Since the iPhone was released nearly three years ago, people have been complaining about three things that the iPhone doesn’t do. The first being, that Apple won’t allow third-party apps to multi-task on the iPhone. Rumors are now circulating that when iPhone OS 4.0 is released that it will support third-party multi-tasking. Second, is that the iPhone did not have cut, copy, and paste until recently. When iPhone OS 3.0 was released this feature was implemented. Finally, people complained that the iPhone is closed, or in a Walled Garden with its Apps. Why am I bringing all this up? Funny you should ask.
Sascha Segan, of PCMAG.com fame, is reporting that Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone 7 Series, is going to encompass all three of these things that people have been complaining about with the iPhone. As where Apple is making strides to bring these features to the iPhone, Microsoft is taking two steps back with their Windows Phone 7 Series. Microsoft in true fashion is now playing catch-up to Apple. They have seen the one thing that people don’t like about the iPhone, it’s closeness, and now they are mirroring that with their own Windows Phone 7 Series. Microsoft’s Windows Phone Developer Charlie Kindel is quoted as follows:
“Like the iPhone, Windows Phone 7 won’t support third-party apps being able to run in the background. But third parties will get access to a wider range of services than are available on the iPhone. For instance, Pandora could stream in the background using a special background-music service, Kindel said. But VoIP apps will be limited; there won’t be a service to allow third-party apps to access telephony in the background.”
Well, lets look at the second and third sentences in his quote. Kindel states that, third-party apps like Pandora will be able to run with “…a special background-music service.” This sounds awfully familiar to the way that the iPod app on the iPhone works. Where you can listen to your music, and run other apps while your music is playing. From the get go Apple has had multi-tasking on the iPhone. It’s just with their core apps though, not with third-party apps. However, as I stated earlier, it’s rumored that third-party multi-tasking will be in iPhone OS 4.0. There are concerns with multi-tasking — one of which is battery drain. Those pesky background services don’t close themselves after you’ve closed your application. They are still running in the background eating away at your battery. Hopefully, Apple will have devised a way to end these processes when the app is closed. Or, at least give us a way to kill the process that is running.
We’re also seeing Microsoft omitting cut, copy, and paste from Windows Phone 7 series. This is strange because this feature is in all of the Window Mobile OSes. So why is Microsoft omitting it. Bill Ray of The Register explains why,
“Cut and paste does present a UI challenge to the finger-driven interface, but no more than changing the font size or underlining text, which is rather the point. Microsoft doesn’t want people changing font sizes or cutting and pasting documents together. Windows Phone 7 Series devices are for making phone calls, playing music and listening to entertaining farting noises – just like the iPhone.”
Wow! Microsoft is doing the exact thing that Apple has been catching heat for. So, I wonder if the Microsoft fanboys will be up in arms over this feature that has been used in their previous mobile OSes. (Yes, there are Microsoft fanboys. You know who you are, don’t try and deny it. Be proud of your fanboy status!) All joking aside, Microsoft isn’t learning anything from the iPhone. They are simply three years behind.
Kindel continues to talk about how consumers will only be able to install applications on their Windows Phone 7 Series by using the Microsoft Marketplace. Ok, let me see, Microsoft Marketplace sounds awfully close to iTunes Store. This has been an issue with so many people. Google’s Android has used this as a selling point for their platform. With Google Android you don’t have to install your apps from a Marketplace per say. So, now Microsoft will have their own Walled Garden to which they will control. Maybe this will take the heat off of Apple since now there are two companies doing the same thing.
I know I’m going to catch a lot of flack over this, but it has to be said: Microsoft is following Apple’s model. Apple came out with the iPod, then the iPhone. Microsoft came out with the Zune, now they are coming out with Windows Phone 7 Series. Unfortunately, Microsoft has not learned from Apple’s growing pains. Instead they are repeating history. I think it’s great that Microsoft is trying something new, but try to be a little more original next time.
Photo Credit: Windows Phone 7 Series – Inicio