It's easy when the top players in the industry talk big. If Apple or Google executives want to trumpet how great their software is, we can oblige them to a degree. They own the leading smartphone platforms in the world right now.
But comments offered by Chris Weber, president of Nokia in North America, to VentureBeat have me scratching my head. Almost until my scalp bleeds.
Weber, whose company struck a live or die deal with Microsoft to run Windows Phone 7 handsets last year, apparently said Android and iOS are outdated. VentureBeat noted:
"Weber called Android and the iOS phone platforms "outdated." While Apple's iPhone, and its underlying iOS operating system, set the standard for a modern user interface with "pinch and zoom," Weber conceded, it also forces people to download multiple applications which they then have to navigate between. There's a lot of touching involved as you press icons or buttons to activate application features. Android essentially "commoditized" this approach, Weber said."
Of course, outdated is all relative. I have a Droid X running Gingerbread. I like Gingerbread but am eagerly awaiting Ice Cream Sandwich. You might call Gingerbread outdated. iPhone 4 users may be waiting for iPhone 5, thinking iOS 4 is outdated.
But this comment is coming from a guy who works for Nokia, which was once the Apollo of smartphone market share worldwide but then was forced to abandon it core platform Symbian for being... outdated! Symbian couldn't do touchscreen interfaces. Outdated!
Now Weber is calling iPhone and Android, the standard bearers Research in Motion is stumbling to emulate, outdated? Some would say that's bold; some would say that's just crazy talk.
To be fair, Weber's comments are context to pitch WP7, which leverages a "live tiles and hubs" approach.
I've been using a Samsung Focus WP7 "NoDo" phone for two weeks and the software is smooth and seamless. I'm really enjoying it. Everything in WP7 scrolls more horizontal than vertical, which is how Android and iOS user interfaces are bent.
It takes some getting used to, but it's really nimble and intuitive. For example, you can hold the start button for a couple of seconds and use voice commands to access search, contacts and other phone content by speaking.
In VentureBeat's example, users can contact contacts via LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter without having to open those individual applications "because everything is built around contacts, not applications."
Also, profile and contacts morph fluidly on the homescreen, according to status updates. It feels a little more organic and lively than some parts of Android or iOS, but calling those platforms outdated is again, foolish or bold, depending on where you sit.
For Nokia, which is banking on WP7, which has sold roughly 1.5 million units to date, the talk is both bold and crazy. Especially when we haven't even seen the Nokia-WP7 superphones purportedly coming in 2012.
To Nokia, I say: less talk, more innovation, or follow RIM to the cusp of oblivion.