Windows Phone, What Can You Do For Me?

At some point in the future, it's possible that I will recast my phone as an organizational nerve center. In theory, I could use it to track my spending, deadlines and numerous important appointments. It could direct me to Wi-Fi-enabled haven and Yelp-approved public restroom alike. Heck, it could prompt me to modernize my current keep-track-of-self scheme, which consists mostly of Post-It notes and mnemonic catchphrases.

But who's kidding who? Barring some extreme swing in circumstance or maturity, I'll continue to use my phone for a wide range of purposes that might generously be characterized as "dicking around": reordering fantasy basketball lineups, parsing Springsteen set lists, researching the etymological provenance of "burp," etc. Smart phones are for playing and for signaling to the people in your immediate company that you are uncomfortable with human interaction, and maybe for calling 911 if you fall through an uncovered manhole while walking and texting. That's all.

Judging by the number of people I see pixel-wrangling with dyspeptic avians, I'm not alone in feeling this way. That's why I have a hard time taking seriously the latest Windows Phone video volley, this one featuring beach volleyball legend and ultramom Kerri Walsh Jennings. In it, we see her training, exercising, scheduling, document-examining, phone-bumping, smiling, beaming, exercising again, frolicking on the beach, speaking to a gaggle of schoolkids so ethnically uniform that you wonder if the video's tokenism coordinator dropped the ball and, especially, mommying up a storm. It is suggested that Walsh's Windows Phone helps her tackle each of these tasks.

My first thought: I like Walsh. She comes across as decent, engaging and driven in a healthy way. But is she relatable in a manner that'll prompt multitasking moms to abandon their iPhones? I don't think so. The clip leads with a shot of Walsh soaring high above the net to rain spike-fire on a foe; she looks better in skimpy exercise gear than you do, unless you're Michael Phelps or a human Barbie doll. She lives in a big house and is frequently asked to autograph volleyballs and navels. No matter how many hugs she lavishes upon her kids, she's still a wealthy three-time Olympic gold medalist and you're not (again, unless you're Michael Phelps or tall human Olympic Barbie).

The clip also does a lackluster job differentiating Windows Phone apps and related gizmos from those on Android and iOS phones. The Windows Phone display looks bright and sharp, and the device appears to handle everything from video calls to seXXXy phone-bump file sharing without any major loss of function. But if I'm going to exchange my Droid for a Windows Phone, I'm going to need a hell of a reason to do so - an interface as revolutionary as Windows was for the personal computer, generation-after-next features like teleportation-facilitation, stuff like that. The clip offers little guidance in that regard.

I'm the rare media-type being who has no particular beef with Microsoft. I dig my Windows computer, easily tolerate the quirks of my Internet Explorer browser and even search with Bing when I'm feeling frisky and adventurous. But the Windows Phone, no matter how enthusiastically it's been reviewed, doesn't strike me as anything approaching an upgrade - and Walsh doesn't strike me as the type of user with whom anyone has a lot in common, except Misty May-Treanor. Until somebody can come up with a more lifestyle-simpatico spokesperson and better define/distinguish the Window Phone's time-wasting and mirth-generating properties, I'll stick with what I have, thanks.

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