|Over 18,000 Global Readers and Growing! August 16, 2011 - Issue 2-6 VoiceSpeak|
Hopefully the vacation season is treating you well as your read this. Perhaps your reading this newsletter on a mobile device such as a Windows Phone 7 unit or a Google-based mobile phone. If so – you’re on the same wave length as us.
Jim Locke, SMBTN founder, passes
Sadly we report that long-time SBSer and SMB community leader, Jim Locke, has passed away. After suffering a seizure this past weekend, Jim was in a coma and succumbed to his condition yesterday. Jim was best known as the founder of the SMB Technology Network (SMBTN) www.smbtn.org. He leaves a wife (Marilyn) and son (Brian) in Pasadena, California. You can post up your thoughts about Jim at our “You know you grew up with SBS…” site that captures the long-term spirit of Jim’s involvement in the community plus e-mail your thoughts to fellow SMBTN founder Jim Sterling (email@example.com).
I encourage you to watch the video below where we awarded Jim Locke the “SBSer of the Year” award at the SMB Nation Fall 2009 conference.
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My Month with Windows Phone 7…
This summer I accepted the dare from Microsoft Redmond to set aside my Apple iPhone and use its Windows Phone 7 (WP7). I used the Samsung Focus for my test, and here are my thoughts – a month later, and a month older! Kindly note that these experiences below are based solely on my month spent with WP7 and what I’d call common usage. That was my intention, and this article is not exhaustive.
Old Habits—They Don’t Die Hard
First of all, I had to break some old habits as a long-time ‘puter guy and actually read the “Quickstart” guide in order to understand the set up (where do I inset the SIM card?), basic functions (power on/off), navigation, personalization, phone use and taking photos. Happily I have two teenage boys who immediately grabbed the phone out of my hands and quickly assimilated into the WP7 culture. I proceeded to fully charge the phone overnight so I could level-set and monitor power efficiency; I immediately notice the speed of the WP7 device (thumbs up).
Next – I set-up the e-mail account to synchronize my hosted Microsoft Exchange e-mail account. I typed in basic domain and server information and the e-mail, contact and calendar synched flawlessly.
A Few “Random” Thoughts
So here are my random thoughts from my month with WP7, in no particular order.
Telephony functionality. It’s easy to forget the WP7 is actually a phone! The mobile phone capabilities were largely what I expected. Signal strength was no better/no worse than that of my iPhone (signal bar strength depends on location). The voice recognition system for dialing by voice is not as “fine-tuned” as the same capability on the iPhone. I look for this capability to be improved because that is a really important capability. When I’m cycling, I can use my Plantronics headset to dial by voice while riding! This capability worked better on the iPhone than WP7.
Another concern was with WP7, my phone unit and the carrier (AT&T), I did not have “visual voicemail” and time stamping. I would (often belatedly) receive a small voicemail icon indicator or message at top of screen. Let me give you an example. When I received a voicemail from John Iasiuolo recently, I missed the indicator and was tardy by a few days reaching out to him. Also – John left a simple message without reciting his telephone number, a common occurrence with many callers. However, the voicemail system for WP7 does not have the familiar refrain of: “Call left at 7:53AM from 206-201-2943,” which would provide you the return number to call or the visual indicator of said number that you could simply tap to redial.
E-mail. The coolest thing about WP7 is that is has Microsoft Exchange Server-based e-mail DOWN! The ability to create an attachment (even multiple attachments) while composing an e-mail was worth the price alone. WP7 contact management is stronger than iPhone and uses a rich tool called “People” that robustly provides “What’s new” social media updates, and tattoos each contact record with a known picture of your contact from Facebook. It’s a visual world, I’m a visual person, and I like the People feature in WP7.
The calendaring function in WP7 is much better than the same capability on the iPhone. Here’s why. Not only is the visual presentation better, but the appointments are more accurately recorded and updated. I’ve talked to more iPhone users than I can name who suffer like me with only some appointments appearing in your iPhone schedule. It seems that the integration between Microsoft and Apple for e-mail/contact/scheduling is not as robust as the Microsoft-to-Microsoft integration. WP7 clearly wins the area.
Applications. It’s well-known that Apple’s iStore has more applications than the WP7 Marketplace. I decided to put this theorem to a test by searching for one of my favorite iPhone applications, Dragon Naturally Speaking (Nuance). On my iPhone, I’m able to dictate, with reasonable accuracy, memos such as sales opportunities (to be pasted into our CRM system). The WP7 Marketplace has no such “Dragon” application instead returning songs, albums and games containing dragons. One application that is common to both platforms is the free Facebook application. In some ways, the WP7 Facebook app is better than the iPhone Facebook application. For example, the WP7 Facebook application has several additional features such as listing sub-events within events (e.g. Birthdays). Another example is a better organization of photos.
Photography. The built-in camera has 8MB resolution, which is very high and ready for publication. I was especially excited about that because it is a dramatic upgrade from my iPhone 3.x series. However, there needs to be both a better focus capability and also a way to stabilize shots (some shots were blurry that otherwise would be clear on the iPhone). I found the video capabilities to be comparable. I also really liked the dedicated shutter button on the side of the Samsung Focus (the iPhone uses a software shutter in its camera UI and I’m always having to train non-iPhone users how to take a picture!
Wensen Georges (Haiti) recently spent some time with Harrybbb
Texting. I found the WP7 texting function to be more robust because you could attach a picture from the messaging application. With the iPhone, the experience is exactly the opposite where you first go the photo and then text it.
Alarms, Timing, Clock. With WP7, I like the wonderful flute playing of “Alarm 2” to awaken me at dawn. The music starts off at low volume and every 10-secs when the refrain replays, the music becomes louder and louder. A gentle, but firm, kick in the butt to get your day going, and a much more humane approach than the iPhone alarm system. But the iPhone wins hands-down with respect to have a more robust clocking function and meets the following needs that WP7 can’t. I need a count-down timer for bike racing to time Harry Jr.’s intervals. I need a traditional stopwatch to time “gaps” with Geoff’s sail boat racing on the Bainbridge Island High School team. Unfortunately these capabilities are show-stoppers for me!
Battery Life. I found the run time for the two phones to be comparable. However, I swear it took more time to charge the WP7 device than the iPhone.
What Others Are Saying About WP7?!?!?
Where did I end up? What phone am I using now? Will the forthcoming WP7 Mango release warrant further discussion? All good questions…stay tuned and look for which phone I will have in my hand at SMB Nation’s Fall Conference next month!
Bricks-to-Clicks: Google Acquires Motorola Mobility
I cheered when Google announced its acquisition of Motorola Mobility earlier this week. A leading brand acquires the assets of a well-respected old school brand. Digging deeper into this story, I discovered the following. Google is bidding $12.5 billion to acquire Motorola Mobility but the net price is really $9.5 billion (net of Moto’s cash according to Eric Jackson at “The Street”). The acquisition results in over 17,000 existing plus 7,500 future patents going to GOOG. Jackson’s analysis points out that this makes the Moto deal a steal compared to the recent prices paid for Nortel’s patents.
Practically speaking – what’s up with GOOG+Moto marriage? On the surface, this is a vertical integration play to position GOOG to compete heartily against Apple and it’s iPhone category killer. GOOG apparently looks to synergies, quality control and profitability as it emulates Apples hardware+software strategy in mobility. Jackson doubts this will work, suggesting in his article that Moto will be an albatross if GOOG tries to make a go of it as a hardware manufacturer.
I spoke with Steven Hilton, Principal Analyst at Analysys Mason, about the GOOG+Moto deal. I think this acquisition is a great deal for Motorola Mobility shareholders and even if it fails a rounding error for Google,” shared Hilton (no relation to Paris Hilton). “The smartphone and tablet sectors are outrageously competitive and eking out a sizeable profit compared to Apple is going to be a challenge. Motorola Mobility was facing an uphill battle in a war that pitted it against one Goliath (Apple) and numerous Davids (HTC, LG, Nokia, Samsung). Google with its uber-popular operating system Android didn’t need to own a handset manufacturer to be successful. It had already created pull-through demand by building a strong application market and end-user demand. Even if the Motorola Mobility unit of Google doesn’t end up being highly profitable, owning a credible manufacturer where you can begin to incubate, pre-test, and implement new mobile-centric solutions is a good thing for Google. Google will now own a hardware vendor where its OS and applications can – in theory -- be leading-edge. Some consumer will be willing to pay for those types of solutions.”
My take? Microsoft acquired Skype for its push into telecom and unified communications and I suggest it’s not done yet. The WP7 market share is a bit light one year later. Microsoft likes Nokia…stay tuned…
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