Posts Tagged 'iPhone'

My Mobile Phone Experiment, Part Four – Thoughts on Windows Phone Mango

After recently saying goodbye to my HTC HD2 Windows Mobile 6.5 device, a few months ago I started an experiment. Grabbing a SIM Only Deal from mobile carrier, Three – I would, in turn, use an iPhone, a Windows Phone device and an Android device for a few weeks at a time each, using them in anger as my sole device for day-to-day activities, both business and leisure.

You can read about my original motivations for this experiment here.

You can read part one of this experiment – my thoughts on the iPhone here.

You can read part two of this experiment – my thoughts on the Windows Phone here.

You can read part three of this experiment – my thoughts on Android here.

The overwhelming theme coming out of my review of Windows Phone was “It’s all about Mango”. Every irritation, bug and missing feature I mentioned seemed to be fixed by the upcoming Mango update that was released in September.

HTC Pro 7 HandsetSo in an attempt to give Windows Phone a fair shake of the stick, at the end of September I once again borrowed from my friend Steve Silk at Staffordshire University the HTC Pro 7 phone, and duly updated it to Mango – or Windows Phone 7.5

Firstly, the update process itself was fairly easy – once I’d impatiently “forced” the update through the Zune software using these instructions.

The update itself took around 90 minutes, with little or no intervention required on my part.

Once the update was completed, I jumped straight in and was… well… fairly underwhelmed. The Windows Phone interface is mostly unchanged, which is no bad thing as I like the tile-focused home-screen.

The Live Tiles feature (wherein icons on the home-screen can display live information about people or apps) is now supported by more 3rd party apps, but in reality I didn’t find myself staring at the home-screen to catch live tile updates very often. Still, Live Tiles remains a nice feature and the interface is very clean and easy to navigate.

One change I wasn’t fond of was that the Phone Search button is now dedicated to the Bing web-search engine. This may be irritating for anyone like me who prefers context sensitive searching within apps, as it was in Windows Phone 7, but I guess it’s a matter of preference.

The biggest change in Mango for me was the addition of Multi-tasking. Windows Phone didn’t really allow you to switch between apps. You were often left loading apps up from scratch after you’d gone to read an SMS or make a call. Now, you can multitask. Sort of…

In reality you can only multi-task up to 6 apps at any one time. It’s better than no multi-tasking at all, and I hear the arguments over resource use affecting usability – but still frustrating in use as I almost always have e-mail, SMS, Web Browser, Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare open. Use one other app, and one of those previously opened windows closes meaning you have to re-load it next time you want to use it. The fact that most Windows Phone seems underpowered compared to their Android and Apple competitors would give some idea of why this feature is the way it is.

The back button (which allows you to scroll through previously used windows) remains a neat feature. I found myself wishing that feature could be ported to iOS when using my iPod Touch.

Music wise, Mango is easy to use as a media player with the lock-screen offering the ability to pause, stop and skip tracks. I also like the Zune software’s interface on the PC, and maybe even prefer it to the woeful iTunes.

What I didn’t like was the lack of PC-like file system – anything you want to get to and from handset needs to be via the Zune software, or rely on 3rd party plug-in’s. I know it’s only a minor irritation, but I like being able to drop files onto the SD-Card directly – a feature Mango doesn’t allow.

One less than minor irritation is the Internet Explorer 9 web-browser. Whilst it boasts some great features including full HTML 5, it just doesn’t sit well with me and I found myself getting really irritated with how slow it was to display web-pages – especially moving back to a previously loaded page. As far as I can tell there are little or no 3rd Party Web Browser options on Windows Phone, and so if you don’t like IE (as I don’t) then you’ll flat out of alternatives. I found myself really missing the slick and smooth Dolphin Browser on Android. I’m sure there is all sorts of statistics to show how IE is a faster browser, but I found it clunky and slow.

In-Car support is excellent. My in-car Bluetooth hands-free kit  connected first time and allowed features such as Contact sync and then subsequently connected each time without any intervention on my part. Leaving Bluetooth switched on in this way doesn’t seem to drain the battery life – very cool! But the coolest feature for me was the in-car SMS Voice options. When an incoming SMS is received, Mango tells you who the message is from and asks you if you want to listen to the message in-car. It does a fine job of reading messages out, even down to “Sad Smiley”, “Happy Smiley” or “Kiss, Kiss” and gives you the option to reply. Sadly, Mango voice recognition isn’t too hot at recognising spoken words – and even the simplest of responses needed to be “dumbed down” to work. For instance, saying “Thanks Mom, see you soon.” had to be changed after four failed attempts to “Thank-you Mother. Goodbye”. Not quite as warm a response…

Bing Maps is included as an app, and is a decent tool to help direct you to locations. It’s no replacement for a dedicated Sat-Nav though, with no automatic re-calculation of route if you make a wrong turn, and a tiny on-screen display with not even the most basic spoken turn-by-turn information. Again though, it’s better than nothing – and it more or less helped me to most of my destinations during the course of this experiment.

Overall, the in-car versatility of Mango is something I’d rank highly.

Talking of Battery life, it remains good in the Mango update. I could get around a day and half’s average usage without requiring a charge. Irritatingly though, when plugged in to charge the ‘phone turned itself on. Whether this is a HTC fault or a Mango fault or indeed a “feature”, I don’t know. The “Battery Saver” feature remains cool – turning off Push E-Mail and other non-essential features when the battery runs low.

On the integration front, Twitter is now integrated into Mango. It’s an overdue feature, but one that compliments Mango’s already excellent Social Networking features. You can look at a contacts profile, swipe to the right and see a list of recent SMS, swipe again to see their latest e-mails, Tweets, Facebook updates, Photos and so on. Very cool.

No Google+ support whatsoever. Not entirely unexpected, but as a Google+ user myself I missed this integration.

The Facebook integration is good, especially for the camera. It enables you to give a title to photographs and tag people before uploading the snap. Disappointingly though, there’s no notification of the success/failure of a Facebook photo uploads. I found that some FB photo uploads failed (presumably due to a bad carrier signal) but I didn’t have the option to re-try them, and so had to re-create the uploads from scratch. It’s small features lacking like this that can build into bigger frustrations.

The Facebook app under Mango is not so good though. Like IE9, I found it slow and clumsy, and so reverted to using the Mobile Web-Interface instead.

Within Mango you can create groups of contacts – such as business, friends, family, etc. This is a neat future that I found using a lot to quickly find and catch-up with different types of contact.

I’ve still yet to “get” Xbox Live integration where you can supposedly connect and play games with XBox 360 friends. I’ve yet to find anyone else who uses it either.

E-Mail connectivity still lacks Exchange Tasks and Notes support. As even iOS 5 added this recently, it’s flabbergasting that Microsoft don’t support their own e-mail server software as well as their competitors now has Exchange Task support built in, but included in the Calendar rather than as a separate app (Thanks to both John Clark and Andy Parkes for helping me find this feature!)

You now have the ability to combine mailboxes into a single view, and the Calendar pulls in information from Facebook as well as Exchange. This is useful.

As I’m a Google Mail user, I found the GMail support underwhelming. The e-mail interface as a whole is nice and clean, but GMail features such as Archiving are missing. I understand why this is – why would Google create a feature rich app for their Windows rival – but you get a better GMail experience under iOS, so Windows Phone is lacking here. Please don’t ask me to migrate to Hotmail as a suggested alternative either…

In conclusion – Mango is the ‘phone O/S that Microsoft should have released initially. It shores up a lot of features missing from Windows Phone 7, and adds some very cool other features too. I loved the Social Networking integration, and the SMS Voice features as part of a strong In-Car setup were very cool.

I could easily live with Mango as my main ‘phone, but… I wouldn’t choose to do so knowing that both Android and iOS5 are available on the market too.

That’s really disappointing for me, as I really like Windows Phone and I secretly hoped Mango would sway me to choose WP7 as my main platform.

But, despite the nice interface, both Android and iOS have much better 3rd Party App support, much more powerful handsets available, and Android especially is much, much more configurable.

Where I see Mango making a splash is at the slightly lower consumer end of the market. Mango does a *lot* in handsets that, on paper at least, are not as powerful as their Android or Apple competitors that are also more expensive to buy. For most people who aren’t real power users, Mango will be a great option – although statistics show that only one in fifty mobile devices currently sold are Windows Phone.

But, Windows Phone includes every feature that your average Social Networking/E-Mail reading/Web Browsing/casual Photographing user might want.

However, if you’re a power user on any level – then my conclusion is that the latest upmarket Android handset or iPhone are probably the better choices for now.


Richard Tubb is an IT Business Consultant who works with ambitious IT companies who want to grow their businesses in a scalable and sustainable way. He is also a Microsoft UK Small Business Specialist Partner Area Lead (PAL) and the elected chair of the CompTIA UK Channel Community. You can e-mail him or connect with him via Twitter and LinkedIn.


My Mobile Phone Experiment, Part Three – Thoughts on Android

After reluctantantly saying goodbye to my HTC HD2 Windows Mobile 6.5 device earlier this year, I started an experiment. Grabbing a SIM Only Deal from mobile carrier, Three – I would, in turn, use an iPhone, a Windows Phone device and an Android device for a few weeks at a time each, using them in anger as my sole device for day-to-day activities, both business and leisure.

You can read about my original motivations for this experiment here.

You can read part one of this experiment – my thoughts on the iPhone here.

You can read part two of this experiment – my thoughts on the Windows Phone here.

HTC SensationAt the start of September, my friend Steve Silk at Staffordshire University provided me with a HTC Sensation running Android 2.3.

So how did I find it? Read on!

Firstly, this experiment isn’t about the handsets themselves – it’s more about understanding the capabilities of the various Mobile Operating Systems out there. That said, the HTC Sensation looks beautiful – with a large bright 4.3” screen, very thin design but comfortable enough in the hand – plus a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, making it really fast in use, and an impressive 8 Mega-Pixel Camera.

I initially felt uncomfortable using the catch to take the back of the case off to insert the SIM card, as the case does feel plasticky and flimsy, but got used to it over time. The Micro-USB charging slot is on the left hand side, which feels awkward too – and the power button on the top of the device doesn’t feel comfortable initially as it’s too thin, but again, you get used to it. You’ll hear that phrase “I got used to it” a lot…

The Sensation boots up quickly… sometimes. I’ve gone from pressing the power button to entering my SIM PIN and being at the home screen in as little as 5 seconds on most occasions, yet on others it inexplicably takes 30 seconds or more from the SIM PIN to arriving at the home screen. It’s still faster than most other Smartphones I’ve tried though.

Through the setup stage, and no surprise here, you’ll need a Google account. Everything revolves around a Google account, so if you’re going Android, get used to using Google.

imageOn the home-screen, HTC have placed their HTC Sense interface on top of the usual Android UI. As a fan of HTC Sense, I quickly got to grips with this and was swiping left and right between the numerous home pages you’re offered to install Widgets and App shortcuts.

Talking of Widgets, which are small “always active” apps on the Android screen, HTC bundle a load of them out of the box – from Calendars to Agendas to something HTC call “Friend Stream”, a Twitter-like display of all your friends Twitter and Facebook updates. I found myself using it a lot. There are also a ton of widgets you can download for free. The home-screen may not look too impressive at first glance, but you can customise it to your own specifications very quickly.

Android gives the ability to create folders on a home-screen to contain Apps, but it’s far from intuitive to do this. I had to ask a fellow Android user to show me how. Once you’ve got it, it’s simple. Likewise adding App shortcuts and moving them between folders is simple, but clunky. This was the start of a number of indications that Apple’s iOS is simply easier to jump right in and get working with when compared to Android, but that Android is more customisable. Another running theme in my findings.

Google+ ScreenshotGetting back to Social Media, and I was blown away by how well Android and HTC Sense integrates with not just Twitter and Facebook, but LinkedIn, Google+ as well as Exchange, GoogleMail, Flickr, Foursquare and seemingly anything else you wanted to use. Once you’ve setup an account for each of these platforms, the HTC Sensation pulls all the updates and any other information from them and presents it in a unified fashion within your contacts screen. It *can* get messy, the Sensation occasionally got confused with duplicate GoogleMail and Exchange information – but on the whole it’s fairly amazing to be able to see all your friends latest Facebook updates, their Mobile numbers (whether pulled from Exchange or Facebook), Flickr pictures, Twitter updates and everything else in one location. Of course, you can use the individual apps for Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc. as normal – but if you’re a heavy Social Media user, then you’ll love Android.

Android is hot on notifications. It’ll automatically notify you of new e-mails, voicemails, SMS, Facebook messages, Google+ updates, software upgrades, patches and… just about anything it can. All of these are present in a non-obtrusive way in the notification bar at the top of the home screen, which you slide your finger down to open and view. Initially, all these notifications can become a distraction – constantly sat winking at you from the top of the screen. Over time I learned to quieten the Sensation though – turning off notifications and learning to resist the temptation to act upon others. Android is *very* customisable from this perspective. Out of the box it can blow your mind with all the info it presents, but as you become comfortable you can tailor it to your own liking.

As you’d expect, GoogleMail is supported very well under Android. It’s very easy to setup and you can easily archive messages, read HTML messages, and do just about everything you’d do in GoogleMail.

Microsoft Exchange support was just as easy to setup, and reading and responding to e-mails was a pleasure within the Android GUI. Frustratingly though, Android (like iOS and WP7) doesn’t support Exchange Tasks and Notes. Again I’ve got to ask, if Windows Mobile 6.5 supported these features years ago, why don’t modern SmartPhones? Bizarre. There is a 3rd Party app called Touchdown which brings Tasks and Note support into Android, but it feels a standalone app rather than integrated into the Android experience, and so I couldn’t find myself comfortable using it. Google – as well as Apple and Microsoft – please support Exchange Tasks and Notes in your Smartphones!

The SMS client was very easy to use, with threaded messages and the ability to forward SMS to other contacts. I did notice that Android grouped together conversations though, so if you sent a group SMS – then your inbox would show that conversation separately, but not under individuals SMS threads. I’m guessing this can be changed, and I can see why this would be of benefit to some people, but I occasionally found it confusing.

Wi-Fi is a breeze to setup. You’re instantly notified (see the pattern here?) when an Open Signal is available, and it’s a few clicks to setup your favourite Wi-Fi connections. Once you’ve set a number of Wi-Fi connections up, Android automatically and seamlessly connects to them as you move around. However… this hammers the battery something rotten. I found that using the HTC Sensation as a web browsing device killed the battery life, and it wasn’t unusual for me to require a charge after 90 minutes or so solid use. Not good.

Green Power Battery SaverAs with all the shortcomings in Android though, there are workarounds. I installed an app called Green Power Free that turns off Wi-Fi when the device isn’t in use. It helped, but the battery life on the Sensation is still really poor – I couldn’t get a full days use of it without some charging in between.

Getting back to Apps though, and this is where Android excels. The Android Market isn’t quite as nice an experience as Apple’s AppStore, but it is packed full of apps – some good, some shockingly bad. Whereas Apple vet all apps that appear in their appstore, Google don’t place the same restrictions on. This becomes self-regulating though as you find yourself using apps based on Word of Mouth recommendations or the ratings other users have given the app in the Market.

I couldn’t find a single App that I used on iOS missing from the Android Market. What’s more, I found a few Apps that I would have loved to have used on IOS but couldn’t find, available on Android. Overall, I think I prefer Android’s Open policy to Apple’s vetted apps policy as it allows more variety.

You might think that all these 3rd party apps (especially the poor ones) affect stability. Well, during a months use the Sensation crashed and rebooted just one time. Throughout the rest of the time I noticed one or two inexplicable slow-down’s, occasionally, but overall the platform was really robust.

Moving between Android Apps is fairly easy – pressing and holding the Home Button on the HTC Sensation brings up recent apps for you to browse through, and pressing the back button sometimes takes you back to your previous app. I say sometimes, because other times it didn’t seem to work and I had to manually go and find the app to re-visit it. With full multi-tasking support for all apps though, this wasn’t a problem as every app was presented in exactly the same state you left it.

Web Browsing is a great experience (battery life problems, as we’ve discussed, apart). I installed the free Dolphin Browser HD to replace the built in web-browser, and didn’t look back. It’s a pleasure to use, with the ability to pinch and zoom in on screens with text being wrapped automatically, and share content with any of the Social Media sites integrated into Android.

Android supports Adobe Flash, and there are great apps for both YouTube and BBC iPlayer. If the HTC Sensation had a more resilient battery, you could easily use this as your one and only media device.

The HTC Sensation has a physical Search button, and was context sensitive. Press it from the home screen and you’re presented with a Google Web Search box. Press it within Facebook, and you’re presented with a Facebook friend search. Very neat.

There is no physical camera button though, which is irritating if you’re a Social snapper like myself. The camera app is pretty amazing though, taking good quality shots and offering you the ability to easily tidy them up with crops and auto-enhancements, before sending them directly to Facebook, Flickr, Twitter or any other 3rd Party app you’ve installed. It doesn’t just blindly send the picture either – the Facebook app allows you to tag people, the Twitter app allows you to add Hashtags – just a really good experience.

Google+ Android App ScreenshotOne feature that did have me going “Wow” was the Google+ app feature that automatically captures and uploads any photos you take on the camera to a private location on the web, and then easily allowing you to share those pictures on Google+. A great way to both backup your snaps and share them.

Again, if you’re a Social Media person, you’ll love Android.

You don’t really need a PC to use this ‘phone, as it sets up out of the box and it’s easy to install apps and run Android updates over the air. However, if you do connect it to a PC then you can browse the device as a drive, or install software to use the PC’s Internet connection from your ‘phone – a useful feature I used whilst avoiding Roaming Data charges in Europe during the test.

Doggcatcher ScreenshotI didn’t play a lot of games on the Android, but there are tons to choose from. Likewise, I only used the Android to listen to Podcasts (using the great Doggcatcher app) and the occasional tune via the integrated FM Radio rather than lots of music, but it was intuitive to use, and I felt comfortable leaving behind my iPod Touch in favour of an all-in-one device like the Sensation.

By this stage you’re probably getting the impression I liked Android. You’d be right. It isn’t as intuitive as iOS, nor does it have the clean style of Windows Phone, and for that reason I didn’t pick up the ‘phone and become instantly “Wowed”. But for every irritation I came across, I found that Android’s customisation ability allowed me to overcome that irritation. What’s more, time and time again I came across instances where I thought “It’d be nice to be able to do this…” and investigation showed that Android allowed me to do that.

You’ll gather I think that Android’s Social Media integration is incredible. I thought iOS was good in this area, but it can’t hold a candle to Android – which offers an amazing choice of options to remain connected and share content.

It’s been a month since I began using Android, and a strange feeling has come over me. Unlike Apple iPhone users, or even Windows Phone users, I don’t feel voraciously defensive about Android. If I’m asked how Android is, I won’t staunchly defend the Android platform against the sticks and stones of others. I just smile and say “Well, I like it”.

Unlike the Apple iPhone – it doesn’t “just work”. It takes a bit of time to get used to, and for the non-techy this will be a challenge, but once mastered, you can customise it to the hilt to do everything you want, exactly as you want it.

Unlike the Windows Phone – it doesn’t blow your socks off the first time you see it. But it feels very much like Windows Phone in that it’s challenging the way you’re used to doing things, and offering you new, more efficient ways of doing stuff on a day-to-day basis.

But you know what? After a month, it feels comfortable and it works just how I want it too – both as a business device and a consumer device for a Social Media addict.

I really don’t want to give the HTC Sensation back. If I had a choice of which Mobile Operating System I’d like to use tomorrow, it’d probably be Android, but oddly I’m sure I’d begrudgingly live with a Windows Phone or an iPhone too.

I’m aware the HTC Sensation is a pretty kick-arse handset in terms of capabilities and has a ton of HTC customisation goodness to it. To this end I’m going to grab another lower spec HTC Android handset to see how that performs, and I’m also going to grab a non-HTC Android handset (the Samsung Galaxy S2 springs to mind) to see what the non-HTC Android experience is like.

Since I started the experiment, Windows Phone’s latest update – Mango – has also been released. As promised, as the next part of this experiment I’m going to revisit the Windows Phone platform with the Mango update to see what has changed there.

Despite having tested the three main mobile O/S from Apple, Microsoft and Google – this experiment is far from over. I think it’s fair to say you can see my clear favourites emerging though.

Watch this space. Smile


Richard Tubb is an IT Business Consultant who works with ambitious IT companies who want to grow their businesses in a scalable and sustainable way. He is also a Microsoft UK Small Business Specialist Partner Area Lead (PAL) and the elected chair of the CompTIA UK Channel Community. You can e-mail him at or connect with him via Twitter and LinkedIn.

My Mobile Phone Experiment, Part Two – Thoughts on Windows Phone 7

After recently saying goodbye to my HTC HD2 Windows Mobile 6.5 device, a few weeks ago I started an experiment. Grabbing a SIM Only Deal from mobile carrier, Three – I would, in turn, use an iPhone, a Windows Phone device and an Android device for a few weeks at a time each, using them in anger as my sole device for day-to-day activities, both business and leisure.

You can read about my original motivations for this experiment here.

You can read part one of this experiment – my thoughts on the iPhone here.

A couple of weeks ago, I put my iPhone away in a drawer (more on how long that lasted, later…) and thanks to my friends at Staffordshire University, got my hands on a shiny new HTC Pro 7 Windows Phone Device.

HTC Pro 7 HandsetNow as I’ve stated before, this experiment isn’t about the handsets themselves – it’s about the mobile Operating Systems. Which is just as well, because the HTC Pro 7 is heavy and felt like a throwback from 2003.

The reason it’s heavy is it has a built in QWERTY keyboard. I used this keyboard once during my time with the ‘phone… and then went back to using the on-screen keyboard – which is excellent, even for use with my “pound-of-sausages” like fingers. As somebody who bemoaned the loss of a QWERTY keyboard when I moved to touch-screen only devices, I’m shocked at this – but I found sliding the keyboard out and using it much more hassle than simple typing quickly on-screen. The mechanism for sliding the keyboard out and using it felt awkward and a touch delicate too – I was fearful of snapping the keyboard off.

That side note apart, let’s move onto the real reason for this experiment – to find out more about Windows Phone 7 (or WP7 to its friends).

I liked the interface, which consists of a number of customisable “tiles” on the home-screen (or Start screen, to use official terms) which you easily add or remove. The tiles are, for the most part, “live” – meaning that they reflect at a glance information – number of e-mails waiting, number of SMS messages unread, and in the case of the “People” tile (your mobile phone contacts) constantly rotating between mini photos of all your contacts. You can add just about anything to your home page as a tile – you simply “pin” a web-page, contact, application or anything else to the page. It’s a neat interface and one which I liked.

Jumping right in, setup of the device was very simple.

Firstly, you absolutely need a Windows Live ID to use this device. No problem here, as I already have a Live ID I use every day.

Charging is done via a USB cable. Thank goodness. Can we all standardise on USB please? (I’m looking at you, Apple).

Connecting to a Wi-Fi signal was simplicity itself, as when WP7 detects a new Wi-Fi signal it gently tells you so in it’s notification area at the top of the screen. Unlike Windows Mobile 6.5, it does this is a non-intrusive manner though. You’re aware of the info, but if you choose to ignore – you can.

Once you’ve setup a number of Wi-Fi signals in different locations, WP7 automatically and seamlessly connects to them as you move around. What’s more, leaving Wi-Fi turned on all the time didn’t seem to hammer the Battery life too much. I got a full day out of the ‘phone without having to re-charge. Very impressive.

My e-mail is hosted with Microsoft BPOS Hosted Exchange and Google Mail, and both of these were easy to configure through the e-mail connector. I have more than 2,000 contacts in Exchange, and these were synchronised extremely fast – I liked how WP7 gave me status updates on the progress of synchronisation too.

Windows Phone InboxUsing Google Mail, there is no support for additional features such as one-touch archiving of messages in the WP7 e-mail interface (as there is on the iPhone) and no ability to “send as” as alternative address. There was also no Google produced App for GMail either.

There’s no consolidated e-mail inbox, which I enjoyed using on the iPhone. Apparently, this feature is coming in Mango. Remember that phrase, we’ll be using it a lot.

But overall the e-mail interface was a pleasure to use. It’s clean and bright, it allows easy scrolling through messages – I happily used it day-to-day to read and reply to e-mails. My only irritation was that after replying to an e-mail, I was dropped back to my inbox – which meant if I wanted to delete the e-mail I’d replied to – I’d have to open it again to do so.

Incredibly though, there was no support for Microsoft Exchange Tasks or Notes. This was an active feature in Windows Phone 6.5, so this is a step backwards in my eyes. When I asked around about such integration, I heard a phrase that I’d become very familiar with during this experiment – “It’s coming with Mango”. Mango being the next update for WP7, due mid-September 2011. Much more on that later…

The SMS client was easy to use. It provides threaded SMS conversations, so you can easily see who said what to who and when. I didn’t find any way of forwarding SMS’s to new recipients though, and deleting all the messages from certain recipients (in my case, Spam SMS) left their details on the SMS screen but with zero messages underneath. Odd.

The Calendar was decent, and it was nice to have my upcoming appointments shown on the Home screen – a feature badly missing from my iPhone. No ability to categorise Calendar appointments as say, personal or business though – a feature WinMo 6.5 again used. There was the ability to flag Appointments as “Private” though, which I use a lot.

My two favourite features of WP7 were the physical “Back” and “Search” buttons.

The Back button allows you to step backwards through the last applications you used. So if you’re reading a web-page and an SMS comes in, you can read the SMS, then press the back button to return to your web-page. At least, you could if WP7 supported multi-tasking – which to my amazement, it didn’t. Well, not for every application anyway. Many of the “native” applications, like E-Mail, Contacts and Web Browsing *did* support multi-tasking. But many others, like Twitter and Facebook, didn’t – so if you were reading Facebook and then read an SMS that came in, when you wanted to return to Facebook you’d have to load the application from scratch.

When I asked around as to why multi-tasking wasn’t supported, the answer I got was, surprise, surprise, “It’s coming in Mango”.

The Search button is context sensitive, so if you press it from the home screen it’ll pop up a Bing web search box. If you hit the Search button in the Contacts screen, it’ll allow you to search all your contacts. Use it within Marketplace, and you can search for Apps. Very useful.

Windows Phone 7 is quick in use. I saw no lags at any time, and no applications crashing either.

At this point I’d been happy to use WP7 but had seen no “WOW!” features. The closest I got to this was the Speech Recognition. Press and hold the Start button, and after a few seconds you’ll be prompted to speak. Say something like “Call Richard Tubb, Mobile” or “Open Facebook”, and low and behold WP7 will action your request. I was pleasantly surprised to find this worked for all my contacts, and all my applications – even 3rd party installed apps – regardless of how unusual the name was. Very impressive indeed!

There is integration with Xbox Live from WP7, which I was looking forward to seeing. Sadly, I was distinctly underwhelmed. Apart from my Xbox 360 avatar and contact list appearing on my ‘phone – I couldn’t see what was cool about it. I’m told there are games that you can carry from your Xbox to WP7, but I asked around and nobody had used them. The games I did play were fun, but I didn’t see much evidence of being able to share the gaming experience with friends. Clearly, I didn’t “get it” – but I’d be open to taking a second look if somebody could help me to understand the features.

Windows Phone Lock-ScreenThe music player aspect of WP7 is very good, it just works and works well. I liked that when playing a tune and locking the ‘phone, the Lock Screen allowed you to pause or resume the tune and adjust the volume. Neat.

Talking of the lock screen, I loved it! As well as displaying my next calendar appointment, at a glance it showed me how many outstanding e-mails and SMS I had.

There are some lovely integration surprises throughout WP7. For instance, the camera (which was excellent on the HTC Pro 7, and had a Hard Key to wake up the camera and take shots) is connected to Windows Live Skydrive, so you can upload snaps to store in the Cloud, and keep private, share with certain friends or everyone. There is also integration for photos to send directly to Flickr, or e-mail. There was Facebook upload support too, but I never got it to work – but this was easily circumvented by using a Facebook e-mail upload.

Whereas the iPhone requires you to open specific apps to get to information, with WP7 you had access to information through multiple avenues. I like this a lot. An example would be that Contact entries show the person’s latest Facebook status update (Twitter integration coming in, you guessed it, Mango) their FB photos and a link to Bing Maps to their home or work address.

Bing LogoThat’s twice you’ve heard me mention Bing now. It’s no surprise that Microsoft have made their own search engine the default for WP7, but I saw no way of changing this to another Search engine of your choice. If you don’t care for Bing, WP7 isn’t for you.

Likewise, I’ve mentioned Windows Live Skydrive but there is no support for Windows Live Mesh (that I’m aware of) and to use Dropbox requires a Paid-For 3rd Party App. For this test, I found myself having to e-mail myself certain files to get them on the WP7. Yuck.

Which leads us onto the sticky (and I’d find out, emotive) subject of Apps.

I’m of the belief that nowadays, a Smartphone without Apps is merely an expensive Mobile ‘Phone. 3rd Party Apps make a device so much more than just a ‘phone – and it’s this feature that makes so many people fall in love with Apple’s iPhone or Google’s Android O/S.

The good news is – the WP7 Marketplace is a vast, vast improvement over WinMo 6.5 – for a start it has a good variety of apps, and they are much easier to find.

Microsoft are very proud of the fact that the Windows Phone 7 platform got to 25,000 Apps faster than Apple’s iOS, and twice as fast as Android.

The trouble is, WP7 is still a distant 4th behind iOS, Android and even Blackberry in the minds of 3rd party app creators.

Skype LogoThis statement is going to open up an absolute storm of protest from Windows Phone fans, but I’d argue it’s true. There is no Skype, many of the popular Zynga Casual Games (such as Words with Friends) are not available on WP7. The Time Out travel guides can’t be found. The Trainline and Laterooms app isn’t available. I could go on. This isn’t an iPhone vs WP7 comparison, but it’s undeniable that many, many of the 3rd Party Apps that made me fall in love with the iPhone and overlook its failings were not available on WP7.

The fact is, there are simply not as many apps as iOS and Android, and the apps that are available feel more expensive. The abundance of free and 79p apps on iOS make it more likely you’ll explore new apps. Games and apps on WP7 marketplace tend to be £3 and upwards. This price difference made me reluctant to casually buy interesting looking apps as I would on iOS. That said, there are a lot of “try before you buy” trial options for Apps – but I’d still argue apps are overpriced compared to iOS and Android.

It’s at this point that my fun with Windows Phone stopped. I’d decided that it was a functional but unspectacular device. If I was marooned on a Desert Island (that inexplicably had Wi-Fi available) then I’d happily live out my days with WP7 as it does everything I need a business device to do, but none of the exciting stuff that my consumer facing iPhone friends had.

I missed my Apps, badly. I got bored of WP7. I put it down, and found my hand creeping to the iPhone. I couldn’t go without my apps for a fortnight.

For a few days during this experiment, I’m ashamed to say I returned to my iPhone to get my fix of all the stuff I was missing on WP7.

If this was a movie, I’d fade the screen to black at this point…

… before the black screen brightens again and you see me using a Mobile Phone, and it is a Windows Phone 7 device!

Determined that I wasn’t giving WP7 a fair shake of the stick, I sought out advice from the very passionate Windows Phone 7 community (My thanks to Andy Parkes, Richard Gibbons and the many other folks in the Windows Phone 7 Community who helped me get to grips with WP7! I appreciate your help!)

To my surprise, I was pointed in the direction of a plethora of Apps that would help me make more of WP7.

imageI found 7PassFree, for my KeePass Password management. MoTweets for my Twitter use. BBC News Mobile (a 3rd Party app, not affiliated with BBC News). Last FM for music. Poynt and Yelp for location services. and the DC Comic book reader. An Amazon Kindle e-book reader. FlashCards for learning from, and many games such as Pac-Man DX, Pro-Evolution Soccer 2011 and others.

My Smartphone became Smart again. I could use it to do more than make calls, browse the web and read e-mails. I could use it to do all that consumer stuff that has become so important to me nowadays.

I even used it to fire off an e-mail to my friends at Staffordshire University asking if I could possibly keep their handset for another week or so to do some more testing!

My conclusion with Windows Phone 7 is that it’s a great platform which I could see myself using, but it needs to mature. Ask any WP7 fan and they’ll argue that the iPhone and Android went through these same troubles (lack of multi-tasking, lack of 3rd party apps) before they fixed them – but my response to that would be. Yes, they’ve fixed them. They are fixed. Am I supposed to cut Microsoft, a behemoth of IT, slack because they were late getting to the party?

If I had a straight choice between an iPhone and a Windows Phone 7 device today – right now – then I’d be hard pressed not to choose iPhone.

imageHowever… that phrase “It’s coming in Mango” does have some merit to it. Many of the 3rd Party App developers I’ve spoken to have promised versions of their apps when Mango arrives. Mango will fix the multi-tasking issue, and add Twitter integration. Mango adds MS Exchange Tasks and Notes support. Mango brings some *very* cool Speech Integration tools with it. What’s more, Mango has been RTM (Released to Manufacturing) and so should make it to the market by mid-September 2011.

Today though, here and now – I couldn’t see myself using WP7 over iPhone (and I suspect, Android – which I’m testing next). It’d just be too frustrating.

I’d be very interested in getting hold of a Mango device when they are released and then using it in anger. A Samsung Omnia or another thinner, lighter, sexier Windows Phone may improve my view of WP7 further – I’ve simply no need for the HTC Pro and it’s bulky QWERTY keyboard.

I suspect, I *strongly* suspect – that if I did this experiment again in 3 to 6 months time, once Mango has been released, I’d end up saying Windows Phone 7 would be my platform of choice.

But I’ve still got an Android handset to play with. Thoughts on that coming soon!


Richard Tubb is an IT Business Consultant who works with ambitious IT companies who want to grow their businesses in a scalable and sustainable way. He is also a Microsoft UK Small Business Specialist Partner Area Lead (PAL) and the elected chair of the CompTIA UK Channel Community. You can e-mail him at or connect with him via Twitter and LinkedIn.

My Mobile Phone Experiment, Part One – Thoughts on the iPhone

Regular readers of this blog will know I’ve been a long-standing fan of the Windows Mobile Smartphone. I’ve always owned Windows Mobile devices, including my last phone – a HTC HD2. Unfortunately, with that device dying a death and Microsoft slowly killing off support for Windows Mobile, it’s now time for me to upgrade. But to which device? Android, iPhone or Windows Phone?

A few weeks ago I started an experiment. Grabbing a SIM Only Deal from mobile carrier, Three – I would, in turn, use an iPhone, an Android device and a Windows Phone device for a few weeks at a time each, and use them in anger as my sole device for day-to-day activities, both business and leisure.

You can read my original blog post on the “experiment” here (go on, have a read – I’ll wait here for you).

For clarification – and to head off the hundreds of e-mails I’ll get about using an iPhone 4 instead of an iPhone 3GS, and a HTC HD7 instead of a HTC Pro, and any one of a million Android devices instead of the one I choose… the idea of the experiment is to get a feel for how each of the mobile Operating Systems looks and feels in day-to-day use. It’s not a handset –vs- handset comparison, more an OS –vs- OS round-up.

With that in mind, for the past three weeks I’ve been using an iPhone 3GS. How did I find it?


iPhone 3GSOne of my main justifications for resisting the iPhone for so long is the “Apple Tax”. In terms of comparison with other Smartphones – you pay a lot for both the handset and network carrier tariff to own a new iPhone.

My way of avoiding the “Apple Tax” for this experiment was to procure an old iPhone 3GS. Yes, I know the iPhone 4 is faster, slimmer, sexier – but remember that I’m testing the O/S, not the handset.


Setting up the iPhone was simplicity itself. I was connected, making and receiving phone calls and text messages, hooked up to Wi-Fi, sending and receiving e-mail and installing Apps really quickly.

My only niggle here is the fact I could only do this once I’d hooked the iPhone up to my PC through the frustrating iTunes software. But for simply installing the ‘phone and syncing the odd update and Podcast, iTunes did it’s job.

I like the fact you can start the device without having a SIM card present (I’m still using the iPhone without a SIM as a glorified iPod Touch at the moment) but hot-insert a SIM and you’re on-line. I’d have preferred a more convenient mechanism for getting to the SIM holder than having to carry paperclips around with me to pull the SIM slot out with, but this is a niggle.

In-Car Use

The ability to hot swap SIM’s was very useful to me during the experiment when I needed to return to my HTC HD2 briefly for certain things – such as using a Sat Nav. I tried using Google Maps on the iPhone as a Sat Nav, but I found the 3GS screen too small to use in-car and so I yielded to temptation and used my HTC HD2 with Alk Co-Pilot for journeys, before swapping back to the iPhone when I had reached my destination.

In-Car use with the iPhone was also frustrating due to the fact the iPhone has no quick access to a Bluetooth Switch. If I wanted to use my In-Car Bluetooth Hands free kit with the iPhone, I needed to go into Settings > General > Bluetooth to do so. It was frustrating and could have been made easier by having an app that allows one touch on/off of Bluetooth – but apparently Apple forbid this in their Terms of Service, so no 3rd Party app is available to do this. So I was constantly forgetting to turn Bluetooth off and so it was draining my battery life.

Battery Life

Talking of Battery life. The plus side of the iPhone is that because it’s so versatile, with so many cool apps and features – I was using it a lot more than any Smartphone before it. In fact, I was using it a worrying amount. iPhone addiction? The downside is, as a result of this constant usage and without regularly hooking the iPhone up to an external power source, the battery depleted before a full days use.

Being the party animal that I am, from a full charge at 4pm, and with a night out on the town including taking photos of friends, checking in to Facebook places, updating Twitter, taking and receiving the odd phone call and sending the odd SMS – by 2am the iPhone had run out of juice. And it’s not like you can pop in a spare battery as the battery compartment is sealed.

I know there are ways around this, and I’ll give a nod to the iPhone 4’s increased battery life – so this goes down as handset failure rather than an O/S failure.


iPhone AppsTalking of cool apps – the iPhone has them. In spades. This is where I fell in love with the iPhone and started to find myself overlooking all of its niggling shortcomings. The ability to carry around all my passwords securely, check train times, search for flight prices, scan barcodes, do price comparisons, read the latest news, buy stuff on eBay, read Kindle e-books, sync files, make Skype calls and play cool casual games (I’m virtually addicted to Words with Friends now) all made the iPhone much more than a mobile phone. As I said, I felt almost addicted – trying out new ideas (I’m now using FourSquare and other Geo-Location apps, for instance) due to the vast amount of free and cheap (79p) apps on offer, and then using them a lot.

I appreciate this will come as no surprise to anyone who’s used an iPhone, but I can tell you know that having come from the Windows Mobile platform where there are virtually no cool apps – this is a revelation.

(I can also give you a peek into the future of this experiment and tell you that a few days into using a Windows Phone, and I’m pining for my old apps which simply aren’t available on that platform)

E-Mail and Productivity

Using e-mail on the iPhone was enjoyable. E-Mails loaded quickly and were easy to read. I use Microsoft Exchange for business e-mails, and GoogleMail for personal e-mails. Both were very easy to setup, and I like the iPhones support for GoogleMail features – such as allowing me to Archive off old e-mails easily.

The ability to see both e-mail accounts in a single unified mailbox was a nice touch too. It made scanning e-mails simple.

Replying to e-mails (and SMS, for that matter) was easy, the iPhone on-screen keyboard simple to use and very good at correcting mistakes and predicting words.

I did miss the ability to “Send As” an e-mail address from the iPhone. I have a number of personal e-mail addresses in Googlemail, but the iPhone didn’t allow me to choose which mail to send messages from. I found workarounds for this, but they were clumsy and kludgey.

imageI also found the iPhone Calendar fairly slow and unintuitive, and the lack of support for Exchange Tasks and Notes was frustrating. Again, 3rd party apps exist to bridge the gap – but it’s really surprising that this isn’t natively supported by now. When out on the road, I found the iPhone an incredibly good device for consuming information – but for creating it? Not so much. I found myself e-mailing myself ideas, notes and appointments rather than using the familiar Tasks and Calendar – and then when I got back to my Desk I was putting them into Outlook “properly”.

I also found the iPhone Contacts navigation slow and clunky. With over 2,000 contacts in my Outlook address book, what I really wanted to do was tap the screen and start typing a name to be found – but the “All Contacts” screen didn’t have a dedicated search option unless I’m being dumb and overlooking something obvious – EDIT: Thanks Hilary and Bryony for pointing out that there is a search feature in Contacts, top right hand corner of the screen!  I’d still like to start typing a name and for it to appear, as this would feel more intuitive, but at least I’m able to search now!

Call Quality

Then there’s using the iPhone as an erm… phone! Compared to other handsets I’ve used, I found call quality a little poor at times and the ‘phone getting hot against my ear during long calls.


At this stage you may get the impression that I didn’t like the iPhone. I’ve acknowledged that it has many shortcomings, and doesn’t seem to be “Best of Breed” in any particularly category other than it’s 3rd party app support.

But the reality is – I loved using the iPhone. It is simplicity itself to start using and I like the way that it “just works”. It does have lots of niggles, and due to Apple’s locked down attitude – you can find it hard to work around those niggles. But you know what? None of those things are show-stoppers. I found nothing wrong with the iPhone (perhaps other than Battery life) that would stop me using it as my main phone on a day-to-day basis.

My thinking is that owning an iPhone is like falling in love. In most new relationships you start off deeply in love, often overlooking your new beau’s shortcomings because you like so much else about them. But then, over time – you get used to those new features, they become expected – and then you start to get irritated about the shortcomings.

Ok – so I’m not going to be writing for Mills and Boon anytime soon, but my gut feeling is that I’ll be this same way with the iPhone – overlooking its shortcomings for now, but as time grows on finding they become more than an irritation.

For now though, I’m in love. And I can secretly tell you that a few days in to using the second phone in my experiment, a HTC Pro handset running Windows Phone 7, all I can think about is the iPhone…

Thoughts on Windows Phone coming in a couple of weeks. Smile


Richard Tubb is an IT Business Consultant who works with ambitious IT companies who want to grow their businesses in a scalable and sustainable way. He is also a Microsoft UK Small Business Specialist Partner Area Lead (PAL) and the elected chair of the CompTIA UK Channel Community. You can e-mail him at or connect with him via Twitter and LinkedIn.

How Smartphone Users See Each Other

I’ve had a ton of feedback from iPhone, Android and Windows Phone fans about my blog post on my Mobile Phone experiment.

I was wrong when I said that this reminded me of the days of the Atari vs Commodore “format wars”. This is much more intense! People are *really* passionate about their mobile ‘phone O/S of choice!

Alistair Forbes, General Manager at GFI Max sent me this cartoon (courtesy of which I think sums up what people really think of other Smartphone users! Smile


How Smartphone Users See Each Other


For what it’s worth – two days in to the first phone of the experiment (an iPhone) and I’m *loving* the wide variety of apps, but am getting irritated by the flaky Bluetooth support and relatively poor battery life. More soon…


Richard Tubb is an IT Business Consultant who works with ambitious IT companies who want to grow their businesses in a scalable and sustainable way. He is also a Microsoft UK Small Business Specialist Partner Area Lead (PAL) and the elected chair of the CompTIA UK Channel Community. You can e-mail him at or connect with him via Twitter and LinkedIn.

iPhone, Android or Windows Phone? My Mobile Phone Experiment

Anyone who read my recent rant blog on the shoddy treatment I received from UK Mobile network T-Mobile, or has been following my frustrations via Twitter on how Talkmobile couldn’t even take my order successfully will realise that I’m a little bit frustrated on the mobile ‘phone front lately.

My beloved and reliable HTC HD2 has reached the end of it’s life and is so no longer beloved or reliable, and with Microsoft having retired Windows Mobile 6.5 I’ve therefore decided not to simply swap like for like.

But when it comes to choosing a new mobile phone – there are dozens of options. In fact, if you ask a dozen different people for their mobile ‘phone recommendations, you’ll get a dozen different answers on why their preferred ‘phone is best. Even if you don’t ask for recommendations, you’ll have them volunteered to you! It’s fair to say that people are very loyal to their preferred platform – reminiscent of the “format wars” of Atari –vs- Commodore in the 1980’s (and for the record, everybody knows Atari was better).

So I’m going to try an experiment.

iPhone, Android and Windows Phone devicesI’ve acquired a SIM Only deal from Three and over the next few weeks will, in turn, grab an unlocked iPhone, an Android device and a Windows Phone and use each of them as my only mobile phone for a few weeks at a time.

As for my requirements, the line between a Consumer device and Business device has blurred so much in recent months that it is now barely distinguishable. Three years ago I used to have separate mobile ‘phones for day-to-day business work and out-on-the-town with friends. Now, one device allows me to do everything I want – do business, and have fun.

So what am I looking for in a device? Here’s a rough guide:-

  • The ability to connect to Microsoft Exchange and have a good client experience for e-mail, calendar, contacts, and especially tasks and notes.
  • To install and run the Open Source software KeePass or equivalent, granting me access to all my logons and passwords wherever I might be.
  • The ability to conditionally Call Forwarding (i.e. on “Busy”, on “Unavailable”, etc)
  • A decent camera – with ability to quickly and easily upload pictures to both Twitter and Facebook.
  • To be able to connect to Google Mail and use  “Send As” functionality for the various personal accounts I use.
  • Strong Bluetooth Connectivity to my Bury CC9060 Hands-Free Car Kit
  • One-Touch Bluetooth On/Off for when I’m in/out of the car
  • Excellent apps for Twitter, Facebook, eBay, LinkedIn, Barcode Scanner/Price Comparison, Google Latitude and Amazon Kindle
  • The ability to purchase a Brodit Pro-Mount Car Holder kit for using the ‘phone when driving.
  • The device must run Alk CoPilot Live or another equally good turn-by-turn off-line Sat-Nav app
  • The ability to create favourite contacts, and to send Group SMS messages
  • Nice to have – Micro USB connectivity (to match my Kindle and other gadgets)
  • Also Nice to have – A Skype client, and Windows Live Mesh and/or Dropbox app

There are other features that are a “given” (good call quality, HSDPA, etc) and no doubt I’ll fall in love with other features as I begin my experiment.

I’m starting off the experiment by turning off my HTC HD2 and dropping it in the drawer to gather dust, whilst I use an iPhone 3GS for the next fortnight or so.

Let the experiment begin! Smile


Richard Tubb is an IT Business Consultant who works with ambitious IT companies who want to grow their businesses in a scalable and sustainable way. He is also a Microsoft UK Small Business Specialist Partner Area Lead (PAL) and the elected chair of the CompTIA UK Channel Community. You can e-mail him at or connect with him via Twitter and LinkedIn.

Remember Windows Mobile 6.5?

Like many Mobile Phone users in the United Kingdom, I signed up to a long-term monthly subscription contract with a network operator in exchange for a heavily subsidised version of the coolest, latest mobile handset. It’s pretty much a form of Hire Purchase.

HTC HD2 HandsetFor me, in late 2009 I signed a two-year agreement with T-Mobile to pay £25/month+ in exchange for a bundle of cross-network minutes, SMS, MMS and a shiny new HTC HD2.

At the time of it’s release the HD2 was not only the best Windows Mobile 6.5 handset on the market, but one of the best handsets on the market full-stop. With it’s very large 4.3inch display, 1GHz Processor, and strong connectivity features, it was a strong competitor to the iPhone – and back in 2009, most people had never even heard of Android.

This was all *despite* the fact that it was a Windows Mobile 6.5 device. Let me make one thing clear – I’m no WinMo fan-boy. There’s no doubting that Microsoft’s Operating System for Mobile devices, from it’s earliest versions onwards (all of which I’ve had the horror of using) was far from perfect. Clunky, un-intuitive, and ugly – it could be a real chore to work with WinMo.

The HD2 bucked this trend, thanks to HTC who did a bang up job of hiding the majority of WinMo 6.5 with their HTC Sense interface. This is the same sort of interface you’ll see on most HTC devices today – a touch-screen interface that focuses on making most tasks intuitive. You occasionally see a horrible WinMo 6.5 error message or user prompt to remind you that it’s still there, being ugly in the background – but for the most part I love HTC Sense, and lots of other people do too.

Fast forward to 2011, and my contract with T-Mobile is at an end and in exchange for a new long-term contract, I’m now able to pick and choose a shiny new handset to play with! There is so much choice – with latest iPhone, a slew of Android handsets, and even Microsoft have gone a long way to helping us forget earlier versions with the sexy new Windows Phone 7 OS, written from the ground up.

So which one am I going to go for? The answer. None of them – I’m sticking with my HTC HD2.

For me – mobile Operating Systems have come a long way in the past two years, but the HD2 still remains competitive to them all. There is no doubt that the iPhone looks fantastic, and is very intuitive to use. Likewise for the Android, which I’ve tried and is a joy to use. But neither of them add a “killer feature” that I’d trade up my HD2 for.

  • My HD2 is *fast*. It’s rare that it crashes or I get frustrated with speed.
  • The HD2 has a great high resolution camera, which I use often.
  • Battery life isn’t perfect, but I get a full working day out of it and it’s easy to carry a spare battery and swap them over quickly.
  • The e-mail interface links with Exchange and GoogleMail (my e-mail hosts of choice) flawlessly.
  • It has a strong built-in GPS device, which I use with both my very responsive Sat-Nav and Google Maps.
  • It has great connectivity to Social Media, so I find it easy to use Twitter, Facebook and Flickr from the HD2.
  • My HD2 has a lot of memory, so I can store and listen to MP3’s on the go.
  • It has a built in Wi-Fi Router, which has come in handy more than once for getting laptops and other devices on-line using 3G.

In comparison – After seeing Windows Phone 7 in action at WPC in Washington, DC last year – I had high hopes for it. Whilst I’m not discounting it as a potential choice in the future, everybody I’ve spoken to who is a WinPhone7 user now bemoans the lack of some feature or other that is promised in a future update. I’ll look at it again in a few months time when it’s had chance to catch-up with those updates.

And what of Blackberry? Well, let’s just say that in the same way I no longer use Teletext to get my information anymore – I prefer the Web – I’ve never “got” Blackberry.

Moving swiftly onwards – there is an area where I’m tempted by both Android and iPhone handsets, and that is with 3rd party Apps.

Windows Mobile 6.5 has the Windows Marketplace for Mobile – which is almost (but not quite) a waste of time, with so few Apps for WinMo 6.5 available through it, and missing most of the best compatible Apps you can find out on the web directly.

Apple have a TON of apps available, and Android are fast catching up. My heart does sink every time I see a cool new App and know it’ll *never* be released for WinMo 6.5. But at the moment, all these apps are cool – but they aren’t must have for me.

At the moment…

Windows Mobile 6.5 is pretty much a dead Operating System. The more time goes by, the less 3rd Parties are going to support it – both for new Apps (hardly any of which we see already see!) and for updating existing apps.

So there will come a time in the very near future I will be tempted (or forced) to move from Windows Mobile 6.5 to Android, iPhone or Windows Phone 7 – but it’s not just yet. For now, I’m going to seek out a SIM only deal to save myself quite a few quid each month, and continue to use my HD2 handset.

Are you still using Windows Mobile 6.5?  Are you tempted to upgrade, or like me, sticking with WinMo for the moment?

My next blog post will cover the applications that I use on Windows Mobile 6.5 – which if you’re a WinMo 6.5 user, many of which I’m guessing you’ll not have come across before!


Richard Tubb is an Independent Consultant who works with IT companies to help them feel in control and grow their businesses. He is also a Microsoft UK Small Business Specialist Partner Area Lead (PAL). You can e-mail him at or connect with him via Twitter and LinkedIn.


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