My WP7 Trophy Wife

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I can’t afford a trophy wife. Rather, that’s the name I’ve given my new HTC Trophy. Get it? Trophy wife. HTC Trophy. Now you have a taste of what my students have to endure.

Unlike a trophy wife, the HTC Trophy cost me only 1 cent. I took advantage of Microsoft’s WP7 phones for a penny. But also unlike a trophy wife, I had to buy a voice and data plan. However, I already have a family plan on Verizon. So for voice, the additional phone is only $10 per month, sharing in my bucket of family minutes. For data, I bought a relatively minimal plan.

I’ve been using the HTC Trophy as my main phone, forwarding calls from my HTC Droid Incredible, for which I’m still waiting for a suitable Android or BlackBerry replacement.

So what do I think of the HTC Trophy and its Windows Phone 7 OS? Read on.

Live Tiles

The UI consists of tiles. They’re “live” in the sense that they update in real time, showing, for example, the number of unread messages or unheard voicemails. You press a tile, you open that application. You can have many tiles – you just swipe and they scroll vertically.

Of course, too many tiles could interfere with usability. However, you don’t need a tile to access an application. Instead, you can choose an arrow to the right of the top tiles. That opens an applications list.

The UI actually is not that different functionally than iOS and Android. Instead of icons, tiles. The tiles are larger than the icons. Also, you have only one screen of tiles instead of multiple screens of icons. And no folders.

Of course, as with any new UI, there is a learning curve to figure out how to do something or where something is. But the learning curve is no worse than on iOS or Android. Just be prepared to spend some time exploring the device and/or consulting with Mr. Google.

In summary, I like the UI. Do I like it better than iOS or Android? I don’t think it’s better or worse, just different, really a matter of taste. But – and I realize it’s very subjective – I enjoy using the WP7 UI.

OS

The current WP7 OS version is called NoDo. It should be called NaDa. True 3rd party app multi-tasking? No. Visual voicemail? Nyet. Custom ringtones? Nada. To parrot Microsoft’s WP7 commercials: Really?

But the next OS version, Mango, is coming, reportedly mid-October, maybe sooner. Mango reportedly will support all these missing features, and more. For more information on the upcoming Mango improvements (and corresponding deficiencies in NoDo):

But I don’t have Mango. There is a developer’s beta. However, I don’t want to risk trashing my phone. So all I can evaluate is NoDo. But with Mango around the corner, it’s probably unfair to evaluate WP7 based on NoDo, an OS that is 1.0, or maybe 1.1.

Specs vs. Performance

I was worried about the the Trophy’s unimpressive specs. 1 GHz single core processor, 512 MB ROM, 576 MB ROM. By Android standards, so yesterday. Would these less than overpowering specs translate to sluggish performance?

The short answer: No. Performance was fast and smooth. No force closes or other lock ups. A real pleasure to use.

That’s no to say there are no performance issues. The primary one I’ve experienced is that some third party (as opposed to built-in) applications take a seemingly long time to load. I don’t think this is a processor or RAM issue, since the built-in apps like mail and IE load fast. Perhaps it’s poorly written 3rd party apps. Or perhaps it’s the OS. I’ve read reports that 3rd party apps load much faster in Mango.

So again a more complete evaluation means waiting for Mango. And at about the same time as Mango, there will be new and more powerful WP7 phones. But I suspect that the difference maker will be Mango, not the more powerful specs, simply because (IMO) the current problem is not the specs, but the NoDo OS.  

XBox and Zune integration

This may be a big plus for XBox users. But I can’t comment on this. I don’t own an XBox or other dedicated game device. Nor do I use Zune except when I have to as the iTunes equivalent to WP7. 

Why WP7?

As opposed to iOS or Android? Particularly since Microsoft has come so late to the party.

IMO, the relevant comparison is to iOS, not Android. Microsoft has locked down WP7 similar to how Apple has locked down the iOS, though not to the same extent. And probably for the same reason: Better performance and less fragmentation. The freedom (or anarchy) of Android comes at a price. Microsoft also has locked down the hardware specs. Of course, Apple doesn’t have to, as there is only the iPhone.

The phone experience between WP7 and iOS is similar. So what are the key differences?

The relatively new WP7 Marketplace can’t compare to the established and huge Apple AppStore. Not now, and likely not for the near future.

Where WP7 may have an advantage is that it offers variety in the manufacturers and form factor of phones. Microsoft may be riding herd on the hardware specs, but there still is variety, and probably more to come with Mango. With the iPhone, there’s only one at a time, love it or leave it.

Being a techie, the phone diversity appeals more to me than the larger app store. But I suspect that for most people, the fantastic Apple AppStore may be the deciding factor. Though if Apple stands pat on the iPhone design, I wonder that it might eventually become stale in the minds of consumers.

I think WP7 has a lot of promise. But it comes very late. I’m not just referring to iOS, but Android also. Given these entrenched competitors, I’m just not sure how WP7 will effectively differentiate itself. Certainly not by the “Really?” commercials.

Even if the next generation of WP7 phones show a lot of new features, so do the Android phones. Also, history seems to teach that most consumers don’t buy specs, they buy ease of use. It’s hard to compete against the iPhone in this arena.

I’m not sure I’d bet against Microsoft since I think it is in for the long haul. But I think it will be a long haul for Microsoft to grab a significant market share from its competitors.

3 Responses to “My WP7 Trophy Wife”


  • When I was told I had a “trophy wife” I asked, “What place did I take?”

    I was kidding of course, really, I was kidding.

  • Yeah, be careful that your wife is out of earshot when you joke about that. I learned the hard way. Ouch.

  • I came to your blog to write jokes about your apple devices, but this caught my attention. Especially since microsoft announced windows 8, and the based model for it is windows 7 portable. I think that keeping the os closed is better, since the reason I don’t netflix in my vibrant is the security discrepancies of android. I think that could be solved with a server side computing model for video streaming, but I’m not an expert.. Is not like using opened will make phones cheaper.. They still charge $500 bucks without the plans.

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