) and their fumbled start, the Dell Venue Pro is a strong device. It’s strong because it actually seems like an upgrade from an HD2. It gives a slide up qwerty keyboard that is incredibly tactile and useful in wp7’s portait OS, a 4.1 in. amoled display, and a fantastic speaker and microphone. I have to be honest. I hate Dell, both as a company and as a consumer solution to technology needs. But when they nail something, Dell does it well. For any HTC users, or even Samsung or LG users, Dell seemed to place the incremental changes that makes the device sound interesting if you never knew what it looked like. It isn’t something that is hotdogged – heck Dell’s prior experiences with mobile phones over the 2010 year have been regretable at best. On paper, the Dell Venue Pro have specs that easily make it avoid the hotdog syndrome.
But above that, the Dell Venue Pro is a fantastic looking device that commands attention. That brings us to the next point of aesthetics. Being blunt, the aesthetics for most devices that are wp7 sucks. What were the designers thinking? Most of the device aesthetics are dark and dreary, but they lack a professional ambience and consumer eye candy. When people first saw the iphone, the first thought was what is that unique looking device? I’d be interested in getting one. At the time it was new, but it commanded a presence from the aesthetic and marketing appeal. No wp7 device has that except for the Dell Venue Pro (seriously it is a fantastic topic starter due to size and business-like appearance).
From my point of view, that is current landscape of wp7 devices. Either devices are hotdogs or the devices are just visually unappealing. What does Nokia bring to the wp7 table? I didn’t think much initially until Saturday morning. I saw it – the same concept render that has been posted on the net for everyone to see. Boy, did those devices just ooze with tech sexy? I mean different color backings and a very narrow border made all of the difference. Heck I don’t even know the device specs for the Nokia wp7 devices, but so far, I am already interested because the devices look good. The devices also brings together a slew of hardware that forces us to realize Nokia is not going to hotdog in the major smartphone race. In fact quite the opposite. Imagine a 12 mp camera on a windows phone 7 device? Talk about a combo breaker of uniform hardware! Just thinking about it makes me feel joy I haven’t felt for a device since the HTC HD2!
Actually it’s funny I mention HTC after the comments I’ve given, but HTC (all OEMs) are far too relevant for this article. In fact, if it wasn’t for Peter Chou, it wouldn’t have hit me that as consumers and aficionados of all that is windows phone, we owe a lot to this partnership. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you Nokia. Thank you so much for coming up with a mockup that looks better than most of the current wp7 devices. Thank you for bringing your hardware to the beauty of windows phone. Thank you ultimately for kicking the pants of all OEMs in a mere week!
OEMs, take a page out of Nokia’s book. Nokia is here to stay and giving the consumer options is what makes them a great partner. Great move Microsoft and Nokia. I expect a lot of good from this partnership!