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Microsoft admits iPhone limits are reasonable, copies them in WP7S



Word circling ’round the Internet is that Windows Phone 7 Series is going to be running with several of the same limits that have shackled the iPhone, namely lack of cut/copy/paste and running multiple third-party apps, not to mention lack of removable storage and a centralized app store. It’s almost as if they want to make a mobile operating system that non-geeks will want to use.

Look, I’m not going to argue that these aren’t limits that ultimately need to be overcome, but let’s face it: they didn’t hinder the iPhone and actually helped it.

Lack of cut/copy/paste was a bit embarrassing for the iPhone, but you can’t tell me it wasn’t a challenge to implement it in a way that worked consistently across different apps in an all-touchscreen device. Microsoft is facing that same challenge now, and it doesn’t surprise me that they’ll need to see the OS in the field before finalizing a good c/c/p implementation.

WP7S will allow certain processes to run in the background, like music, but third-party apps will not run in the background in their full glory. That would slow down the device and eat up battery life, same as we see in Android and jailbroken iPhones. There’s a compromise to be struck here, and I think Microsoft is hitting it the right way. I’ve argued that Apple should, for example, allow plug-ins for the iPhone iPod app to play music in the background. Microsoft’s approach captures the essence of that request. Credit where it’s due on that.

Yes, it can be (and has been) argued that Microsoft should already have these problems licked having done so for years with Windows Mobile. But Windows Phone 7 Series is a whole new OS with a very different approach. Rather than be disappointed, I’m impressed that Microsoft is taking things one step at a time, rather than haphazardly throwing in everything they can. The focus is on quality of functionality, rather than quantity of functionality. Can’t say that approach hasn’t worked before.



  1. Stuart

    03/16/2010 at 8:29 pm

    I don’t see how “lack of removable storage” is somehow a “geek thing”. Everyone knows how to add/remove memory cards if they have a digital camera or had any one of a number of phones with microSD. And now if they take pictures there is no easy way to get the pictures out unless they install the special software on their desktop because they can’t do USB mass storage. I don’t have to applaud a step backwards but they won’t be able to beat Apple at it own game.

  2. Ben

    03/16/2010 at 9:13 pm

    No multitasking is an understandable design decision. No copy/paste and no removable storage is stupid.

  3. Kenrick

    03/17/2010 at 12:48 am

    I disagree, this is Windows Phone 7, not MS-DOS. Android and Maemo phones have acceptable battery life, citing battery life and “user experience” seems pretty weak. The lack of copy/paste, multitasking, removable storage, and the locked-down app model worked for Apple, but they got away with it because the hardware/software integration was revolutionary in the iPhone and WP7S is evolutionary.

  4. Frank

    03/17/2010 at 12:49 am

    They also added very tight restrictions on the hardware. Currently MS creates a 1:1 copy of iPhone OS.
    I thought MS creates a mobile OS, as powerful and customizable as their desktop OS. So they can put it on mobile devices, other than smartphones, too, like their Curier, or other slate tablets. Sadly, this will be impossible with all the lacks mentioned.

    I think my next Smartphone will use Android or MeeGo.
    I was very excited about WP7, but now, I’m not interested any longer in this OS. It will be a great OS for the normal iPhone user, for casual smartphone users, who use it to browse, check mails, talk, play.
    It will be a useless device for a more advanced user.

  5. GoodThings2Life

    03/17/2010 at 4:44 am

    With regards to the app-store distribution, I keep having to remind people that Microsoft has already revealed that they are working on alternative software distribution methods geared for Enterprise/OEM usage.

    With regards to multi-tasking, every article I read that inaccurately describes the approach being taken infuriates me. App developers need only create a Live Tile for their apps and integrate into the primary hubs to take advantage of better multi-tasking capabilities. Something that doesn’t seem difficult at all, so stop whining about it… it’s better than what the iPhone has any way you look at it.

    As for removable storage, am I the only one that is somehow missing where that’s a restriction? I see a requirement for minimum 8GB internal storage but no restriction on inclusion of removable storage… unless I’m just overlooking something (in which case, I can accept my mistake on the point). Mind you, I have to admit that I bought an 8GB MicroSD drive for my TouchPro that I’ve moved to my TouchPro 2, and I’ve used less than 100MB of it in the past 2 years. I don’t keep music/pictures/video on it for more than a day, because I want that stuff synced to my computer not hanging out on my phone.

    Finally, the copy/paste thing is just stupid. After years of bashing Apple for it, and knowing that I use it literally every day on WM6, it ticks me off that they’d even think about leaving it out. “F— you Microsoft” on that point alone.

    Anyway, I’m still far more impressed with the demonstrated usability of WP7S than I’ve ever been with the iPhone. Android is a valid alternative though, and I can’t argue that I really like it too.

    • Sumocat

      03/17/2010 at 5:47 am

      Dig back through the link on removable storage. The lack of support is “confirmed” though that could be inaccurate for all I know. Thanks for further clarifying the multitasking approach. Seems spot-on with my proposed plugin idea.

  6. Jeff Jackson

    03/17/2010 at 9:24 am

    All I know is I have zero interest in a WP7S device. I’d rather just go to a feature phone and not have to pay for internet connectivity than put up with it being an inferior iphone clone. If I had wanted that, I would have bought an iphone.

    I’ll probaby try to pick up a Touch Pro 2 when my NE2 is up in July, assuming it’s still available. I probably won’t even upgrade it to WM6.5. A few years down the line, I’ll either go Android, or give up on the smart phone concept altogether.

    My disappointment with WP7S is total and complete. I have not read one single sentence or seen one single screen shot that didn’t turn me off of WP7S. I don’t just dislike WP7S. I actually hate it. It fills me with disgust and revulsion.

    • Bruce Miller

      03/17/2010 at 5:40 pm

      100% agree. WP7S looks like bad graphic design from 1965 (I know I lived through it). The “peek” into larger frame will exhaust users. How can cutting a month’s name in half make one want to finger around such nonsense? Has there ever been UI 3/4 hidden from view by undersized display REQUIRING scrolling? Of course, not.

      My Tilt2 purchase last month was spot-on. $370 unlocked, prepaid 3G service @ $3 gets unlimited day use, and Wi-Fi web with superior Opera beta 10 for free. Oh, and about 60 applications ALL on microSD with 55% free memory left available. Good to go until Android circa 2012.

    • GoodThings2Life

      03/17/2010 at 6:16 pm

      I will be keeping my Touch Pro 2 for the foreseeable future, but I will definitely go with the WM6.5 update upon its release (supposedly Friday for Sprint), but I’m definitely looking forward to WP7S too. As a Zune HD owner, I have grown quite fond of the interface and really enjoy how quick and responsive it is, and how quickly I can navigate around. From a functional standpoint, the only thing I’m definitely annoyed about is Copy/Paste, BUT as I said above and as has been reported today in several places … there WILL be copy/paste shortly after launch as an update. One Microsoft official is quoted as saying it was put “on hold” because they were concerned with their launch timetable.

  7. Medic

    03/17/2010 at 10:41 am

    Let’s hope that windows 7 phone series does not go the same path. If they do, then there is nothing orignal about the business model and the OS. The iPhone will definitely have a better phone. After all microsoft has had over 2 years of media data on the developments, and up and downs of the apple iPhone. Why reinvent the wheel, when it is already done. Leave that to the smaller business partners, but let microsoft innovate for once.

    The consumer is tired of copycats, and microsoft will certainly not be the cheaper alternative. Microsoft could then better invest in improving the current consumer electronics usage. Develop more in smartphone accesories, improve batteries, research in capacative screen inking. That will get business up and running. There plainly is less to spend in this econmic crisis.

    • GoodThings2Life

      03/17/2010 at 6:18 pm

      But it’s NOT a copycat. The interface and means of interacting with the device and data is completely different. The model of selling apps from an app store and the more consistent hardware models is tweaked up and improved, but it’s also a successful model, so why wouldn’t they take advantage of it?

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