Joshua Topolsky Doesn’t Understand Windows Phone

Posted by on April 4, 2012 at 8:19 am

Microsoft wants the Lumia 900 to do business. Fifteen months after their initial partnership with Nokia was announced, all the pieces seem to be falling into place. Microsoft, who had an operating system without a hero, and Nokia, who had hero hardware without an operating system, seem to be some perfect match, the latter becoming a sort of ‘premier partner’ for Windows Phone after titans like Samsung, HTC, and LG have completely failed to make an exceptional device for it. Well, it’s time for Microsoft and Nokia to get paid after setting up the dominos for so long with the launch of the new Lumia 900, Nokia’s first major phone in the States in years, Microsoft’s first real ‘flagship’ phone, and AT&T’s largest marketing campaign, as they say, since the early iPhones (back when they were exclusive).

Then Joshua Topolsky stepped in.

Now if you don’t know, Josh is the EIC of tech site The Verge. Mere hours after posting his review of the Lumia 900, which he claimed was essentially a disappointment, the review has had over a thousand articles. Now I’ve never used a Lumia 900 and Keith is in line to get his soon (and should give us an awesome review!), but it appears that the Windows Phone fanboys weren’t impressed by Topolsky’s verdict.

As someone who’s been trying for so long to get his hands on a Windows Phone before eventually giving up at the platform’s poor availability on CDMA carriers and their flippant disrespect for Zune’s development, I can see how both sides. Windows Phone fans want the Lumia 900 to be the gateway device that does really well and solidifies the platform’s place in the world. The unconvinced masses, however, find it as yet another noble attempt for Microsoft to achieve relevance in the mobile space. Topolsky’s review hinges on a single point: Nokia made a really good phone and Microsoft simply can’t move fast enough to make Windows Phone great.

When we reviewed the HTC Arrive for Sprint a year ago, I thought my first real amount of time with Windows Phone as a daily driver was unique, but definitely not enough. The faults that Topolsky lists with Windows Phone in the Lumia 900 are similar to those I listed way back then: Windows Phone feels unfinished. It started way behind iOS and Android and it feels as if Microsoft’s not innovating and building it as fast as Apple and Google are iterating their systems. There aren’t enough apps and the ones that are there feel sluggish and wrong compared to their versions on other systems. Such effort is required to adapt an app to the Metro style, and so few Windows Phones are sold, that many are simply developing a version and then calling it quits. Microsoft’s tight control on the hardware involved ensures that phone makers are hamstrung in their designs, the hardware that does release have specs from a year ago (none can accomplish 1080p video, despite having large enough camera sensors), and no one wants to make games for it. We’ve talked about this before.

Windows Phone doesn’t need a minor iteration at this point, as it recently released the Tango update to get their OS running on even slower phones, it needs a reboot with enthusiasm. Microsoft cast such a discrete and detailed cast for Windows Phone that few are moving very far from the mold. As for Topolsky, he sadly seems right on.

Source: The Verge’s Lumia 900 Review

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