Is Windows Phone 7 really launching today ?

I don’t think that I’ve ever posted a “rant” here before but I think that today’s a good day to do so. As you have probably heard, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 retail launch is supposedly taking place today in Europe and Asia. Things aren’t looking good thought and I’m going to try to give you the low-down on what is going on.

First let’s talk about the so called “reviews” posted late last night. A number of websites, blogs ,journalists were handed out Windows Phone 7 loaners after the Oct 11 launch event to write up their Windows Phone 7 reviews for today’s launch. Frankly I’m still scratching my head here and wondering what that thing was all about. Only one single review was really worth reading IMO and ironically it was done by a non-gadget/mobile website but by the highly respectable AnandTech. But the vast majority were just rehashs of what we already knew about the OS without much thought put behind them (tho… love it or hate it Engadget’s Joshua Topolsky had some really good points in his write up…) BTW, where are the non UK/US reviews? Isn’t the product launching all over Europe and Asia TODAY (and only in 2 weeks in the US)? Why didn’t non-English speaking websites get loaner devices too? My case is a bit different thought, the site is in English with 90% of my readers coming from the US but I’m located in France so I was bound to be screwed anyway lol. But still, I don’t understand why no marketing or PR effort was done outside of the US/UK ….I’ve also noticed websites posting what I would call “fake reviews” based on hands-on impressions. If you see a review that doesn’t contain any camera sample (photos/videos) and only videos/photos shot during past events (like the launch event on Oct 11) then you know that something isn’t right. 

Now lets talk about the third-party applications currently in the Marketplace. The number one complaint in yesterday’s write ups is the apparent lack of quality of some of the third-party applications already released. I think that you all have seen the videos of some of these apps running slowly,being unresponsive etc so I won’t add insult to injury  and repost them here. As you probably already know I’m building a MobileTechWorld application for Windows Phone 7 and because I have never coded anything before in my life it’s taking quite a bit of time to finish and I want it to work as it should before submitting it. There’s no excuse thought for the lack of polish in some of the big names apps in the Marketplace. These are well known developers and folks who also had access to devices for a while now so it’s kind of maddening to see that relatively simple things (for them not for me obviously) like Tombstoning  and correct handling of page.states and isolated storage seem tp have been thrown out of the window. Microsoft actually tried to convice me to submitt my unfinished app last week but I refused and frankly I think that I made the right decision (no way in hell am I going to release something that I never ran on a device for more that half an hour too). Being the first in the Marketplace is cool and good from a marketing point of vue but it can also severly backfire in your face if your application isn’t as good as it should. I’ve been looking at the reviews already posted in Marketplace and apparently lots of applications lack correct tombstoning behaviours among other problems (one has to wonder how they passed certification). Users will be quick to blame the OS for this when the problem comes from the app and the developer. Also, some of the big names apps that where announced/schowcased during the past weeks/months are still nowhere to be seen…

Lastly: Where are the devices? That’s the question in everybody’s mouth today. Well, to put it simply: There’s no stock. As you have probably seen reported all over the web today, it’s a total pain to get a hold of one. Not a single retail store (online or not) has a Windows Phone 7 device in stock. Not a single carrier besides Orange has a device in stock and the handfull that they have are primilary LG Optimus 7 devices (nothing wrong with this one thought:). Nothing from HTC and no Samsung Omnia 7 either. I’ve phoned a couple of the carrier retail stores (mainly Orange and SFR) and the vast majority of them don’t even know what Windows Phone 7 is (wow!) while the rest doesn’t know when the devices are going to be in stock and aren’t expecting anything before early November. So how are potential users supposed to buy the devices on launch day ? How are non-US/UK websites bloggers supposed to do their work if no reviews samples are made availalbe to them (HTC isn’t exepecting to send me units before November and I didn’t hear anything from LG or Samsung) and devices can’t be bought too?. Frankly it’s a clusterfuck. Update: HTC and Samsung are apparently going to be nearly 2 weeks late (Orange who has an exclusive on the Mozart here is claiming that the device won’t be out before November 2nd)

This doesn’t change the fact that the product is good and may be a success in the long run but let’s all forget about October 21st and just pretend that Windows Phone 7 is really launching on November 8th.

  • Zedox

    Ironically enough, I signed up with AT&T a couple days ago (US) and they didn’t know about WP7 nor the release date nor the phones that were coming out. Shame.

  • Le Chiffre

    a cluster fuck indeed

  • ???? ???

    Just like me in my thirties, I always judged software I developed by the efforts I put in. It is an easy mistake engineers and engineer companies make.

    While I appreciate the amount of effort Microsoft engineers put in it does not change the fact that it is incomplete and even after reading the Anandtech review I stand by my comment done elsewhere.

  • David Olsen

    I received one of the loan units in Australia, the loan agreement terms were.. onerous to say the least. In addition, Microsoft is managing the roll out of review handsets themselves rather than letting the manufacturers send out review units as happens usually. My understanding is now that the handsets are available publicly (at least here) manufacturers will start throwing them around more freely and we might get some in-depth reviews.

  • MobileTechWorld

    Yeah that’s what I heard…the thing is that I got a call from MS’s PR 2 days ago (one week after I asked them what was going on with review samples..) where they told me that they didn’t send any devices here (in France) which is btw the opposite of what LG and Samsung told me during the Oct 11 event… On the other hand HTC told me upfront that their reviews samples were going to be late and that I shouldn’t expect mine to arrive before November. I just met with LG a2 hours hours ago and got told that they didn’t have review samples because they were short on retail stock (sure…their was about 10 final Optimus 7 devices being passed around all night..), problem is that they did hand out devices this week (several French website have posted so called “reviews” with the device just a few hours ago…). I know that the fact that the website is in English is part of the problem here but I hate the feeling of being jerked around like that. At least it doesn’t seem to be a problem for HTC who was always cool since the beginning.

    The bigger problem is the fact that nobody seems to be able to buy one given that nobody has any stock…

  • Anonymous

    Same with me. I tried asking AT&T rep and they nor their manager knew anything about Windows Phone 7. What happened to that $500 million advertising driving force Microsoft?

  • electronic signs

    i am waitting for Windows Mobile 7 system now .