Chris Weber is the President of Nokia and heads up their North America division.
In an interview with VentureBeat, Mr. Weber lamented that the model of applications as central to a mobile operating system is outdated, and that Google and Apple’s focus on the application in Android and iOS makes navigation of these platforms difficult. Mr. Weber’s foundation for this claim is the notion that users of Android and iOS need to download multiple applications to fully use their devices, resulting in “a lot of touching…as you [have to] press icons or buttons to activate features.”
The Nokia executive then went on to describe “the future” of mobile computing as found in Nokia’s live tiles and hubs approach, which it’s now developing in conjunction with Microsoft. Live tiles and hubs are the prominent features of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, and with a greater focus on social integration via your contacts list expected in the upcoming Mango update to Windows Phone 7, Nokia is embracing WP7 as the mobile operating system of the future.
Apparently Nokia fails to realize that these “tiles and hubs” are what we in the Android Community would call “widgets,” and we’ve had widgets since Android was first introduced as a mobile OS. The live updating tiles found in WP7 closely mirror the functionality of widgets found in the likes of HTC’s Sense UI, stock Android widgets, or Motorola’s “Don’t call me BLUR” MOTOBLUR UI (not to mention the thousands of widgets found on the Android market). These widgets also deliver live updating information on social networks, text messages, calendar appointments, and whatever else you’d need live updates for.
The only place in the entire interview where Nokia had a legitimate advantage over Android was when they demonstrated “Touchless Voice Control,” a feature in WP7′s upcoming Mango release that allows users to fully control their phones with their voice without having to launch an application or hit the search button. Though this feature can truly be dubbed a “game-changer,” we have no reason to suspect that WP7 will be the only mobile OS to have this feature for very long, and I think we may see something similar in Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” when it launches later this year.
With Windows Phone 7 failing to gain any traction in the crowded mobile market which has been dominated by Android and iOS, we tend to not think that these OS’s focus on applications is outdated by any stretch of the imagination. That being said, we always want to hear what you guys think. Should Google focus on building better widget functionality into the core Android OS? Does the notification bar handle live updates well enough? What improvements would you like to see within Android when it comes to live updates? Sound off in the comments.
You can read the full interview with Mr. Weber over at VentureBeat, including an equally laughable section where Mr. Weber highlights how wonderful WP7′s cloud capabilities are compared to Android and iOS. Though it is a good read, I just don’t see anything more than a “Rah Rah WP7″ by a company that needs WP7 to succeed if they’re going to stay in business.