As promised by Nokia, Windows Phone 7.8 was released this morning & many people are already receiving the notification to update. I didn’t so I had to use the Network cable unplug/disable method to “trick” Microsoft update servers. It worked albeit I had to babysit the entire process since the update came in 3 parts & I had to perform the trick 3 times.
If you’ve read my previous article about whether MS is shortchanging WP7 users, you’d see that I concluded the article with we’re not shortchanged unless it’s just the Start Screen & nothing else. Well…
The truth is somewhere in the middle. It’s the Start screen but with not much else…
I like it that the Tiles are bigger & support all the new Windows Phone 8 Tile sizes, I also like that the screen refresh rate *seems* to be 60hz making transitions & scrolling smoother.
There’s also the Bing Lock screen that refresh your Lock Screen picture everyday but I very much prefer my Lumia 920 Facebook Lock Screen.
Nokia Bluetooth Share seems to appear in Marketplace after WP7.8 probably due to more Bluetooth profiles being implemented.
Other than that I haven’t found any other differences. MS Windows Phone Team must have dedicated a very small group of developers for so little changes.
Battle for 3rd place
I feel that this is a wasted opportunity especially with the successful launch of Blackberry 10 yesterday. BB10 came out guns blazing & seems to be a more complete platform than when MS launched WP7 in 2010. Bad publicity from a mediocre WP7.8 release will just backfire on the entire WP Eco-system as a whole.
Granted, Windows Phone 8 seems to be pretty successful with tons of compelling features with much polish, and early indications of good sales figure gave WP8 a good head start. But, to gain market share rapidly in 2013, MS & partners must compete with Android on the Flagship to Mid-range with WP8 and Budget to Entry-level with WP7.8, while battling with BB10.
BB10’s 2 new devices Z10 & Q10 seems to be targeted at Mid-range market currently. Having seen it’s feature sets, it’s not a bad start from a technological point of view. It’s GUI & UX is somewhere between Android’s wild west customization & Windows Phone integrated experience. Diehard BB users will no doubt upgrade to BB10.
A strong WP7.8 would show MS is still giving very strong OS support & grab more developers. Positive media coverage will also give buyers sitting on the fence more reason to switch. No doubt WP7.8 IS generating a lot of news but imagine what it’ll be like if MS surprised everybody with a major overhaul. THAT will definitely steal the thunder from BB10 in the months to come. As it stands now, MS share prices dropped 1.44%.
So what will bring WP7.8 up to present standard based on the limited hardware & dominate in the Budget/Entry-level market? Here are what I think will do it.
1. Kid’s corner
2. Number pasting in dialer
3. Lock screen customization (Including API for developers as well)
4. Screen capture (come on MS, is it so hard?)
5. Backup (In some form like in Zune, Skydrive would be even better but may not be as practical for target market with limited broadband access)
I do hope that MS will upgrade WP7.8 some more soon so that we can see the above missing features in WP7.9.
In conclusion, I’m a bit disappointed WP7.8 didn’t turn out to be more. Maybe Qualcomm has let MS know that Snapdragon S4 will soon be priced like the Snapdragon S2 now. So next year, even Budget WP will be dual-core & can support WP8.
By that time, Lumia 900 users’ contract will be up & it’ll be time for them to move on. Maybe if WP7.9 is good, they’ll consider to stick around for WP8+ or else, MS can expect a mass exodus of users who’re soured by WP7 just like many did with WM6.5.