Emulate Windows Phone 7 on Android, iPhone

WP7 is pleasant enough, but seeing anything referencing "Outlook" immediately induces nausea and psychedelic images of an insanely happy paperclip randomly appearing on a severely underpowered mid-90s Compaq laptop.

WP7, meet Android.
Microsoft's new line of WP7 phones. Feels immediately familiar. This is the look of a market leader...

Windows Phone 7 DemoHere’s a simple way to give Windows Phone 7 a quick test drive on your iPhone or Android device. Load your mobile browser, and go to this site: http://aka.ms/wpdemo (note: you can also do this via your desktop browser). An impressively responsive WP7 emulator (HTML5) will pop up. You can actually click through the interface and get a decent feel for the underachieving mobile OS, without having to drive to your local store (where you might have trouble finding a WP7 phone).

After giving the demo a quick spin, here are some of my thoughts:

— WP7 is nice looking–in a Zune-ish way–but lacks the power of Android, and apps of iOS.

— Microsoft is so far behind, I doubt they will ever be a #1 or #2 player in the mobile space, and that includes tablets.

— Zune design aesthetic is a winner.

— But: No apps, no sales.

— Seeing anything referencing “Outlook” immediately induces nausea and psychedelic images of an insanely happy paperclip randomly appearing on a severely underpowered mid-90s Compaq laptop.

— Microsoft could do well to double-down on enterprise with WP8/Windows 8 and attack RIM hard. Windows Server and all of Redmond’s enterprise platform products are generally well regarded, if not at least widely installed. The company should continue to fortify as much as it can- After winning the consumer market, Apple and Android are knocking big time on the Fortune 500.

— The beauty of open platforms like Android is that you can install numerous home replacement skins and nearly mimic the functionality of WP7 (or other mobile OSes).

— Total # of people I know who own a Windows powered smartphone: 0.

WP7, meet Android.
Microsoft's new line of WP7 phones. Feels immediately familiar. This is the look of a market leader... (OG Motorola Droid, Samsung Galaxy S II, Motorola Atrix, Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 classic)

Would I give MSFT a chance for my business if they had a thoroughly fresh Windows 8 smartphone offering in 2012? Definitely. As much as I cheer-lead Android, I still like to make pragmatic purchasing decisions. It would take a lot to knock Android from the top though. It seems to me if you use Google apps and tools as I much as I do then Android is simply the best offering out there. Things like Google Nav, Google Voice, and Google Music are irreplaceable- so far, I haven’t seen anything comparable on other platforms.

Microsoft’s biggest challenge will be winning over the developer community. We all live and breathe apps. If developers don’t follow, the apps don’t get made. There’s a chicken and egg situation at play. To gain share, a platform needs apps. But to get third party vendors to build apps requires ROI, which in turn is based on install base and potential sell through. For now, this is a two horse race between Google Android and Apple iOS. Microsoft would do well to play the role of early 90s Apple and find a niche it can gain a foothold in, and grow from there.

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  • Anonymous

    Developers are writing for WP7. So I’m not seeing that as an issue. 40K apps for a phone platform that has single digit marketshare is pretty damn good.  In addition, it’s not really the amount of apps.  It’s do you have the major apps covered.  Are you going to use all 500,000 apps on your phone? No. Are you going to use the main ones that nearly everyone uses? Yes. And Microsoft has Visual Studio to help develop WP7 apps.  VS2010 is such a compelling development environment.  It’s amazing how simple it to write code because it does so much for you to make your life easier.

    I’ve been evangelizing WP7 for anyone over 40 who wants a smartphone and doesn’t want to fiddle with their phone.  Extremely easy to learn. Extremely easy to read. Extremely easy to navigate. The OS was designed with actual visual navigation cues. (ICS looks to be the first version of Android doing this but who knows if they will all get ripped out after they are skinned) And with pinning and live tiles, you have far more flexibility than iOS’s lame and extremely dated wall of icons.  There is so much power there to get the data you want to your screen without any clicks (live tiles) or making the exact information or action you want a single click away (pinning).  Microsoft has done a brilliant job with WP7.I used to recommend Android to people because it is so powerful and flexible. Then I would sadly watch them use 10% of the potential power. I know 3 people who are using WP7.  All of them are very happy with their phones.  If Nokia drops the Lumia 900 (the 800 is such a beautiful phone) on Sprint next year, one of my siblings will be getting my Epic 4G Touch. If the person is tech competent and I think they will make real use of Android, I still nudge them that way. If I feel like I will have to teach them Android and hold their hand, WP7 makes much more sense.The only thing I really agree with is Microsoft needs to meet Google 1 for 1 with provided services.  They need a Google Navigation equivalent with Bing. As well as a version of Google Voice. Nokia WP7 phones will at least have navigation built in provided that isn’t ripped out in the US release.

    Finally, you’re bringing up a 15 year old reference? Seriously? Should we not buy iPhones because of the Apple Lisa or iPads because of the Newton? I’m not sure where you are going with this.