I don't care about what's inside your phone as long as the user experience is great

I just came across a post on Neowin today which must have been inspired by what I have been saying all along and especially this editorial I wrote back in February after I came back from Mobile World Congress. To put it simply: things haven’t changed since I originally posted what I did and people are now finding out that what I have been preaching all along may be somewhat true. Throwing endless numbers of processor into a device isn’t going to make the user experience any better especially the OS (hello Android) or app is bloated / badly coded or simply doesn’t take advantage of the hardware horsepower under the hood. Yes I everybody wants 1080P video encoding/recoding but nobody’s going to do this 90% of the time with his phone and that’s the point: if what I’m principally using isn’t perfectly smooth (OS, browser, apps) why should I care about one single great feature?


The same is in my opinion happening to screen resolution now where you can see OEM are cranking it up simply to differentiated themselves even though the overall end-user experience isn’t really impacted by it. Sure, a 4.7″ display will benefit from something slightly higher than WVGA (HTC Titan) but what would be the point if the whole device still didn’t feel 100% smooth and snappy (Android again…)? Get the software right before going nuts with the hardware. The iPhone is different in this regard simply because Apple wanted to keep the same screen size and retain apps backward compatibility that’s why they went for the so called retina display.The downside of this is that more than 4 years after the launch of the first iOS device we are still stuck with what is now one of the smallest screen offered on an high-end smartphone. Anyway I just shot a short video demonstrating what can be done with good code and design on Windows Phone 7 right row on a 1st generation handsets (QSD8250 SoC) and 2nd Gen device (MSM8255). The application shown in the video below is the french 20 Minutes app that can be downloaded here.

There will always be things that will be faster on newer devices but the core experience should always be the same as long as developers pay attention to all the details. Thoughts? Share them them in the comments below.


  • Max

    +1

  • Tfouto

    i dont agree. With similar specs, Android is much faster on loading apps times. WP7 is fast and smooth on 1 party apps and on the OS usage, but really slow on opening 3rd apps. I mean really slow. Like 7+ seconds to open twitter, facebook (Mango) while Android open them with 2, 3 seconds. A better chipset have also a better GPU, like 1080 and 3D and while you dont care about it, i care and others. Besides the most important thing. Reviews like Engadget and Verge, etc… All will put on reviews: The downside, screen and CPU and GPU a generation behind, so its a disadvantage even if you care or not. Look at IPhone 4s, it’s dual core with a much better GPU. Why wp7 should remain with the same shitty talk of we dont need it?

  • Tfouto

    besides even if you dont care, people who never used wp7 and people who will buy a new phone, some of them look at specs and want ‘the better ones’. So there will be always people who care. MS should look at all, not just at people like you. Besides have you seen the comparisons of Iphone 4s and HTC titan on 3D and web browser speed?

  • Max

    Tfouto, what you are actually saying is:
    - 3rd party apps are slow. Typically when its bad coded. Solution: code better.
    - Better chipsets solve this. But think it like this: better coded means less money spent on hardware. Low-cost phones ftw.
    - It depends if you only read reviews or not. If a review says to kill yourself, it doesn’t nescerally mean to kill yourself.
    - I hereby conclude you are one of those hypers who only care about reviews who say ‘omfg this phone has a 100 gHz processor, buy it’. That’s awesome for you.

    There are two ways to solve a problem, the right and the wrong way.

  • http://94octane.com Beezer

    7+ seconds to open twitter, facebook? Do you know how long 7 seconds are? I think you’re way over-exaggerating here.

    Another thing to consider is look at Apple machines (the real computers, remember those?). They have last years hardware, but are more expensive than any other machine and still do well in selling?

    Android is WinMo, where it was only good on higher end devices. People with the cheaper phones got the short end of the stick.

  • Anonymous

    Tfouto – while I agree with you on some points I feel like this is just the beginning much like how the first iPhone lacked many standard features such as 3G and video calling. Hell the iPhone only came up to date with the iPhone 4.

    WP7 is only the beginning. It was a test subject and it passed. WP8 will be the real deal for Microsoft. Nokia will pull out the big guns. Many more OEMs are awaiting ut to release their devices. Dual Core will be supported. Better GPUs. And should work seamlessly with Windows 8 and Xbox. And although by then there might be a quad-core Samsung Galaxy S III or something, and you might still consider Windows Phone to be a generation behind, but when will this race stop? Who guarantees you the more cores you have the better? The new generation Windows Phone devices, such as the Nokia 800, Samsung Omnia W, Focus S, all have 1.4Ghz processors and are just as fast, if not faster than the dual core Galaxy S II, LG Optimus, etc. The Galaxy S II has a better GPU but it doesn’t take advantage of it. The games are so badly compiled and none take advantage of the hardware acceleration that these same games run better on a single core, year old, slow GPU. As the blogger wrote, what good is a quad core, dual core, penta core, etc., if the apps you have won’t take advantge of it?
    I believe all WP8 phones will have dual core, even the cheap ones. I also believe Microsoft will ask developers to recompile their existing apps to take advantage of the dual core system and to work better just as how they asked the developers to recompile their apps for 7.5.

  • Tfouto

    yes, i have count it…

  • Tfouto

    “- 3rd party apps are slow. Typically when its bad coded. Solution: code better.”

    Actually its not just bad coded. Its the way wp7 is made. It happens on panorama apps. It takes long longer to load an ‘heavy’ structure. You have an nice panorama hub wp7, but its heavier to load. a dual core would make a better performance on that.  

    “It depends if you only read reviews or not. If a review says to kill yourself, it doesn’t nescerally mean to kill yourself.” No comments, interesting logic.

    “- Better chipsets solve this. But think it like this: better coded means less money spent on hardware. Low-cost phones ftw.” why are you reducing everything to better coding? IPhone 4s it an optimised OS and already have dual core support. I am not against better coding, its just stupid to say that i dont want dual core just because i want better coding. It’s two separated matters…

    “- I hereby conclude you are one of those hypers who only care about reviews who say ‘omfg this phone has a 100 gHz processor, buy it’. That’s awesome for you.”

    I am just saying that why not having better hardware? Its faster and have better batery life, because of smaller sizes of the chips. The we dont need it, its just an excuse by Microsoft instead of we dont reach it there yet, our OS dont support it. I have an HD2 and will have for a long time, i am not one of those who spend money everytime a new phone is out.

  • Tfouto

    yes i know its just the beginning and it will come. MS actually cares about multi-core experience because they know the advantages that will bring.

    You are saying that are ‘As the blogger wrote, what good is a quad core, dual core, penta core, etc., if the apps you have won’t take advantge of it?’ and ‘The Galaxy S II has a better GPU but it doesn’t take advantage of it. The games are so badly compiled and none take advantage of the hardware acceleration that these same games run better on a single core, year old, slow GPU.’  Well just because some (lots) apps dont, doesn’t mean all do. In fact there are games who have the GPU optimised for Android. And the overall Android experience its better just because of it. You cant justify the we dont need it, just because there are apps who dont take advantage of. Every new technology takes time. The same with Mango, why having Mango if lots of apps are yet Nodo compiled?

    The fact that multi-core exists it gives you the possibility to achieve better performances, and that should be the goal.

  • Tfouto

    its like having 1.4ghz against 1ghz or 205 adreno vs 200. If wp7 its great on 1st gen, why having them on 1.4ghz with 205Adreno? why not dual-core with 220 Adreno?  Its just until the middle of the road? I dont get it… It seems to me an excuse of people who want to bindly defend wp7, just because they do. I am happy with wp, but why not multi-core and better chipsets who also consume less battery?

  • Tfouto

    There’s lots of people with cheap Android phone’s, who are really happy. I know some friends of mine.

  • Gnoid

    totally agree. I have told this to many people. Most of them will deny like some Tfouto said, but they just Window phone and Apple hater. They will usually said flash player in browser… blah blah blah. Until adobe also want to kill its flash for mobile. They are simply android fanboys.

  • Gnoid

    Tfouto, i have something to ask you. Why do you want better hardware?

  • Tfouto

    ster performance, better battery life, better GPU, better cameras, better video, etc.

    if wp is fine now, imagine it faster? I think that wp have slow apps loading times compared to Android and IPhone.

    People say the like it now, but none said they didnt like the 1.4ghz and the 205 adreno. why not dual-core and 220 adreno? Does everybody who wants multi-core must be an anti-wp, or is just you are a windows phone fan biased?

  • Tfouto

    i am not an windows hater. i have windows 7, wp7 when i could have Android, etc… please try to see the world a little larger then your narrow sight allows you to see…

  • Gnoid

    What will be benefited from the better hardware? smoothness?. Even the older hardware from WP is smooth. The main goal still achieved. It doesn’t matter what hardware is it. The main purpose is make the system smooth and fast only. 

  • Tfouto

    no, its much more then that. Better camera’s. 1080 video, 3D, faster app loading, faster browser, better GPU experience, etc.

    Again why does 1.4ghz and 205 Adreno exists if 1 generation is perfect?

    Loading times of 3rd party apps are slow. I mean slow. Please compare Android or Iphone and Windows phone 3rd party loading times and see for yourself.

    smoothness its just not going up and down on the live tiles and on list of apps, its much more then that. Its the overall experience.

  • http://twitter.com/big_slim750 LaMar aka Big Slim

    IDK… I’d rather wait an extra 5 seconds for loading a more stable app, than deal with force closes and such…

    Also, are you speaking of the app being started, or the app being started AND the content loaded. If it’s the latter, that can sometimes depend on the internet connection.
    My Facebook app on WP7 started in 5 seconds, and content was loaded at 9 seconds. Did Android load that Facebook app that you witnessed from a fresh start, or was it resumed from multitasking?

    Not bashing, just wondering.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5HNEWJ4RTOPQ42TI6B3RP3UZBE Frasse

    wp7 has failed so badly,
     for three years ago wp has got a market share of 5%
    now the market share is under 1%
    6.5 has failed Kin has  failed wp7 has failed.
    Samsungs own OS Bada Outsells wp7.

    I think with no games and no apps its hard to compete.Lte or 4G or Dual core. wp7 is outdated loosers OS

    I stay with my Iphone

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5HNEWJ4RTOPQ42TI6B3RP3UZBE Frasse

    wp7 has failed so badly,
     for three years ago wp has got a market share of 5%
    now the market share is under 1%
    6.5 has failed Kin has  failed wp7 has failed.
    Samsungs own OS Bada Outsells wp7.

    I think with no games and no apps its hard to compete.Lte or 4G or Dual core. wp7 is outdated loosers OS

    I stay with my Iphone

  • Tfouto

    Let’s talk again in 2 years…

  • Tfouto

    I have made the test now:

    HD2 wp7 from Nand (Mango version)
    Facebook 5 seconds opening, 13 seconds content display (maybe internet connection slower then yours).

    HD2 Android 2.3 from SD  
    Facebook fresh start – 2 seconds opened the app, 7 seconds content display.

    well i dont know why the content display is so much faster but maybe because Android allow the compression of data transfer, while windows phone not. If the data is compressed and have half or one third of the size its much faster transfer, since the decompression of data on the phone on a 1ghz its pretty fast.

    i use wp7 on a daily basis, but the loading times of Android apps are almost always much faster… (3rd party)

  • Didi

    Tfouto, your test is not relevant. WP7 running on HD2 is a hack…

  • Gnoid

    As a end user of a smartphone, They won’t truly care about what inside the phone. Even if the manufacturer said there are thousand core inside the phone when there is only a single core actually. People will only think that they are smart to choose a supercomputer as their smartphone. They won’t really know what inside the phone. Unless, you disassemble your phone and check it out. People just will judge the user experience in the software level. Hardware just one of the proper way for them to show off. I doesn’t mean window phone no need an upgrade in the future. I just want to highlight that superb hardware just a way of marketing their phone by manufacturer. What really important is the user experience. 

  • Anonymous

    I whole-heartedly agree. Granted, having multiple cores and what-not is cool. However, it is not necessary. Just like having a front camera and voice recognition is cool, but it is not necessary. The specs race is not what hurts Windows it’s simply marketing. So while dual-core would be nice, single core second generation is fast enough. People still view Evo as high-end and the vast majority do not buy a phone for its specs but rather how well it’s marketed. Look at iPhone 4, it still sold well in an age of Dual-cores. The Evo 3D wasn’t marketed as well as the original Evo and thus you usually don’t see it as much as the Evo when it debuted. The new iPhone 4S on Sprint is inferior to the Epic Touch 4G & Photon 4G as regards specs, yet when iPhone came out on Sprint, many people said “I’m gonna get the iPhone!” Don’t get me wrong, I welcome spec improvements in WP7, however, it’s not a dealbreaker for me to choose a different OS.

  • Tfouto

    are you kidding me? is this a joke? And Android on HD2 is what? The timing on HD2 is identical, i have compared with videos on youtube.

  • Tfouto

    yes, but it better hardware you’ll have better user experience, so i dont see why not having multi-core and better GPU. You will notice the difference, of course you will not need to update your phone, but for people buying a new phone why not?

  • Gnoid

    Better hardware not equal to better user experience. Same as PS3 vs Xbox360. PS3 have 8 cores of processor (correct me if i am wrong) while xbox360 have only 3 cores. The same performance you can get in the same game. So, good user experience not necessary require a very good hardware only. 

  • Max

    Tfouto, you say ‘heavy’-coded apps take longer to load, and improved hardware could make it all smoother. Totally true.

    Still many factors apart from hardware are here to blame. For example:
    - The more junk apps on your smartphone, the less memory, the less CPU capacity etc. Take a good look at what you actually use, and throw away the rest.

    - Coding. Why would I use VLC Media Player to view a movie on my pc instead of Windows Media Player? Exactly, because VLC Media Player is much faster. Now you explain to me how this is possible when both apps are used on the same pc, but still quite differ in speed. They both serve the same goal: playing media. This is also the thing with many, many other programs. Code better. Serve your goal.

    - We are greedy. We want more when it works. Smartphones work, video chat over 3G works, multitasking works, filming in HD works. We want more.

    And there are probably many more factors. All of these are also probably fixable with better hardware. People get a phone with better hardware, take advantage of it, install junk, notice they actually need better hardware, get a new phone, and the same thing happens over and over again. Don’t try to deny it, I know everyone here in in this same, similar situation, even me. It’s one, giant, vicieus circle.

    Why else am I be posting here if I would still use my Nokia E50? Because I want more, more, more, and yes, more.

  • Max

    Actually, he is quite right….

    You will never be able to make a fair comparison between an hack on an unsupported device and a stable OS on a supported device. Impossible.

  • Bob

    “Better” UX on dual cores for a much shorter time sounds like a raw deal to me. I know so many EVO 4G and iPhone 4S users who are locked to their desks all day. Their mobiles are no longer mobile! Sorry, I will take my 12 hours usage Arrive (OMG 1st Gen!) any day. THAT’S a good “user experience” IMO.

  • http://www.gadgeterija.net Denis Jelec

    Because it requires a kernel change, for one. ’tis comin’ along.

  • Anonymous

    TFouto, its not about being faster…its about being optimized to take advantage of the faster processors. Which is why you don’t really notice much difference between the newer android dual core phones. Sure Its faster..but the OS is not optimized. Obviously its a good thing to have more options available but if you know your history, WinMo did this already and it lead to a huge mess of incompatibility issues.  I remember the old days where you had many different screen sizes and resolutions, some apps only worked on certain windows phones, others would work but wouldn’t fit the resolution…etc etc. 

    MS has learned from these mistakes, the have learned to put out a phone built from the bottom up not the top down. The OS is buttery smooth, on outdated tech. The battery life is pretty damn good.  If you just beef up the specs without optimizing them you will end up with random battery drain all over the place.  Many Android users can attest to this.  

    Moreover if you provide a stable ecosystem in which to build on it means that as you move forward to bigger and better processors you will always be able to keep older phones alive.  This is massively important, you must be able to maintain the same user experience across the lineage.  OEM’s may change the interface but the EXPERIENCE will be the same….whether your device is 2 years old or 2 months old, you should be able to go to the market and download the app you want with no problems.  The only way to ensure this is to maintain the ecosystem and optimize the performance before you start pumping out beefier specs.  

    Sure its good to have 3D, 1080P recording,  ridiculous resolutions, and all kinds of other forward thinking gadgets, but at the end of the day most people just want their phone to perform. They want it to perform consistently, accurately, and precisely. They don’t want the buyers remorse that comes from buying the ‘new hotness’ only to have massive battery drains because the OS is bloated and eating up memory.  They don’t want processes running in the background for days eating RAM, they don’t want to have to download marketplace apps to do basic phone functions….those days are gone.  Out the box the phone should be able to do its job all the time, EVERY TIME.  3D, 1080P, PSP functions, blah blah blah can wait.  And that is the point of this article. Google is driving innovation at a ridiculous rate but they have never stopped to think, ‘maybe we should slow this down and get it right’ its always on to the next big thing.  MS is taking a calculated measure here, as they have died once trying to do what google is attempting currently.  Year 1 is done.  It is a competitive market now…something that it wasn’t when Android arrived.  MS has a lot of work ahead of them, but they are doing wise to not put the cart before the horse.  This time next year we can revisit this conversation.  There will be WP8, Win8, XBox360, (possibly higher if the rumors are true) and tablets running one unified Metro look.  The muscle will be under the hoods and it will be ridiculously integrated… But Android will probably be on Octo-core processors by then…lol. 

  • Jibberish 18

    It’s all about the money. Manufacturers can sell phones that are “Hawt” as Paris Hilton would say. What’s that you say? Dual Core 1.5 Ghz with a stupendous GPU that Android CANNOT natively take advantage of? It’s all about the software. I just saw benchmarks for Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 and it’s amazing how much of a leap it’s made from 2.3. Simply amazing. It’s like the leap I saw on my iPhone 4 going from iOS4 to iOS5. And guess what? The Galaxy Nexus has a SGX430 GPU in there. Yup. About on par with the Adreno 205. In the end it’s all about the sales. I believe in getting as much as you can out of a given technology. I’m not saying you shouldn’t advance. Far from it. We should ALWAYS advance, but goddamn it don’t advance when you don’t have a good reason too, besides money.

    Really, you could preach this all the live long day and it won’t matter to some people. It’s like they ignore reality. And what is the reality? There are shitty OS’s with fantastic hardware. Their are fantastic OS’s with Shitty Hardware. There fantastic OS’s not optimized. There are shitty OS’s optimized. Everything and in between.

  • Anonymous

    sorry for this extremely late reply but let me just say this much Tfouto, 1st party apps do load amazing on wp7 as you noted.  3rd party apps are really slow as you noted.  However a few things I noted about android which in my opinion are FAR more important.  Not all apps are available for all android phones.  I just bought a phone for my nephew and he’s wondering why he can’t view watch streams on his phone…turns out his phone isn’t compatible with flash.  This is just an example. You have all these android phones with all these specs and very few can actually do what I want them to do out the box.  I understand the point of having better specs gives more possibilities, however you aren’t even acknowledging that I completely agreed with that point.  The point I was making was about optimization.  Sure we would all like to have the 3D, 1080P phone but if it isn’t optimized by the developers all you have is another niche phone EVO 3D, PS Phone, Echo, etc etc. I’m all for dual core, I just don’t want Microsoft to just DO IT the same way google has, I want them to take their time, I want them to make the OS around the specs that way its built to maximize its potential.  Its like a well built car.  If you just put a motor under the hood it might still be fast, but if you don’t optimize the important stuff like headers, exhaust, filters, etc then you just have a car underperforming. Android underperforms