Home Editorials WP7S looks great, horribly branded

WP7S looks great, horribly branded

Beautiful. That’s the one word I would use to describe the new UI on WP7S. I’d called for Microsoft to use Zune 2.0 as the basis for the rebirth of Windows Mobile (starting way back in Oct ’07), and they did not disappoint… except with that horrible name.

Remember when J.J. Abrams rebooted the Star Trek franchise and called his movie “Star Trek 11”? Or when Christopher Nolan rebooted the Batman movies with “Batman 5: Batman Begins”? No, you don’t because those guys know that refreshing a franchise means fresh numbering.

I understand wanting to stick with the “Windows” branding and changing the name to “Phone” gives it a fresh start. If they’d stopped there, I’d call the name an adequate, if boring, restart. But then they stuck on “7” even though this is the first OS called “Windows Phone” and, for some unfathomable reason, stuck another word on after that, eating up valuable headline space, ensuring the full name will rarely be used, if ever.

What really irks me is the contrast between the inspired UI and the uninspired name. There’s no way any of the guys who designed this work of art ever said “You know what would be a good name? Windows Phone 7 Series.” No, they were working on “Photon” and the “Metro” interface. Those are great names, as in “Wow, Metro on Windows Photon is incredible.” vs. “Wow, ‘the social networking interface on Windows Phone 7 Series’ is way too long to say.”

To make matters more ridiculous, word from istartedsomething (by way of jkOntheRun) is that Windows Mobile 6.5 will be renamed Windows Phone Classic. So the older one is getting a number-less reboot, but the new one isn’t? And what happens when the versions of either get updated? Windows Phone 7 Series 2.0?
Congratulations again to the engineers and designers who put together a winner of an interface. Sorry your winner was saddled with such bloated name.
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15 Comments

  1. Warner Crocker

    02/17/2010 at 10:55 pm

    Well at least Series as a capital ‘S’. Remember the ‘system’ in Microsoft Office?

    Reply

  2. Paul Harrigan

    02/17/2010 at 11:23 pm

    The 7 obviously is an attempt to tie it back to Win7.

    However, you are right that the name is just too bulky.

    Personally, I think it should just be Windows 7.

    Reply

    • zach

      02/18/2010 at 12:13 am

      Windows 7 really has nothing to do with this OS that I have seen. This naming scheme is equivalent to them making a “Windows Mobile XP Series.” Totally ridiculous.

      Reply

  3. Ben

    02/18/2010 at 1:26 am

    They should have gone with “wPhone” or “msPhone”. Everyone loves a stupid small letter stuck on the front of another noun…

    Reply

  4. smh

    02/18/2010 at 1:28 am

    Why not just call it “Mobile 7”?

    And for those that compare the name with windows 7: windows 7 is not correctly named because the kernel version is “only” 6.5, but on the other hand windows mobile has reached the 7th version.

    Reply

    • Philip Seyfi

      02/18/2010 at 9:55 am

      The kernel of Windows 7 is 6.5 for backward compatibility reasons. If it wouldn’t break any of the older programs they would use 7.0 instead.

      Reply

  5. Joe

    02/18/2010 at 3:03 am

    Honestly, I don’t even think this looks great. It looks interesting and different, yes, but interesting and different isn’t necessarily something I’d want to use on a day-to-day basis.

    Reply

  6. GoodThings2Life

    02/18/2010 at 6:39 am

    @Joe, you obviously haven’t even tried a Zune HD. The experience is quite simple, fast, and fluid.

    @Sumocat, the name is ridiculous, but name one product aside from Zune and Xbox that Microsoft has adequately named… I know the same criticism exists of the iPad, though, but does’t mean I wouldn’t rather see the bountiful number of articles discussing how it’s a revolutionary device that you just can’t help but love…

    Reply

    • Joe

      02/18/2010 at 7:56 am

      Actually, I have used a ZuneHD in fact. And while that sort of interface works okay on a dedicated media player, using it on a phone is entirely different.

      A similar analogy: I love the Windows Media Center interface on my media PC, but I wouldn’t like it if I had to use that as a launcher on my tablet every day.

      Reply

      • GoodThings2Life

        02/18/2010 at 9:14 am

        I think your analogy is flawed. Media Center is geared for a large screen device by design, whereas the Zune interface is designed intentionally for a small screen, but it’s also flexible enough to use fluidly.

        Of the demos I’ve watched this week and my own experience with Zune HD, the only concern I have is how to navigate long lists (like contacts) without having to flick a hundred times to get to the middle… I want a bit more control over my “scrollbar” experience.

        Reply

    • Sumocat

      02/18/2010 at 7:58 am

      GT2L: Even if I believed that being bad at naming things was some sort of defense, I actually think Microsoft hits it more often than not. Outlook, OneNote, Vista, even Bing are more than adequately named because they are easily recognized by those names. I don’t need to spell out “Microsoft Office Excel” to refer to Excel. I can’t say the same for WP7S or WPC. The best that can be done is using their initials, which is quicker to write but longer to say.

      Regardless, throwing “7” into the name kills the refresh, making it like “Superman Returns”, a movie that tried to be both a direct sequel to the first two movies and a reboot that lifted its plot straight out of the first movie. “I’m always around… oh, except for those years when I was off in space and missed the birth of my son.” Sequel or reboot, can’t have it both ways.

      Reply

      • GoodThings2Life

        02/18/2010 at 9:10 am

        Good point on some of the names like OneNote or Outlook. And don’t take it wrong, I’m not considering it a defense, just a… lack of surprise really. I think they are horrible at naming things. Windows Live Anything comes to mind… as does most of the System Center Anything on the IT management side of things.

        They really should have left well enough alone and either called it Windows Mobile 7 or just simply Windows Phone 7. I’m OK with the 7 there, because they know people love Windows 7, so why not leverage that? But Series is just awkward and doesn’t belong.

        Reply

      • GoodThings2Life

        02/18/2010 at 9:16 am

        PS– I hereby declare it the Dub-ya P 7’s! :)

        Reply

  7. sbtablet

    02/18/2010 at 8:35 am

    What I think is particularly odd is tacking “series” onto the name. There is no series, there is one new OS. And using “series” just serves to remind me that this is the buggy prototype, and they’ll be bringing out more, and maybe I should just wait for Windows Phone 7.1 or whatever.

    Reply

  8. Osiris

    02/19/2010 at 9:47 pm

    I feel confident Microsoft and its partners will be advertising their WPS7 devices pretty strongly when they roll out. I suspect alot of consumers are going to be hearing about or surprised with windows phones for the first time.

    I dont think it will be any impediment to the success fact is its a quick way to tie in with a popular product (win7) and create the idea of unified branding. The more worrying thing is whether this will continue in the future Windows 8….windows phone series 8…

    Reply

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