Thursday, 16 February 2012

Nokia Lumia 800 and WP7...Good News, Bad News

I recently took the plunge and decommissioned my Dell Streak and bought a Lumia 800.  I was looking for an unlocked phone that I could use for development, as well as for my everyday phone.  I ended purchasing one from a wholesaler in Hong Kong for a very reasonable price.
The phone arrived within five working days, to my surprise.

First Impressions
The construction and build quality of the Lumia 800 is impressive.  There are plenty of articles and reviews detailing this phone.  The general consensus is that it is a quality piece of kit.  A bit heavier than most phones, but I kind of like that in a phone.
In no time I was logged into Windows Live and had access to Hotmail and SkyDrive; installed a few key apps and a bit of configuration (all very straightforward and intuitive).  All-in-all, I was quite pleased.  It took a couple of days to break my Android habits and adopt WP7.

The Bad News
Fast-forward two weeks...I accidentally powered down the phone and proceeded to reboot.  Nothing.  Hmm...soft reset...nothing...plug in USB...nothing...hard reset...nothing.  Panic.  I then spent a whole weekend trying to revive my Lumia, to no avail.
It is interesting to note, that for the three or four days without my WP, I felt strangely disconnected and a bit out-of-sync.  I suppose you could say that about any phone you rely on.  I was never one drool over mobile phones (unlike friends of mine who seem to get an erection while doing a firmware update).    I actually missed my Windows Phone.
Shipped it back to Hong Kong, got a prompt refund, quickly located another on Amazon and had another Lumia the next day.  Phew!  Close call.
I don't mention this to put people off the Lumia or WP7, just that this Nokia-Microsoft initiative is not without issues and teething problems.  

The Good News
So, after a month of WPing, I can call myself a convert.  I do not miss Android.  Kudos to Microsoft for producing a truly unique mobile platform.  WP7 has its own identity and is not trying to copy iOS (er...Android) or anyone else.  The Metro UI is clean, efficient and has its own aesthetic.  WP critics, many who are Cupertino loyalists, whinge and moan about how much better their iPhone is...who cares?  To me, it's the difference between style and fashion.  Fashion is dictated by authority and adopted by followers, it is acquired.  Style, on the other hand, is timeless and beautiful - it simply is.
In my opinion, those who are attracted to WP/Metro find the underlying philosophy appealing; they do not find the need to justify it or criticize alternative solutions.  So, my response to the critics - didn't ask for your opinion and don't need your permission.  WP is not trying to be like iPhone or Android.

More Good News
Shortly after purchasing my Lumia I was asked by a client to quickly put together a LOB prototype for the phone.  I gathered up all the developer tools and SDKs needed and jumped right in.  I was very impressed with the Windows Phone SDK and Visual Studio integration.  Over the course of a weekend I put together a working prototype and deployed it to my phone.  Very easy and relatively painless.  I did a presentation to some execs, who were suitably impressed, not only with the application itself, but more importantly the speed of development.  There is where Microsoft and WP can really gain some traction.  Migration of code and skills from a WPF/SL team to a WP team could happen in as little as a couple of days.
Given that WP7 and Mango is Microsoft's first real attempt at a modern mobile platform, the future looks bright for WP8 later this year.

1 comment:

dev said...

nice article Ron! Did you get a chance to play with windows 8?