I headed down to the Santa Clara Microsoft Store this morning after hearing about the Windows Phone challenge last night. For those not familiar, anyone who completes a task faster than a Windows Phone on their own smart phone can win a $1000 Special Edition Laptop assuming they meet some standard terms and conditions. Those who “get smoked” by a Windows Phone, have the opportunity to trade in their existing device for Windows Phone.
After signing a waiver agreeing to let Microsoft use a photo of me in their advertising, I got in line for the challenge. I was using a Samsung Galaxy Nexus which runs the latest Android operating system on the Verizon Wireless network. As requested, I shut down my phone and powered it on in front of an employee when it was my turn. (I’m assuming they don’t want anyone pre-launching any apps in advance.)
The Microsoft Store employee I was up against then explained the selected challenge. Her exact words were the following: “bring up the weather of two different cities.” The one who could do that first would win. I felt like I struck gold since I knew I already had two weather widgets on my home screen: one for my current location (San Jose, CA) and another for Berkeley, CA.
After a three-second count down, I hit the power button on my phone and said “DONE!” out loud. I had disabled the lock screen entirely, which is a rather awesome out-of-the-box feature of Android that takes you straight to the home screen with a single push of the power button. I didn’t even need to touch the screen, since the two weather widgets were already there.
My opponent finished a split-second later. She had two live tiles on her home screen displaying the weather of two different cities as well. Why does it take longer on Windows Phone? She had to perform two actions. First, she hit the power button to turn on the screen. Second, she had to swipe away the lock screen. That’s pretty much as fast as it gets on that platform. Windows Phone takes two interactions. Android takes just one.
I excitedly thought I won out of pure luck. However, I was quickly told that I lost. I asked for a reason and was told Windows Phone won because “it displays the weather right there.” That was rather unclear. I showed her my device which also was showing off the same information with two side-by-side weather widgets on the center home screen. After pressing for a better reason, I was told that Windows Phone won “just because.”
After trying to push for a real answer since I clearly won the contest by their rules, another Microsoft Store employee (possibly a manager) came by after noticing me asking more questions. Thinking on his feet, he quickly gave a ridiculous out-of-thin-air reason that I need to display the weather of different cities in different states and that “my phone could not do that”.
I calmly and politely tried pointing out that I was absolutely never told about having to show off two different states, but at this point I realized there was no point in even attempting to argue since the Microsoft Store employees clearly had no intention of even potentially discussing the possibility of considering me the winner.
I was then asked to snap a photo in front of a sign that read along the lines of “My Android was smoked by Windows Phone” before leaving the store.
I was quite excited to take the challenge, but left the Microsoft Store in distaste. I sure hope the purpose of this marketing ploy is to attract new customers by demonstrating the highlights of Windows Phone, not frustrating them instead. If anyone from Microsoft would like to have a rematch, I would be happy to smoke a Windows Phone with Android, again.