I am a long time Windows Mobile user (so long back that I remember when it was WinCE... yeah, their OS was originally called "wince". My first PDA was a Casio Cassiopeia 115).
After years of loyally sticking with Windows Mobile because of several purchased apps that traveled faithfully with me from device to device, I recently abandoned WinMo after my 6.1 XV6800 Verizon device's contract expired. A lot of this was driven by iPhone envy. Seeing the app store flourish with such a wide range of quality, and maybe more importantly, FUN apps certainly made it apparent how little Microsoft had done with app development on Windows Mobile platforms. having to pull out a stylus to answer the phone and navigate menus started to feel awkward and conspicuous. The fact that most of these apps were free or priced very, very reasonably compared to Windows Mobile apps was just salt in my wounds. At some point, abandoning 3 or 4 apps that cost me a total of around $90 just seemed logical for the benefits that moving to a competitive smart-phone platform offered. But iPhone, in large part because of AT&T, and in small part because of concerns about the closed-in nature of the Apple developer and hardware model, never appealed to me.
When Droid landed on Verizon, it answered all of my concerns. Mobile apps should generally be very affordable. This seems like something that content publishers have struggled with for years. Consumers feel that digital content is less "tangible" - and it *is*. Publishers feel that they should be able to get as much, if not more, for digital content, maximizing profits because they remove many of the costs associated with manufacturing and distributing physical media. We need look no further than how uninspiring album cover art has become since the move to digital media, and the emphasis that Apple is trying to place on enhancing digital "extras" that "add value".
Apple, Amazon and Google seem to understand this - that digital content should be less expensive than physical counterparts. Nintendo seems to get that scaled down, mobile gaming should be less expensive than full fledged console gaming.
Windows Mobile developers never seemed to connect these dots. They offered mobile digital content, mostly apps, at prices comparable to what similar apps would cost on a desktop PC. For a dedicated user, some apps, like Resco File Explorer Suite, were so necessary that you simply paid up. But generally, I didn't buy Windows Mobile apps. I wasn't going to pay $30 or more for an app for my mobile phone.
So, while the iPhone certainly had and has some puzzling limitations that were a step backward from what even the earliest smart-phones were capable of, they made up for it, G-Man, with a compelling interface that made far more sense than using a Stylus, and with quality apps priced reasonably.
I wish Microsoft had come to market with a phone with those features quickly enough, that would have continued to support the legacy WinMo apps that I've invested in. But they didn't.
And Droid arrived and delivered the best of both worlds (with a few small sacrifices).
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