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Can Windows Phone 7 Take on Android?

Posted by Alan at 7:23 PM on July 16, 2010

In November, not soon enough, I will be eligible for a new cell phone.  Don’t get me wrong, I have been happy with my Samsung Omnia running Windows Mobile 6.1.  It’s reliable, it has WiFi, and I’ve added lots of apps such as WeatherBug, Google Mobile, and TouchTwit.  Google Maps works great with the built-in GPS, YouTube plays well…really there’s nothing to complain about.  I can even tether (if you’re an iPhone user you may need to look up this term) using PdaNet.

But for the past few months I have had Android-envy.  First I wanted the Motorola Droid and then/now the HTC Incredible.  I am interested in the Motorola Droid X, but it may be too big – I need to see one in person.  I love what I see of the HTC Evo, but I have no desire to leave Verizon.

Recently, though, it has occurred to me that when I am finally able to get my new phone, Windows Phone 7 devices will be very close to hitting the market.  Being a Zune user, and knowing Zune is built in, I want to take a long look at this product.

So what will they offer out of the gate, and how does it compare to Android phones?  I looked at Android 2.2 and tried to make a comparison.

  • Multitouch - Both
  • Multitasking - Android has full capability, Windows Phone 7 will be limited to start
  • Default browser – Android has Chrome, WP7 has IE
  • Tethering - Android does Wifi and USB, WP7 Unknown at this point
  • Copy and Paste – Android is yes, WP7 is no (initially)
  • Keyboard - Both support on-screen and physical
  • Music Store – Android is third-party, WP7 is Zune
  • Music Streaming – Android is yes, WP7 is unknown
  • Flash - Android is yes, WP7 is no
  • Maps with Turn-by-turn – Android via Google, WP7 via Bing
  • Games - Android is yes, but not great, WP7 has Xbox Live
  • Books - Both are no (but Android has a beta of Audible available)
  • Office suite – Android has Google Docs, WP7 has Office Mobile

So, based on this, Windows Phone 7 wins in a couple of places – namely Office Mobile over Google Docs, and Zune over no particular music store (but, even though I have a Zune, I use Amazon MP3).  However, the Zune streaming service is a great deal, especially because of it’s 10 free downloads per month.  The fact that I don’t use it may says more about my penny-pinching than anything else.  I just want to buy the occasional song, and I use Amazon for that.  I am not a gamer, but if I were I would think the nod here would also go to WP7.

Where does Android come out on top?  Well, multitasking, default browser, copy and paste, Flash, and probably books.

There are a few unknowns in WP7.  Namely tethering and music streaming.  But since WP7 is unknown the nod would have to go to Android for being the known quantity.

The only draw I see is in Maps and turn-by-turn directions.  I have to say that Bing is every bit as capable as Google in this area.

So, my bottom line?  Well, November is still a ways off and I assume we’ll learn more about WP7 in that time…but as of now, I have to think I’ll be buying an Android.  Two years after that it may be a whole different story, but, for now, Android has this battle under control.  I don’t ever count Microsoft out though.

7 Comments

  1. From Jesse at 2:26 pm on July 17, 2010

    A lot of android phones are still stuck on version 1.5 so I really don’t think they have much of anything under control haha. Android needs to figure out a way to update their phones and also to release phones that aren’t already out of date.

  2. From tomwiles at 11:18 pm on July 17, 2010

    I’ve had two Windows Mobile phones, the first one with WM 5, and the second one with WM 6 and then later upgraded to 6.1. The phones worked okay, if a bit sluggish, with terrible battery life if I used the screens too much. I also found out the hard way that Windows Mobile, just like a Windows computer, can get corrupted by installing certain applications that required a factory reset to fix. The phones were functional.

    I’m now the owner of an HTC Evo, which I’ve had for about a month or so. The Evo is an amazing device and I really like HTC’s implementation of Android. It’s amazingly fast and solid.

    Would I ever go back to a Windows Mobile phone? I seriously doubt it. It’s Windows — unless Microsoft makes a radical departure from the way they do things, WM 7 will have to support legacy programs written for prior versions. Therefore it will likely suffer from the same type of CAB, EXE, DLL and Registry problems that pre-WM 7 versions suffer from. If any friends ask me which smartphone to get, I would steer them away from Windows Mobile. I really have nothing against it or Microsoft, but experience tells me there are far better choices that are now available. The free apps in the Android Marketplace alone make Android stand head and shoulders above Windows Mobile.

  3. From Blipoa at 7:06 am on July 18, 2010

    tomwiles:

    WP7 is a complete reboot from the ground up. It is not compatible with Windows Mobile, hence the change of name. Take a look at the videos available in Youtube.

    To emphasis the departure from Winmobile, the OS is like no other phone OS you’ve seen – Android and Apple IOS are mere derivatives of each other.

    Tethering is via Wifi – not sure about USB though. Flash has been confirmed for the next update.

    What also sets WP7 apart is it’s seamless integration of Microsoft’s core business facets: Windows Live (via the cloud; eg. hotmail, Skydrive, Messenger, Live calendar etc), XBox Live, Zune, Office and integration with 3rd party services such as facebook, youtube, linkedIn, etc.

    What’s innovative is that these services, including 3rd party services are integrated – you won’t need a separate app for Facebook updates and a separate app for Live or LinkedIn. Likewise, your contacts for these services are combined in one location. IM works in the same way, regardless of whether its Facebook or Live, for example.

    I think it’s this functionality that may give MS the edge over the usual one function/one app model.

  4. From teemark at 12:06 pm on July 18, 2010

    Microsoft has been clear that WP7 is a clean break from all earlier versions of Windows Mobile. No legacy support at all – a change for Microsoft, and I think, good in this case.
    While it will run the WinCE kernel, the Metro UI (also a clean break from earlier WinMobile phones) runs on top of the .NET framework. All apps will also run as managed code and have no access to the underlying OS.
    This opens app development to all .NET, Silverlight, and XNA developers. I’m really hoping WP7 takes off so app development has a chance to grow, and provide a viable 4th platform to compete with RIM, Apple, and the Android market.

  5. From tomwiles at 3:20 pm on July 19, 2010

    I wish Microsoft the best. However I don’t perceive much excitement or anticipation around the new WP7 platform. I really hope from a smartphone competition standpoint that Microsoft is able to pull something good off with it.

  6. From GNC-2010-07-20 #594 Post Show Insider Recorded - Geek News Central at 1:45 am on July 20, 2010

    [...] Atlantic first Crewed Flight. Verizon LTE Coming Soon! Charge your batteries by shaking them? Windows Phone 7 vs Android. Gizmodo State of Apps. Redbox next step. How close to sun can you get? VAD. KATA Blow up Camera [...]

  7. From Rigoberto Scordato at 6:27 pm on July 23, 2010

    Microsoft isn’t any stranger to having companions galore in the cellphone enterprise, but its lineup of producers for the upcoming, surprisingly promising Windows Cellphone 7 launch is not any much less impressive. After plenty of rumoring, Microsoft has confirmed that Dell and HTC will likely be making Windows Phone 7 telephones, along with ASUS, LG, and Samsung who had already been confirmed. All of these firms ought to have their stamp on hardware by the tip of the year, with the launch of the OS nonetheless vaguely slated for the “holidays” We now have little doubt that all five producers can construct some compelling, horny hardware, however we’re significantly enthused to see Dell really stepping into the game after the spectacular Streak and that drool worthy leak a little while back. learn more at http://www.wp7forum.com followers group.