Friday, August 15, 2008

Windows Mobile is awful.

Windows mobile is the worst mobile OS I've ever seen or used. Let me tell you why. It's not easy to use, in fact it's hard to use. Menus aren't self explanatory, they're annoying to navigate, and there doesn't seem to be any easy way to do anything. When I use a cell phone, I want to be able to figure it out within two minutes of picking it up. Within two minutes of picking up a phone with Windows Mobile, I'm either trying to figure out how to get to something that should be easy or waiting for it to stop lagging. Speaking of that, it's clunky. But back on topic. Navigating is worse than on any mobile device I have ever used. They try to make it easy by giving you eight ways to execute any function, but that just complicates things and adds tons of bulk to all the menus. Often while using it I can't figure out how to get to some app or something I was just in. Often on home screens or whatever (I word it like this because I've never been able to find a genuine home screen) there are mystery icons without text. The interface is always too busy. There's always too much onscreen at once. That clutters it up even on a big high res screen. When you manage to get to the app you wanted, it's hard to use. All this gets even worse when they add a touch screen because of how half-assed it is. The icons on touch screen Win'Mobile phones are just as small as on non-touchscreen ones, and that's small. Touch screen navigation is worse than using the buttons. And using the buttons is already terrible. Using Windows Mobile is like trying to solve a rubik's cube where there are no two stickers that are the same color. 
All they did was try to sum up Windows into a mobile device. That is not how phones should work. Windows (kind of) works on your desktop because you have the big spacious screen that's harder to clutter up. On a phone, it's much different. It's always cluttered. No matter what. It is just always cluttered. There is always too much stuff crammed onscreen at once. And with that complex interface (it really feels like a bunch of other interfaces lazily taped together) you can never just whip it open and start doing what you want. The crappy interface that comes on most Verizon phones is better than this. And that's just sad.
Now I don't actually own one of these (which is good), this is all stuff I've learned from using it now and then. Out of my entire life, probably about 8 or 10 minutes of it has been spent on one of these, and this is what I've learned so far. It just seems really half-assed, especially with the interface. I always have a very lasting first impression with interfaces. This is because it lets me judge how easy it is to use from the perspective of someone who has never used it. I expect an interface to be pretty self explanatory on how to use it, I expect it to be fast, and I expect it to be efficient. Windows Mobile pretty much failed all of those. It probably did the best on "fast" except for when it randomly starts to lag a lot. The people who work the Windows Mobile part of the company could really learn a lot from the Zune people. The Zune has an awesome interface. It's very easy to navigate and works quite well. I think it'd be great in a phone if used right.
Definitely the worst thing about Windows Mobile though, is that all the smartphone manufacturers are using it in their phones. And it's such a disappointment. I'm seeing tons of great hardware being put to waste on this monstrosity, especially that Sony Xperia one. The manufacturers are to blame here. Windows Mobile gives everyone a chance to half-ass things. This is because the people making the phones can just tweak it a little to work on their hardware (I use the word "work" lightly here) and leave it at that. Maybe that's why the hardware is so good now, they don't have to put as much effort into the software so they put it toward hardware. There's tons of great smartphones that I'd love to look at if the companies got off their asses and made their own software. I doubt I'd dislike Windows Mobile nearly as much if it wasn't on all the new phones now, like some kind of horrible contagious infection spreading across the whole smartphone industry. Even Palm is using it now. I actually thought the old Palm OS was OK. OK to the point where I've looked at Treos in the past.
I'm going to congratulate RIM now though. RIM is the only company left with any balls. Even though they're starting to fall at the hands of the iPhone, they haven't dropped their decent OS. Instead, they're releasing phones with full assed software. That's right. They made it themselves and they're sticking to it. I even thought of a Blackberry Curve for a little bit because it's not running Windows Mobile, and ultimately decided not to because if I got one, that would give my dad more of a reason to not let me get an iPhone. So congratulations, RIM. Give yourself a hug. I'm pretty sure you're the last one who hasn't sold your balls to Microsoft.

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