Microsoft’s upcoming smartphone re-entry has been slammed by tech analyst site Infoworld following a Mobile Beat developer demo.
Infoworld editor Galen Grumen had earlier been impressed with Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone 7 smartphone operating system. Following a hands-on with an early-beta in march Grumen said: "The new operating system uses a radically different approach to organizing information and apps … there’s a good chance that Microsoft is on to something powerful."
However following an in-depth developer demo at the Mobile Beat conference last week, Grumen reversed position and posted a no holds barred feature titled Windows Phone 7: Don’t bother with this disaster in which he describes the phone operating system, expected to arrive before Christmas, as a "tepid knockoff of a 2007-era iPhone".
Downplaying earlier impressions as "lipstick", after seeing the pre-production operating system outside of controlled presentation, Gruber claimed that the UI was awkward and unsophisticated, saying: "I had the same feeling you get when you got a movie based on a great trailer, only to discover that all the good stuff was in the trailer and the rest of the movie was a mess."
"It’s as if Microsoft decided in summer 2007 to copy the iPhone and has shut its developers in a bunker ever since, so they don’t realize that several years have passed, that the iPhone has advanced, and that competitors such as Google Android and Palm WebOS have also pushed the needle forward," said Gruber.
Gruber didn’t limit criticism to the UI but also claimed that Windows Phone 7 is based on "creakingly old technology that the main competitors have all moved past", citing lack of multitasking, no copy and paste or inter-application communication as evidence.
Describing the Zune-like UI as an oversimplification of tasks, Gruber said that tiles with three menu items requiring multiple gestures left/right to enter further settings would quickly becoming ungainly. He also claimed that a Microsoft representative said the innovative UI had not been tested by users.
The PR blow comes hot on the heels of Microsoft’s failed launch and subsequent cancellation of the "Kin" mobile phone. The Kin having been created by a team Microsoft formed when it acquired mobile developer Danger.