Microsoft Reveals Its 'Me Too' Smartphone

Sick of not having a horse in the smart phone race, Microsoft has conjured up its own iDroidBerry, the Windows Phone 7.

Revealed at a press conferenceMonday, the $200 phone is coming in five flavors in the United States, split between AT&T and T-Mobile. The AT&T phones will be out Nov. 8, with the T-Mobile units following later that month.

The phones boast a tile interface that I’m having a hard time determining is different than what any other phone offers, and the phones will be all up in Microsoft’s pet applications and services, including Xbox Live, Microsoft Office Mobile, Zune, Windows Live and Bing.

Whatever the results, it’s doubtful Microsoft will botch this thing worse than it did the Kin.

New Devices on Display as Windows Phone 7 Availability Dates Announced [Microsoft]

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  1. Blueskylaw says:

    Though I might not buy this thing (actually, I won’t), the extra competition will be good for consumers and might help bring prices down a bit. After all, do phone companies really need to be making record profits all of the time?

    • GuJiaXian says:

      No doubt. Even if these phones aren’t the next hot thing, isn’t competition a good thing for, you know, consumers?

    • apd09 says:

      but this is not creating competition for the phone companies, it is just a phone that is going to be available for AT&T and T-Mobile. It is like LG, Samsung, and countless other phone manufacturers who sign contracts to develop and sell phones for a specific platform, see iPhone finally being available for Verizon.

      It is not going to bring down prices at all, just going to try to get people to switch to AT&T or T-Mobile, but with the number of savvy consumers out there I don’t see how Windows can think this is a good idea with the epic fail they have had over the years with any product other than Operating Systems.

      • jason in boston says:

        I have been trying to find a patent post on engadget from Google for a while but cannot locate it. It basically patents the “auction system” of cell phone plans. The assumption is that the phone has both CDMA and GSM chips in it. There is a layer of software that will have the wireless providers bid for your service. I think this would be the only way that would force wireless providers to actually have to compete.

        • KillerBee says:

          CDMA vs GSM won’t be an issue much longer once all the major carriers switch to the 4G LTE networks.

          • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

            CDMA and GSM will definitely continue to be a problem, given that most phones will have to have some sort of legacy radios in order to interface with the “old” 3G and 2G hardware that won’t be going anywhere.

            Add in all of the M2M hardware out there that will be utilizing old network architecture that still works, and don’t worry about there still being network flavors to worry about.

          • jason in boston says:

            And how many decades do you think that LTE will take to roll out? There are many parts of the country running EVDO (non-rev a), EDGE, GPRS. Also, WI-MAX is actually out there and running.

            The problem with both 4g and LTE is the short range. The wireless companies are going to have to buy more real estate and put up more towers to even come close to their 3g coverage.

            I have used LTE(verizon wireless test last summer) and WiMAx. They both are fast and reliable, but get more than a mile away from the tower and 4g degrades too much to stay connected.

            • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

              Beyond that, there is the fact that 4G networks simply aren’t needed for the vast majority of mobile tasks. M2M especially.

              Legacy networks will be around because it makes no sense to get rid of them. Especially where coverage is concerned, older technologies are best left standing.

              4G is great, but it sure won’t end the technology religion wars.

      • Blueskylaw says:

        More phones = more choices = more competition somewhere in there = hopefully lower prices somewhere along the line for something phone related = I’m done

        • apd09 says:

          More service providers/carriers= more choices = more competition somewhere in there = hopefully lower prices somewhere along the line for something phone related = now
          I’m done

          • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

            Even that is arguable at best. More carriers doesn’t necessarily mean better service as networks become more fragmented. Remember how great networks were in the 1G days?

            Oh wait, they sucked. Roaming cost serious money, long distance wasn’t free, minutes cost even more, and you were often lucky if the network even covered all of your own city.

            The massive nationwide networks have been amazing for the consumer. Prices have come down considerably given inflation, and you get a helluva lot more for your dollar today than you did just a few years ago.

            We only pay more today because we choose to buy phones with greater feature sets and data. If we didn’t use data, then most people would pay a fraction of what they would have during the 1G or even 2G network eras.

          • mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

            Not likely to happen anytime soon unfortunately.. The cost of entry as an actual wireless provider (building cell towers and other infrastructure) as opposed to an MVNO is massive! Plus do we really want more towers dotting the landscape as far as the eye can see?

            Really the best solution to fostering competition would be for the Govt. to buy all towers from all carriers and lease usage directly to MVNOs or even to end-users. But you think folks are squawking about “socialism” now over healthcare??

            • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

              I don’t know that that’s true, either. If you look at countries with government-built networks, they weren’t exactly competitive until after privatization. What they did provide, however, was well-built networks. Docomo comes to mind.

            • Blueskylaw says:

              “Plus do we really want more towers dotting the landscape as far as the eye can see?”

              Yes, jason in boston needs a greater return on the shares that he bought.

          • Blueskylaw says:

            Curses, foiled again in my attempt at logic.

      • bsh0544 says:

        What would you expect Microsoft to do? Give up? There’s a successful business model.

        They’re doing the only sensible thing, giving up on the old OS and making a new one. Personally I think it’s headed in a promising direction, and only time will tell if it pans out to be awesome or average.

      • Saltpork says:

        Office, Exchange, Sharepoint, Server, SQL Server, XpEmbedded, XBox360.
        The world of MS extends far beyond desktop OS.

        A smartphone is a logical conclusion for a company this big.
        I will not be getting one as I’m happy with the phone I have.

    • jason in boston says:

      As a shareholder of all 4, yes.

      • Blueskylaw says:

        Try buying commodity stocks after the Dollar strengthens up a bit.

      • Phil Villakeepinitrreal says:

        And that’s exactly the mindset by investors that leads to CEOs being paid for immediate monetary results at any cost, causing them to make choices that keep the profits up but destroy the company in the end. As opposed to the proper strategy of long-term, sustainable growth.

    • SpendorTheCheap says:

      Cost of a phone is a one-time sunk cost that pales in comparison to data and voice rates over time.

      This is going to do nothing for voice and data rates, which are damn usurious.

  2. Tim says:

    Whoa. It’s got Bing. For seriously?

  3. CaptainKidd says:

    November 9th: The first ever smartphone botnet is discovered.

  4. mojomarc says:

    Microsoft has had a smartphone for years–they used to share the market with the Blackberry. So it’s not that they didn’t have a horse in the race, but that their horse was completely past its prime. Secondly, I’m not sure how you call it a “me too” entrant when the Windows Phone 7′s approach is quite different from the other contenders in the space and paying just a bit of attention would help you see that there is a massive difference between application based interfaces like the iPhone and Android and activity hub-based interfaces. Still not sure it will succeed in the marketplace, but it shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this is a pretty different approach, Phil.

    • SideshowCrono says:

      Yeah its a real shoddy story.

      Maybe Consumerist should just stick to bringing us more opinion neutral Consumer-centric stories and less ill-informed opinions about topics the writer clearly doesn’t have a grasp of.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Or maybe you can just deal with a little sarcasm from the writers. They ARE people, and thus have personalities. This blog isn’t specifically for you.

        • jason in boston says:

          Yeah but it’s Phil. If this was Ben or Chris, I think the sarcasm would have been a little more clear instead of coming off uninformed.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            Really? Because every single writer adds sarcasm or humor in some form. That’s how it always is. The point isn’t for them to try to get you to rally to their opinion, the point is to entertain while inform. When one of them writes “Hey, look! A new shiny!” I don’t know why some people instead hear “Hey, look! A new shiny from the Conservative Socialist Extreme Evil Kitten Killers that Hire Outsourced Labor and Eat Babies.”

            Just take the information, and try to enjoy a little fun while you’re at it.

    • PanCake BuTT says:

      Well written & an interesting P.o.V., thanks for your input. *(No sarcasm).

    • oblivious87 says:

      You noticed the problem with this post at the very end… Phil wrote it. The guy tries to be funny by bashing everything. Just do like I do, setup a filter in you RSS reader to mark all his articles as read… its just too bad I saw the link about the Windows 7 phone and wasted my time reading it.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I think you answered your own question (if there was a question. Didn’t I see a question?). Windows has been out of the phone market for a while, by virtue of obscolesence. Their previous phone isn’t popular, so if they want to be in the smartphone market (Phil’s “Me, Too” factor) then they need to be innovative.

      So to say that any – and I truly mean any – company wants to be in the smartphone market, they need a “Me, Too” attitude about it.

      Or, you know, you could bash Phil without any real reason. After all, evidence shows people are more willing to bully others online than in person because its anonymous. But Phil’s a person, too. Ass.

      • mojomarc says:

        I’m bullying by calling him out with legit questions about his reporting? Well if that makes me an ass, then I guess I’m an ass. Frankly, I don’t understand how bullying entered into the conversation–maybe you definite it as a simple critical post. If so, I guess I’m bullying you here, Loias, since I think your interpretation of Phil’s comments is exceedingly generous to the point that if that is truly what he meant than the rest of his post doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. There–feel the bully wrath!

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          There’s a difference between constructive criticism and a bully attitude. You wanted to be critical of Phil, not provide an alternative position.

      • DanRydell says:

        Phil doesn’t read these comments. If he did, he’d correct the mistakes in his articles and he’d be more careful not to make so many mistakes.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Would you read them if they always contained hate speech about you?

          • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

            Yes.

            I read even the words of my most vicious and loud critics, if only because they might contain a modicum of truth.

            I’ve learned a lot more from those who disagree with me than those who simply agree with me.

            This is especially necessary for someone who wants to be a journalist. During my time as a journalist, I found it was especially important to bring in critics, because it was often too easy to simply run with the crowd.

          • DanRydell says:

            He can make an effort to do a better job, or he can ignore his flaws and be content with making mistakes. It’s clear which option you’d pick.

    • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

      Yeah, I usually feel bad for the guy, but good God. He can’t tell how this is different? I watched four minutes of Microsoft’s kickoff video and saw how it was different.

      For those, like paid staff of this website, who are too busy to check it out, you can think of this OS as more “application-less”. Sounds bad but it’s not; a straightforward example is being able to respond to someone’s Facebook comments via their contact tile. It also integrates Facebook and Windows Live into one “stream” – good if you have work friends with whom you use both communication methods with, for example.

      Also, for those of you that use OneNote or SharePoint, get ready to shit your pants (in the good way.)

  5. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Is that $200 with or without a contract?

  6. XianZomby says:

    Readers will draw their own conclusions in the comments, thank you.

    Can we perhaps get a report on the features of this phone, the software it will come with, the models that will be available, their cost, the data packages, and what it means to the consumer?

    Thanks.

  7. aloria says:

    Windows has been producing smart phones, or at least the OSes for them, for ages. Windows CE, anyone? HTC Tilt, anyone?

  8. vastrightwing says:

    I think we’ve seen the end of innovation in the smart phone competition. The reason is due to all the different companies owning patents for everything. No one is going to take a risk and try to build a better smart phone. They are going to use the existing licenses they have and build the same old phone year after year. I’ll stick with my basic throw away dumb phone to make calls with and an iPod touch with MiFi if I need a mobile browser.

    You’re never going to see an open phone with the ability to use any carrier (at least anytime soon).

    • Gramin says:

      Hm… well… ah… kinda right, kinda wrong. There are phones that have both GSM and CDMA chips and thus can utilize any network.

      Now, the bigger issue in the United States is that cell phone service providers subsidize the phones, thus giving the consumer a $600 phone for only $200, but limiting its availability to only one or two service providers. For us, the consumer, competition in the device market is second to competition in the service provider market. The DroidX is going to be priced the same on every carrier. There’s nothing we can do about that. Add 50 more phones to the market and the DroidX will still be priced at $200.

      What we need is the model used by nearly every other country: choose a cell phone first, then choose the carrier. That would encourage competition in both the device and service provider market as the consumer is directly dealing with both. Since the largest service provider (Verizon) currently uses CDMA and the second largest (ATT) uses GSM, this isn’t going to happen soon.

      Perhaps (we can only hope) when all US providers move to 4th generation LTE, such a model could come about. Highly doubtful since this model is so engrained, but we can all hope.

      • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

        Like I said above, even once LTE, and to a degree WiMAX happens, we’ll still see fragmentation across CDMA/GSM lines. Legacy networks won’t be going anywhere for a long, long time. They’re too useful where they are right now, and most people would rather have the safety net of 4G+3G+2G instead of pure 4G anyway.

  9. erciesielski says:

    Well that was one of the more uninformative articles about Windows Phone 7 I’ve read. I think Consumerist should leave tech blogging to tech blogs. When I’m on this site I’m not looking for iPhone rumors or Microsoft news. I have Engadget for that.

    • Gramin says:

      Agreed. The very least he could have done was include the link to Engadget’s review instead of illustrating his tech-illiteracy.

    • Preyfar says:

      This post sounds more insulting than anything. “UGH, Microsoft has a phone now, too?” when they’ve had mobile phones for years. There’s no “Me Too” about this. The “iDroidBerry” comment is a joke, given Microsoft was in the game long before Google was (even if their software was just sorta violently average).

    • Miraluka says:

      Agreed. This is quite possibly one of the worst Consumerist posts I’ve ever read. It reeks of anti-Microsoft sentiment with no justification, and of someone who is wholly uninformed of Win7.

  10. seth.gl says:

    That second paragraph could probably use a rewrite. Windows Phone 7 isn’t a phone anymore than Android is a phone. They are both phone platforms or operating systems. The “$200 phone” is not “coming in five flavors in the United States.” The operating system is coming on five $200 phones in the United States.

  11. apd09 says:

    More carriers = more choices = more competition somewhere in there = hopefully lower prices somewhere along the line for something phone related = now I’m done

    • apd09 says:

      this was supposed to be a response to an above comment, please disregard the post here and see the thread from Blueskylaw above.

  12. Epsilon748 says:

    Wow, Phil. Anti-Microsoft much? I’ve been looking forward to the WP7 since I got my hands on the early pre release phone. The Dell Lightning (now the Venue Pro, the most terrible name change if I’ve ever heard one) looks spectacular, which is surprising considering it’s a T-Mobile “exclusive”. Anyone that’s ever used the older Windows Mobile OS is in for a huge surprise with WP7 if they haven’t already seen it, the hubs and integration with services like Xbox make it a pretty nice contender as an all in one.

    My only worry is that with so many phones released at once (7 for AT&T and T-Mobile in the US) and split releases (AT&T and T-Mobile in November on GSM and Sprint and Verizon in February(ish) on CDMA), it’ll just confuse people.

    For anyone that’s interested, engadget has a pretty solid article on the new models in the US. I’m definitely contemplating a hop to T-Mo from Verizon for the Dell phone, but then again since the phone purchase price is being comped and I’m out of contract with Verizon, it’s not as hard a decision as it would be for someone that would have ETF’s to deal with (probably not worth breaking a contract for, if you’re relatively happy with your current phone… definitely not if you actually want service and like the phones on AT&T).

    For what it’s worth, Engadget is recommending the HTC 7 Pro (AT&T), HTC Surround (AT&T), and Dell Venue Pro (T-Mobile) based on hands on reviews with the phones.

    Pricing seems to be what all smart phones have been priced at as of late, all of the WP7′s are at $199 with a 2 year contract and a required data plan.

    Hopefully the Venue Pro is a step in the right direction for Dell versus the Aero…

    http://www.engadget.com/2010/10/11/windows-phone-7-launch-guide/

  13. mojomarc says:

    The sarcasm is easy to see at the start, but if Phil is being sarcastic with his “I’m having a real hard time…” comment, which I doubt, then he’s being pretty arrogant. Which do you think it is? I don’t think I’d want to be the one who accused him of arrogance like you implied.

  14. KyleOrton says:

    Phil,
    I know everyone else is just going to blindly champion and “me too” your opinions, but I disagree. The Windows tiling is actually a completely different way of presenting an OS compared to iPhone, Android etc. Rather than trying to mimic a 3D interface with flipping shaded pages or buttons meant to look like real life keys, WM7 is embracing a 2D digital interface.

    I sound like a commercial, but this is one time where I actually really like a design feature like this. It’s awesome looking.

    • Preyfar says:

      I actually like it. I have an iPhone and a Droid. iPhone is pretty, but with that many icons on the screen it feels weird. And the Droid interface is just cluttered as hell. Powerful, but cluttered. WP7 just looks and feels clean.

      Biggest question is how will the ultra simplistic UI age? It’s clean and unique, but it may not age well. We’ll see.

      That said, I’m actually looking forward to it. I hope it holds its own.

  15. c_c says:

    This article comes across as kindof silly. Every tech blog has had very good things to say about Windows Phone 7 … and by all accounts it’s not just an iPhone/Android imitator, the OS is unique and seems to have a lot of potential.

    Why even do a post if you’re not going to bring anything informative to the table?

  16. brianisthegreatest says:

    Go Microsoft. You set yourself up well with the first Zune revamp, and you’ve been making nice interfaces for these embedded devices since. Windows Phone 7 doesn’t really appeal to me, but if there is one thing I really like about microsoft is integration with their core services. Zune, XBL, Media Center, etc, those really help to make the device well rounded and work with all the other nice Microsoft products we’ve all bought. =p

  17. backinpgh says:

    I definitely want to play with one in person. I know I love the design of the Zune interface (it’s preeety) so that might convince me to get one. My husband just got a Samsung Captivate and he’s seriously considering returning it.

  18. UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

    I’m pretty well-known around the Interwebs as an iLover, but I have to admit that I see some potential in the WP7 platform. Not only does it present a new paradigm for how we use a smartphone, it also allows for a multi-vendor solution that won’t be as messy as previous Windows phones or Android. I agree with Wired on this: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/10/windows-phone-7-4/

    The question is whether or not it can actually happen, given the entrenchment of so many in the phone market right now.

  19. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    …how much does Apple pay you guys again?

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      Hey now, let’s not forget that Consumerist was way ahead of the Antennagate line.

      Poor Microsoft. Once they were the evil empire. Now they’re the ones we protect from the big bad Cupertinoids.

  20. Dead for tax purposes says:

    Stupid articles like this with an obvious superior tone make it harder to take this blog seriously and come back daily. How about we give it a chance and be happy there is more competition in the OS realm? That will benefit everybody much like the iPhone pushed competition forward by light years. When I stop seeing dumb posts like this, I may contribute to this site.

  21. thrashanddestroy says:

    Did I accidentally go to Giz? This post reeks of Microsoft hate.

    Windows Phone 7 has been getting coverage for months now on every tech site that matters. Its interface is probably the freshest and most unique out of any OS and the improves over WinMo 6 dramatically. Their initial line up is impressive and has some heavy names attached [LG, HTC, Samsung] and the OS itself has really impressed a lot of people.

    Either you guys have been in the dark or your attempt at sarcasm is awful. Regardless, I’ll stick with my Android.

  22. dush says:

    The phones look like nothing special.
    You’d think they’d have a hardware lineup that makes them stand out from the Android phones and the iPhone.

  23. msingerman says:

    You deserve to be fired for the piss-poor job you did with this writeup. Windows Phone 7 is an OPERATING SYSTEM, not a PHONE. Do you even understand the difference? Microsoft isn’t making ANY phones, they are working with hardware vendors to get the OS onto their phones.

    Seriously, you completely botched this. Just pull the whole shitty writeup and try again. Maybe have a grown-up check your work before submitting it this time, though.

  24. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    I’m just hoping that it will help bring down the price on Android handsets. I really want that Captivate.

  25. Geekybiker says:

    Microsoft had a horse in the smartphone race long long before Apple and Google. If you did *any* research you’d know that.

    Also the tile interface is different in that they update automatically based on new content from the web, etc. Apple will give you a number of messages update on a tile at best. Android is closer with its widgets, but its still not the same thing.

    You shouldn’t be writing about tech if you can’t be bothered to learn the first thing about it.

  26. majortom1981 says:

    How is it a me to smartphone when they are one of the ones who actually invented it? Apple and Google are actually the me too ones.

    Why cant sites that are suppsoed to be for the consumer leave out their commentary and obvious hatred for one company. even when it is not deserved?

  27. Pax says:

    OH yes, because anything Microsoft does is innately bad and wrong.

    *sigh*

    Having another competitor – one whose pockets are CLEARLY as deep as Apple’s – might make everyone’s products better, and/or cheaper. Competition is GOOD for the market, and for the consumer.

    “[...] the phones will be all up in Microsoft’s pet applications and services, including Xbox Live, Microsoft Office Mobile, Zune, Windows Live and Bing.”

    Your bias is showing, Mister Yellow Journalist.

    Let me show you what happens when I use the same format, and most of the same words, but aimed at the iPhone: “[...] the phones will be all up in Apple’s pet applications and services, including iTunes.”

    I mean, seriously. Who pee’d in your coffee this morning??

  28. oldtaku says:

    Never, ever buy a 1.x anything from Microsoft. Hardware or software.

    I don’t care how good this looks (or not). Chances are excellent they’ll just abandon it or change direction like they’ve done so many other times. If they don’t, then they’ll fix the worst problems in v2.x and actually make it decent in v3.x.

  29. Geekybiker says:

    Not true. Their force feed back gaming controls were better in v1.0 before the bean counters got at them.