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Old 02-15-2010, 04:48 PM
Blackwheel Blackwheel is offline
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Default Windows Phone 7 will kill the Zune HD

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Today Microsoft revealed Windows Phone 7, a completely rethought mobile OS for a new generation of users who demand an aesthetically pleasing, organized environment for work and play.

"Every 7 Series phone will be a Zune." -Joe Belfiore
(corporate vice president and director of Windows Phone Program Management)

One of the points Microsoft has made clear is that this new OS goes beyond simple Zune integration and instead, essentially drops the whole Zune experience into a compact application within the OS itself.







So my question is, where does that leave the Zune HD's hardware and OS? Windows Phone 7 allows for an open environment while still delivering that full signature Zune experience, an ideal setup.

It's easy to compare the Zune HD and Windows Phone 7 relationship to that of the Ipod Touch and the Iphone, but this is a very different situation.

The Iphone minus the phone equals the Ipod Touch.
Windows Phone 7 minus the phone does not equal the Zune HD.

There are many interesting and useful features that were demonstrated in today's conference that are not present in the Zune HD's OS.

Furthermore, this Windows Phone OS has been designed for a controlled range of innovative hardware. So would it not make more sense for an open device running Windows Phone 7 minus the phone to take the Zune HD's place?
For example, there are currently a few media players out there that are running Google's full Android OS.




Windows Phone 7 could signify both an end for Zune hardware and a new role for the Zune brand as a software component for the entertainment side of Microsoft's services. Microsoft excels through their software by allowing other vendors to produce new and interesting form factors. The company should extend this business plan towards the media player market.




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Old 02-15-2010, 05:43 PM
tsupersonic tsupersonic is offline
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Well to say it will kill it is a stretch I think. I mean look how well the iPod Touch does, and where it stands up to the iPhone, so that means there's still a market for PMP based devices.
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Old 02-15-2010, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by tsupersonic View Post
Well to say it will kill it is a stretch I think. I mean look how well the iPod Touch does, and where it stands up to the iPhone, so that means there's still a market for PMP based devices.
The touch is an iphone without the phone part. The Zune HD is different from WinMo
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Old 02-15-2010, 05:54 PM
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Well to say it will kill it is a stretch I think. I mean look how well the iPod Touch does, and where it stands up to the iPhone, so that means there's still a market for PMP based devices.
Even if it doesn't kill the hardware, Windows Phone 7 could certainly kill the Zune HD's spirit. The iPod Touch keeps pace with all of the iPhone's features that don't require phone capability. If the Zune HD isn't updated to match Windows Phone 7's functionality in every non-phone-related way, it will start to look like a severely feature-crippled little brother to Windows Phone 7, rather than a venue to have the Windows Phone 7 experience without a phone subscription (which is exactly what the Touch excels at -- providing as much of the iPhone experience as is possible without a phone subscription).
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Old 02-15-2010, 06:00 PM
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I see what you mean, but if anything it may mean more apps will become available for the HD. If the Zune stuff is integrated into the phone, the Zune software and apps will get more attention from windows on the whole.

That being said, when my next phone upgrade comes around, I may have to get a WinMo7 phone. It would make the Zune Social finally a viable and cool system. The ability to view a friends recently listened to songs can make for some fun conversations ("Hey Bob, what were you doing listening to Cher a few minutes ago"). Also, the ability to DL a song anywhere with the Zune pass would kick some ass.
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Old 02-15-2010, 06:05 PM
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Not everything has to follow "iphone does this, itouch does that" philosophy...there is no reason why both will not go side by side...the telltale sign of addtional functionality for the zune HD will probably be found out at the developers conference coming up...
perhaps zune HD2 will integrate more closely but like anything "next gen", who really knows for sure until it drops for the masses...
Who really cares to be honest, unless you are sitting on the fence waiting to buy a zune hd...then I might...might...wait a bit longer and then pick up the new phone 7 if I needed a new phone as well...however not everyone needs a phone and this is probably why for the immediate 1-2 years there will be zune hd or something like it...

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Old 02-15-2010, 06:12 PM
tsupersonic tsupersonic is offline
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Even if it doesn't kill the hardware, Windows Phone 7 could certainly kill the Zune HD's spirit. The iPod Touch keeps pace with all of the iPhone's features that don't require phone capability. If the Zune HD isn't updated to match Windows Phone 7's functionality in every non-phone-related way, it will start to look like a severely feature-crippled little brother to Windows Phone 7, rather than a venue to have the Windows Phone 7 experience without a phone subscription (which is exactly what the Touch excels at -- providing as much of the iPhone experience as is possible without a phone subscription).
Microsoft themselves have said the Zune HD is a media device, it's not meant to have the apps/features like an iPod Touch or Windows Phone 7 (hubs). The Zune HD isn't crippled in any way, it does what it's supposed to do, which is be a portable media player. The hardware is just fine for what it does.
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:00 PM
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Why does Windows Phone 7 have to kill the Zune HD? We will hear more about Windows Phone 7 at MIX10 where they will talk about apps development. I see the Zune HD become like what the iPod Touch became for the iPhone. Obviously Zune is now the marketplace and store for Windows Phone 7 where the Zune HD very well likely share the same apps as Windows Phone 7. Also if Windows Phone 7 becomes a hit more people will buy the Zune HD because of the Zune experience kind of like what happen to the iPod Touch and the iPhone.
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:14 PM
Blackwheel Blackwheel is offline
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The only other way I can see the Zune HD surviving is if they update the OS to this new Windows Phone 7 OS. Anyway, by the time Windows Phone 7 ships, we will probably be looking at a second generation Zune HD.

At this point, it's actually unclear as to what extent this new Phone OS works with the Zune desktop software, is it required when syncing media?
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:43 PM
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I see what you mean, but if anything it may mean more apps will become available for the HD. If the Zune stuff is integrated into the phone, the Zune software and apps will get more attention from windows on the whole.
I hope so too.

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Not everything has to follow "iphone does this, itouch does that" philosophy...
Very true. But considering (1) Microsoft has quite transparently mimicked the iPod business model with their Zune line, (2) the iPod is the indisputable face of the market, and (3) the Apple philosophy dominates consumer understanding of and expectations for mobile media players, the comparison is a tough one to avoid (and not be stung by without further progress on Microsoft's part).

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Originally Posted by tsupersonic View Post
Microsoft themselves have said the Zune HD is a media device, it's not meant to have the apps/features like an iPod Touch or Windows Phone 7 (hubs).
Yup, and users themselves have pointed out that the buying public increasingly expects more from their portable media devices (thanks in no small part to the influence of the market leader), no matter how Microsoft postures on the matter.

In any event, if Zune players aren't updated to follow the iPhone/Touch philosophy once Windows Phone 7 debuts, I personally anticipate the dedicated Zune device's role in the market diminishing even more with time.
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Old 02-15-2010, 09:21 PM
Blackwheel Blackwheel is offline
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Also, the "zune-hd-is-strictly-a-media-player" argument does not hold much water at this point. Is the Windows Phone OS any less of a media player than the Zune HD OS? The answer is no. This notion that the Zune HD should limit itself to a narrow field of capability, because the user may get distracted and do something other than listen to music is simply absurd. When that strong media player foundation is established, (and it has now been established), then why not expand the capabilities of the OS to include all the features of this new Windows Phone OS.
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Old 02-15-2010, 09:33 PM
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Also, the "zune-hd-is-strictly-a-media-player" argument does not hold much water at this point. Is the Windows Phone OS any less of a media player than the Zune HD OS? The answer is no. This notion that the Zune HD should limit itself to a narrow field of capability, because the user may get distracted and do something other than listen to music is simply absurd. When that strong media player foundation is established, (and it has now been established), then why not expand the capabilities of the OS to include all the features of this new Windows Phone OS.
I'll have to respectfully disagree. While a PMP like the Zune HD Can be labeled as "just a media player" and get away with it, a smartphone cannot. With constant connectivity, a phone built-in, and a reputation (Windows Mobile) for being business oriented, Windows Phone 7 HAS to be an all in one. Also, keep in mind that these are either subsidized on a contract, or sold at retail for about $500-$600. A Zune HD standalone is only $180-$250. There's a price difference because there is an intended capability difference.

The Zune HD is what it is, primarily a media player. If you want something with more capability, you buy something with more capability. I'm not about to go buy a Toyota Corolla, and then demand that Toyota issue a recall and turn it into a Ferrari. I know, not the best example, but my point is this; MS is positioning the Zune HD as strictly a portable media player, and nothing more. It pissed me off for awhile too, but I've come to accept it. I feel that it's darn good for the most part as well. However, like you, I'm also bothered by some of the limitations, especially the ones it seems that MS could readily fix.

Also, there's this huge misconception going around these boards that the OS in the Zune HD and Windows Phone 7 are the same. This is absolutely absurd. While both are based on the Windows CE 5.2 kernel, the one used in the Zune HD is stripped to the point of being unrecognizable. It's like the Windows CE 2.0 kernel that was used for some Dreamcast games. That OS was stripped down to DirectX and some other necessary aspects, but there was no way to port some of PocketPC's favorite software to the Dreamcast without a great degree of difficulty due to the differences in the OS. The Zune HD's WinCE foundation is so "gimped" that it really cannot do much outside of media playback.
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:07 PM
Blackwheel Blackwheel is offline
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I'll have to respectfully disagree. While a PMP like the Zune HD Can be labeled as "just a media player" and get away with it, a smartphone cannot. With constant connectivity, a phone built-in, and a reputation (Windows Mobile) for being business oriented, Windows Phone 7 HAS to be an all in one. Also, keep in mind that these are either subsidized on a contract, or sold at retail for about $500-$600. A Zune HD standalone is only $180-$250. There's a price difference because there is an intended capability difference.

The Zune HD is what it is, primarily a media player. If you want something with more capability, you buy something with more capability. I'm not about to go buy a Toyota Corolla, and then demand that Toyota issue a recall and turn it into a Ferrari. I know, not the best example, but my point is this; MS is positioning the Zune HD as strictly a portable media player, and nothing more. It pissed me off for awhile too, but I've come to accept it. I feel that it's darn good for the most part as well. However, like you, I'm also bothered by some of the limitations, especially the ones it seems that MS could readily fix.

Also, there's this huge misconception going around these boards that the OS in the Zune HD and Windows Phone 7 are the same. This is absolutely absurd. While both are based on the Windows CE 5.2 kernel, the one used in the Zune HD is stripped to the point of being unrecognizable. It's like the Windows CE 2.0 kernel that was used for some Dreamcast games. That OS was stripped down to DirectX and some other necessary aspects, but there was no way to port some of PocketPC's favorite software to the Dreamcast without a great degree of difficulty due to the differences in the OS. The Zune HD's WinCE foundation is so "gimped" that it really cannot do much outside of media playback.
First of all, I want to say that I do not at all believe the Zune HD OS and the Windows Phone OS to be one in the same, that's actually what bothers me here.

I see your point about price range and how these device are going to line up price wise. But here is my take on the situation. Today, more than ever, the industry is being flooded by low cost, high performance processors. I believe it is economically feasible to produce a Windows Phone spec device and put in on the market in that 200 dollar price range. The Zune HD is a fairly powerful device, and it seems that the device is fairly capable of running this new Phone OS. Processors are only getting cheaper, and as Tegra 2 and other processors arrive, the question of whether or not a device can be sold at a particular price range is going to depend more and more on how big of a profit margin the company wants to make and less on whether or not the notion is economically possible.

If it is possible to deliver a device with a full range of capability at around the same cost as one with limited capability, it is logical to produce the former, simply because the device will then attract more wallets.

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Old 02-15-2010, 10:22 PM
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First of all, I want to say that I do not at all believe the Zune HD OS and the Windows Phone OS to be one in the same, that's actually what bothers me here.
I mistakenly drew this conclusion when you stated that you wanted to see Windows Phone 7's capabilities ported to the Zune HD. So many here have come out and said that they're the same OS, I mistakenly assumed you were jumping aboard. I just wanted to clarify that porting over those capabilities to the Zune HD isn't as easy as some would think.

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Today, more than ever, the industry is being flooded by low cost, high performance processors. I believe it is economically feasible to produce a Windows Phone spec device and put in on the market in that 200 dollar price range.
At $200? Not today. Tegra 2 costs more than Tegra APX. The Zune HD only uses 128MB of unified memory, while it seems that Windows Phone 7 will uses 512MB. The screen is higher end than anything currently used by mainstream PMP. A 16GB Zune HD with that chipset, memory, and screen would likely cost over $400 today. By fall, who knows, maybe they'd get it under $300, but who wants to pay that much for 16GB?

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The Zune HD is a fairly powerful device, and it seems that the device is fairly capable of running this new Phone OS.
I'm not so sure. It has a quarter of the rumored memory, and the CPU/GPU is no more than half as powerful as Tegra 2. It would have to run a scaled down version, but I don't think the Zune team has the resources to cut the OS, nor would the Windows Mobile team try to recompile their OS for a lesser device. I'll meet you halfway and say that the Zune HD should be able to technically run a customized version of the OS, but the resources aren't currently there to make it a realistic possibility.

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Processors are only getting cheaper, and as Tegra 2 and other processors arrive, the question of whether or not a device can be sold at a particular price range is going to depend more and more on how big of a profit margin the company wants to make and less on whether or not the notion is economically possible.
If Zune HD 2 uses Tegra 2 and more memory, I'd believe that it might be poised as a PMP version of Windows Phone 7, ala the Ipod Touch and Iphone. But, the Zune HD's current iteration, IMO, will never get those capabilities due to hardware limitation. Still, I get the funny feeling that MS isn't even considering going the PMP/Phone route like Apple did. I feel like they just want to focus on the Zune service integration into their 3 screens and a cloud. Just to clarify though, that's pure speculation on my part.
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:34 PM
Blackwheel Blackwheel is offline
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I mistakenly drew this conclusion when you stated that you wanted to see Windows Phone 7's capabilities ported to the Zune HD. So many here have come out and said that they're the same OS, I mistakenly assumed you were jumping aboard. I just wanted to clarify that porting over those capabilities to the Zune HD isn't as easy as some would think.



At $200? Not today. Tegra 2 costs more than Tegra APX. The Zune HD only uses 128MB of unified memory, while it seems that Windows Phone 7 will uses 512MB. The screen is higher end than anything currently used by mainstream PMP. A 16GB Zune HD with that chipset, memory, and screen would likely cost over $400 today. By fall, who knows, maybe they'd get it under $300, but who wants to pay that much for 16GB?



I'm not so sure. It has a quarter of the rumored memory, and the CPU/GPU is no more than half as powerful as Tegra 2. It would have to run a scaled down version, but I don't think the Zune team has the resources to cut the OS, nor would the Windows Mobile team try to recompile their OS for a lesser device. I'll meet you halfway and say that the Zune HD should be able to technically run a customized version of the OS, but the resources aren't currently there to make it a realistic possibility.



If Zune HD 2 uses Tegra 2 and more memory, I'd believe that it might be poised as a PMP version of Windows Phone 7, ala the Ipod Touch and Iphone. But, the Zune HD's current iteration, IMO, will never get those capabilities due to hardware limitation. Still, I get the funny feeling that MS isn't even considering going the PMP/Phone route like Apple did. I feel like they just want to focus on the Zune service integration into their 3 screens and a cloud. Just to clarify though, that's pure speculation on my part.
I'll admit that I am unaware of the memory requirements for the Windows Phone OS, but even if the current Zune HD is incapable of running Windows Phone OS, I strongly feel that the next Zune device will for around the same cost.

Also, if you look at the history of Zune devices and their respective release dates, the holiday release of Windows Phone OS does fall in line with an assumed Zune hardware refresh.

So, taking that into account, I think the Zune team will just maintain the current Zune HD as strictly a media player while slowly releasing apps for the device to satisfy consumers and tide them over until the holiday season.

Also, what is your take on the marketplace? Do you think it will be a unified one?

Last edited by Blackwheel; 02-15-2010 at 10:48 PM.
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:35 PM
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Very true. But considering (1) Microsoft has quite transparently mimicked the iPod business model with their Zune line, (2) the iPod is the indisputable face of the market, and (3) the Apple philosophy dominates consumer understanding of and expectations for mobile media players, the comparison is a tough one to avoid (and not be stung by without further progress on Microsoft's part).
I agree one hundred percent. While I may hate it, the fact of the matter is that Microsoft will try to copy Apple's success, because those of us that don't want an iPod are too small a market compared to the masses that DO want an iPod. not everyone (unfortunately) has been lucky enough to see websites like ABi that offer a glimpse into the alternative to the overpriced, overrated, and overadvertised facade of glory that Apple provides.
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:47 PM
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I'll admit that I am unaware of the memory requirements for the Windows Phone OS, but even if the current Zune HD is incapable of running Windows Phone OS, I strongly feel that the next Zune device will for around the same cost.
Definitely. I think that MS will once again aim their prime media player at the $200/$300 pricepoint. I Also suspect that they might aim to keep an existing model around at a lower pricepoint, say $150ish, ala the 8GB Ipod Touch.

Quote:
Also, if you look at the history of Zune devices and their respective release dates, the holiday release of Windows Phoe OS does fall in line with an assumed Zune hardware refresh.
Agreed. Who knows, maybe a Zune HD2 will essentially be a Windows 7 Phone minus the phone. At this point, anything can happen.

Quote:
So, taking that into account, I think the Zune team will just maintain the current Zune HD as strictly a media player while slowly releasing apps for the device to satisfy consumers and tide them over until the holiday season.

Also, what is your take on the marketplace? Do you think it will be a unified one?
MS has stated that there will be two app stores, so to speak. The store meant for Windows Phone 7 will be very similar to Android Marketplace and the Itunes app store in that there will be an approval process, but it's open to pretty much anyone. This app store will not be for the Zune HD.

The Zune HD "app store" will continue to be as it is now, pretty much closed to 3rd parties without direct input from MS. I suspect that these apps may be run on a Windows Phone through the Zune software, but this has not been confirmed. There's nothing stopping a Windows App store developer from taking their app to MS for approval for Zune HD, although the smaller userbase and ad-supported model might deter most from doing this.

We'll need to see what MS does with a Zune HD 2. If it's just a refresh of the existing model, the above will continue to hold true. However, if a refresh incorporates Tegra 2 and other Windows Phone specs, we might see a unified app store that includes THAT device, just not the first gen Zune HD.
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:55 PM
Blackwheel Blackwheel is offline
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Definitely. I think that MS will once again aim their prime media player at the $200/$300 pricepoint. I Also suspect that they might aim to keep an existing model around at a lower pricepoint, say $150ish, ala the 8GB Ipod Touch.



Agreed. Who knows, maybe a Zune HD2 will essentially be a Windows 7 Phone minus the phone. At this point, anything can happen.



MS has stated that there will be two app stores, so to speak. The store meant for Windows Phone 7 will be very similar to Android Marketplace and the Itunes app store in that there will be an approval process, but it's open to pretty much anyone. This app store will not be for the Zune HD.

The Zune HD "app store" will continue to be as it is now, pretty much closed to 3rd parties without direct input from MS. I suspect that these apps may be run on a Windows Phone through the Zune software, but this has not been confirmed. There's nothing stopping a Windows App store developer from taking their app to MS for approval for Zune HD, although the smaller userbase and ad-supported model might deter most from doing this.

We'll need to see what MS does with a Zune HD 2. If it's just a refresh of the existing model, the above will continue to hold true. However, if a refresh incorporates Tegra 2 and other Windows Phone specs, we might see a unified app store that includes THAT device, just not the first gen Zune HD.

Personally, I'm hoping for a unified marketplace but that might be later down the road as you stated.

Whatever Microsoft is planning right now, one thing is for certain, they have a really great opportunity here.
I hope DaveMac also stops by soon, it would be interesting to get his perspective on the matter.
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:57 PM
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I've been able to predict how the Touch would improve during it's life, probably because I've grown up in a parallel world with Steve Jobs. I can't imagine where the Zune HD will end up, because I don't think there is one person behind it that knows.

I'd love it to inherit a few of the Zune Phone characteristics, but without the required three buttons the UI would have to be tweaked to work. Hopefully one of the reasons we haven't seen the facebook app yet is because it's like what's on the phone UI and they didn't want to reveal it before now.
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Old 02-15-2010, 11:02 PM
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Personally, I'm hoping for a unified marketplace but that might be later down the road as you stated.

Whatever Microsoft is planning right now, one thing is for certain, they have a really great opportunity here.
I hope DaveMac also stops by soon, it would be interesting to get his perspective on the matter.
The problem with Dave is (and this is not his fault) he can only go so far with his personal opinion. Also, he can't comment on or announce things that have not yet already been announced. I suspect, however, that he will love the new Windows Phone much more than the existing OS due to his owning an Iphone, and the new Windows Phone going for the same kind of model.

I'm a year away from buying a new phone. There's a lot that I like about Android, so it's currently my favorite choice. As much as I'd consider a Windows Phone, using the Zune HD has made me realize just how much I dislike using a device that doesn't support drag and drop, and requires a specific program for transferring files. So while the new Windows Phone model doesn't generally appeal to me, I do think that it's the right thing for MS to do in order to regain their competitiveness in this market.
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