Microsoft customer

Continuing the previous rants, since Microsoft aren’t showing any prospective in short term for Windows Phone to close the gap with the other two platforms, I’ve decided to just end the agonizing about the biggest pain point for that OS, at least for me.

As non-deniers would know, platform is only worth as much as how much you can do with it. In Windows I can do many things from writing text notes, to browsing the internet, to designing skyscraper, to creating a movie.
Okay, I lied, I can’t to the two later tasks. But point being, there’s tasks that can be done. In the phone platform, that doesn’t change, especially since despite there’s more time wasted using web browser in the desktop, tasks in phone is increasingly done using applications. That’s the pain point often repeated by groups called whiners by the deniers.

Meanwhile, Microsoft aren’t showing they realize that they need to be faster and more aggressive in pushing the developers. Reach OS feature parity, show developers they have everything needed to build something like they have in iOS and Android without limitation, and deliver it faster than anyone else.

In the other hand, they kicked the supporters with slow release, lack of devices, and treating their own platform as 3rd class citizen.

So, since the CEO said they want to focus on service and availability in all platform, I decided to be the customer they wanted.
I’m still using Outlook for my mail and PIM like calendar and contacts. I’ll be using OneDrive and OneNote. I won’t be using Bing though, because in all their wisdom about “US and the rest of the world” the application for search and maps is not available.

Most importantly though, is that I will stop giving any expectation to Windows Phone. Let them do whatever they want and die when they choose to. I’m getting an iPhone 4s for the application and practical use need.

Like I said before, I really prefer Windows Phone’s interface. I read faster than I recognize icon, so there’s another win to Windows’ application list compared to iPhone and Android. I like the calendar and contact display better.

But if that’s the only thing they can offer (and the camera, which is kind of moot since I always bring my camera), they could have treated the OS like S40, an OS for feature phone and peoples who are content with whatever they get out of the box. Why promise apps if the famous and popular apps are not coming ? And if an apps become big in Windows Phone, you can be assured that it will move to other platform and could even get updated more frequently over there.

So, bye. I’ll be watching, but stop giving any expectation that things will be going for the better.


Make a feature phone instead

To start with, there’s Microsoft related news this morning, especially the rage from Microsoft’s lack of care to the platform. The situation now is like an answer to JFK’s famous quote:

Don’t ask what your country can do for you, but what can you do for your country.

The answer is: I’ve loved you, but do you love me back ?

For you who want to say just use iPhone or Android if I love them so much: no, we don’t.

I love my Windows Phone OS, just like the guys in Crackberry forum love their Blackberry OS.

I don’t like Android and would rather use WebOS(†) or MeeGo(†).

The problem is, you can be sure anything but the big 2 wouldn’t have the applications. Even if the application is available, there would be feature parity since it’s a drop and forget apps. Ask any web designer and online marketer what’s their opinion about companies making website just so they “have a website” and never update it. Those are the official apps in Windows Phone’s apps store.

Having the greatest OS is close to meaningless in the age where services are decentralized. I don’t want to use Google’s services such as mail, hangout, youtube or maps. But I want to use Flickr, Facebook, and other features provided by 3rd party.

Not having those apps is like having a lavish party of the century but without anyone coming, it’s just not that interesting.

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Meet My WP

Yesterday, Microsoft Indonesia held a community event, gathering Windows Phone users especially in Jakarta area. I managed to get a time to go. No, this won’t be an all praising article.

Actually, ever since the hint is given, I’ve expected the event to be held in an inconvenient time. The event is announced on H-1, on Wednesday. Events that are not geared towards getting huge sales revenue will not be held in weekend, probably because the speakers are not getting paid overtime.

Even so, 100+ people came that night, enjoying the meal and listened while waiting for both the lottery door prize and the bait for filling Twittersphere with echoes of this event.

First speaker is from local community. The topic is about the big community of Windows Phone user in Indonesia and that old growth chart that shows huge Windows Phone user growth. The same chart that sceptics questioned if that 133% growth of a small market share from new player is really a good reason to be all optimistic in comparison to 79% growth of an old-established player that nearly saturated their own market.

Second speaker is a technology evangelist, speaking about how the features helped him. Again, frankly, those are like the sales pitch any enthusiasts would have known from reading in the internet.

The talk about map ignored the fact that the map is clearly missing a lot of Point of Interest in the map. He also speak about Office and the ability to read/edit documents, but conveniently “forget” to talk about creating new Power Point slide. Oh yes, conveniently “forget”.

Third speaker came from Acer. They promote their tablet product, the 3G equipped W511. One point that I note is that, they said the Acer Iconia W5 is a best seller in Indonesia. Well… not that surprising because retailers are not stocking Asus VivoTab device. I’d love to see how the W510 would do if VivoTab Smart, priced equally but with double the hard drive space, is there in the market to compete with it.

There’s also the pitch about the only tablet you can use for presentation. I believe if they talk about the Iconia A1 in front of Android crowd, they will say totally different thing. The pitch about processor performance ? Vendors should show product name in benchmark. Okay, they don’t want to say competitor’s name, so use your own other product to show it.

No way, really. That’s the job of independent reviewers.

They also hinted on announcement of new product, which today revealed to be the Acer Aspire P3. No price, as usual.

I use W510 myself. Got a great deal (almost $180 cheaper) from second-hand item in local classified ads, equipped with the extra battery/keyboard docking. That’s the acceptable price for me, because the current local price for it is absurd.

The fourth is in my opinion, the most interesting of the bunch for one simple reason: freshness. This speaker came from a phone carrier and speak about their partnership program to local developers.

First point is that they will push advertisement of the developers that submit applications through them. This is done through message broadcast (a.k.a carrier spam) and footer text ads in popular websites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Second point is their API that will allow their customers to pay through phone bill, a must for country with relatively low credit card ownership. Not only that, the feature will also be available for in-apps purchase. The carrier also have an e-money product, and this will also be exposed through the API. Of course, this means application made with these API would be crippled when used by other carriers’ customer, giving incentive to switch.

The last speaker is a technology trainer (another evangelist) that speaks about Skydrive synchronization and OneNote. Well, nothing new, and personally I don’t feel comfortable with his accent. It’s probably built for certain target audience, and I’m just the oddball.

In the end, I think it’s a waste of time for me to go, and not only because I got home really late despite still having to go to office the next day. Here’s why:

  • This is an event for product made by foreign country (and done by subsidiary that’s mostly for selling product). Expecting decision makers in the level that do requirement limit is a pipe dream. No, we don’t even have research division here.
  • Again, we’re not the home country, and thus we will have the late news. All the good news are under NDA and enthusiasts wouldn’t hear anything they hasn’t know from the internet.
  • The event is sponsored by hardware vendor and network carrier, we can expect to hear lots of sales pitch.
  • The event finishes late, and I don’t have much time left to question the speakers.

This leaves only one good reason to go, and that is to build network with community and professional such as developers or tech press, something I failed in doing.