If you build it, they will come!

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I have always been impressed by  Daring fireball’s John Gruber. He is a big time Apple enthusiast but, I have always liked the way he makes reasoned arguments in favor of his preferences. He knows his stuff! So, it was interesting to see this article reporting that he was impressed after trying out a WP7 device and would choose it over an Android phone. This happened during a podcast, “The talkshow” with Dan Benjamin.  Here are some salient points from the Yahoo finance article by Dan Frommer

  • Gruber got to play with a Windows prototype phone for 5 minutes at a cocktail party after the Web 2.0 conference in New York last week.
  • His first impressions were "very, very favorable."
  • It was "really nice" and Gruber was "really impressed."
  • The software-based keyboard is "fantastic." This was a big problem with the Google/HTC Nexus One when Gruber tested that earlier this year.
  • There is very little latency for touch input and scrolling — "iPhone caliber" versus the "jaggy" Nexus One.
  • "Browser seems good."
  • Gruber doesn’t know how Windows Phone 7 will play out in the market, but it’s a "real, credible competitor" in the space, "in terms of polish and quality, it’s absolutely very, very impressive." (There are potential issues with the business model.)
  • The platform feels more thoughtful than Android. The whole thing feels like it was designed by the same team, versus Android, which feels like it was made by a bunch of different people.
  • And the lack of hardware "menu" button is a good thing — the user interface is much more of an iPhone caliber than Android.
  • If he had to pick between spending a month with an Android phone or a Windows 7 phone, just based on 5 minutes of use, he would rather have the Windows phone.

Click on the this link to download the podcast. The discussion about WP7 starts at around minute 54:30. One thing I disagree with Mr. Gruber and many others is the notion Microsoft is at a disadvantage for charging to license the OS while Google gives away  Android for free. WP7 provides a complete suite of software, services, drivers and a desktop media companion via the Zune client while Android does not. The OEMs only have to worry about the hardware so the money saved on R&D for additional software, licensing and drivers makes up for more than the licensing cost from Microsoft which is reported to be no more than $30 per device. Oh, that and the protection from lawsuits by patent holders like big bad Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and the like!

The guys at Microsoft WP7 division have built something great. It is now up to their marketing department to do the product justice and make the consumers aware of it.

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