I won’t leave you in suspense, the review is bad. Really, really bad. The reviewer works for Infoworld and took part in an in-depth demo of the platform. The reviewer, Galen Gruman, doesn’t pull any punches. Some choice quotes:
“Windows Phone 7 is a waste of time and money. It’s a platform that no carrier, device maker, developer, or user should bother with. Microsoft should kill it before it ships and admit that it’s out of the mobile game for good. It is supposed to ship around Christmas 2010, but anyone who gets one will prefer a lump of coal. I really mean that.”
“…awkward and unsophisticated…[it’s like a great movie trailer], only to discover that all the good stuff was in the trailer and the rest of the movie was a mess. A pig, in fact.”
“Under the hood, Windows Phone 7 rests on creakingly old technology that the main competitors have all moved past.”
“Windows Phone 7 is a pale imitation of the 2007-era iPhone.”
“Microsoft is stuck in 2007, with a smartphone OS whose feature checklist might match that era’s iPhone but whose fit and finish would look like a Pinto next to a Maserati.”
“The developers at Mobile Beat quickly recognized the labor-intensity of this UI method and one asked the Microsoft rep if anyone had bothered to test it with users. The answer was essentially “no” – a scary thought indeed.”
“If the Windows Phone 7’s flaws were confined to a poor UI, that wouldn’t be a deal-killer for many users. … But under the hood, Windows Phone 7 gets worse. The core problem is its backward set of technologies, which will fundamentally limit IT, developers, and users alike.”
“Its browser is Internet Explorer 7, with some IE8 capabilities added – that means it does not support HTML5, as the iPhone, Android, WebOS, and Nokia Symbian all do.”
“Microsoft has a long history of producing bad software and plugging away on it for a few versions – usually version 3 – until it is serviceable. But that “get it right in version 3” strategy won’t work this time. … Microsoft has no establishment advantage in mobile today, so delivering an outdated, hamstrung mobile OS and hoping to fix it later just won’t fly.”
“… Windows Phone 7 was Redmond’s equivalent of the bungled Hurricane Katrina response effort.”
“If the iPhone is the platinum standard, Android is the gold standard, WebOS is the bronze standard, and Symbian and BlackBerry tie for tin. Windows Phone 7 is clay – a clay pigeon, in fact.”
“Microsoft needs to kill Windows Phone 7 and avoid further embarrassing itself by shipping this throwback. It’s not a question of whether Windows Phone 7 will fail – it will– but how long it will take Microsoft to admit the failure. For the company’s sake, the earlier it fesses up, the better.”
Unmentioned in this blisteringly bad review is Microsoft’s one ray of hope - Silverlight and the Development Environment for Windows Phone 7. I have no idea whether apps perform well and use the battery sparingly on Windows Phone 7. Right now, no one but the development team at Microsoft do. But the SDK is available, and while its not garnering huge excitement, it does show an environment that will be very familiar to existing Visual Studio and Silverlight developers. Microsoft has gotten very, very good at IDEs and development toolsets and that might entice a new set of developers to roll into the mobile space. And if the tools are good enough it might make them more productive as well.
Unfortunately, if Windows Phone 7 continues to get reviews like this one, no one will buy the phones and no one will buy the software that’s produced for them. Hopefully for the sake of competition they’ll get their acts together by release time.