Windows Phone 7 hasn’t had an easy time edging its way into the smartphone market. They had a bit of a tail start on Android and iOS, and didn’t have the full tool-belt of functions that either of the others had. The 7.5 “Mango” update aims to fix that, and bring the early adopters up to par with the rest of the mobile device market. Well, if it ever reaches early adopters.
The 7.5 update started rolling out in early October, and according to a recent poll of users on the “…I’m a WP7!” app, 50% have been updated to Mango. That’s not an official result of any sort, but it shows that the the roll-out isn’t going as fast as I think it should. Of those people, 36% are running the NoDo update.
On the hardware front, Nokia’s new devices have created a little stir, and hopefully that will increase sales for Microsoft, who must be sweating over their current sales figures (or lack thereof, amiright?). It’s not for lack of a good product. Their updates have been solid and on time – to the carriers at least. Carriers seem to take their sweet time passing along the goods. While it’s significantly faster than Android updates, most people hear about how quickly Apple gets iOS to the consumers and expect the same from every device.
That’s not the only problem with carriers, however. Myself, and others, have experienced an active deterrence from carrier salespeople. When shopping with my wife for her new phone, she picked out the Samsung Focus as her phone of choice. I walked up to a salesman, and told him that was what we wanted. Instead of joyfully ringing me up without having to do any actual sales work, he preceded to tell me it was a horrible phone. After some terse discussion, he admitted that he’d never actually used one, after which I recommended that he ring me up rather quickly. This isn’t an isolated incident.
Without full carrier support, WP7 can’t be expected to make a dent in the competition. AT&T is the largest market for Windows Phone, launching with 3 phones, and with more on the way. One might expect Microsoft to focus heavily on advertising in conjunction with AT&T, as well as sending some training teams to the carriers. It’s rather frustrating as a tech enthusiast to see uninformed salespeople running someone away from a perfectly good platform simply because they haven’t used it.
Of course, not all of your purchasing decisions should be made for you by a salesman. Don’t be afraid to research devices on your own, and tell your friends the same thing. Go to stores and play with the phones. Ask your friends what they like and don’t like about their phones. If you encounter a WP7 user who has converted from Android or iOS, prepare for an earful. It’s easy to gush about something you love, and WP7 users love their phones.