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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.