I was an early adopter of Windows Phone. It seemed like a good idea at the time. My iPhone 3G had been ruined by an iOS 4 update that it was barely capable of running. To be fair to Apple, they did eventually optimise their slightly overweight OS for the 3G model with a point release (iOS 4.2?). But it was too late for me, I’d been seduced by Live Tiles and the super-smooth minimalist UI of Windows Phone. I bought a HTC HD7 running Windows Phone 7.
It didn’t take long for the dream to die. Despite delivering some genuinely groundbreaking features, the 7.0 release of Windows Phone was not a pleasant experience. You may remember that it was notorious for not even having a copy/paste feature, but there were bigger issues than that. If I started to type a text message then had to put the phone down to deal with something else, when I picked the phone back up the unfinished text message was gone. Now I know phone operating systems have to be aggressive about shutting down running processes to conserve battery, but I felt that was taking things to the extreme.
One reason early adopters suffer the pain of new platforms and services is because of the promise of seeing a product grow and improve over time. And this was true of Windows Phone because the 7.0 release was so rough around the edges that users were more desperate for a software update than any other users in the history of computing. When product boss Joe Belfiore jumped on stage to demo the 7.5 update, with all it’s fixes, but no sign of it actually getting pushed out to users, people started to get frustrated. While on stage, he even showed how it could run Angry Birds (which was a BIG deal at the time), to really rub salt into the wounds.
Even as Windows Phone 7.5 neared release, various other hold ups delayed it’s full rollout. Remember the frustrated people I mentioned? Well they really started to lose their shit.
This epic outburst on Microsoft’s Channel 9 still lives on the web to this day, and always makes me laugh:
“I want the fucking update NOW”. We all did neilspartacus, we all did.
It wasn’t all bad though. I tried an experiment recently – showing my 9yr old daughter a photo of a Nokia Lumia 800 with Live Tiles on the screen, and said it was a new phone coming out soon. She was impressed and thought it looked really neat. Then I told her it was a phone from 2012 that they don’t make any more. The phone OS of the future is now in the past.