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.
Update: I Got My Laptop & A Windows Phone. Both Are Up For Auction. 100% Of Proceeds Go To Charity.
You are a coward.
I think i’ll take my droid4 up there later today. Dual core ARM cpu, 1GB ram… yeah windows phone can ya compete with that? ;)
Probably, but only because the challenges are set up so that the WP7 phone will always win. It’s not a matter of which phone is faster or easier to use, it’s whether or not you’re lucky enough to have your phone set up exactly as MS has their phones set up for the contest. In this case, the guy did, and he won. Most people don’t have two weather widgets on their phone (or even as live tiles on WP7).
Microsoft admits that you won, and a laptop and a phone is on your way!!
Sorry to hear that Sahas, hopefully someone from MS sees this post and makes things right.
Ben Rudolph @BenThePCGuy:
Hey @sahaskatta , @Microsoftstore & I want to make things right. So I’ve got a laptop & phone (& apology) for you. Email me!
“Honesty” and “Marketing” don’t walk together.
I had a similar experience with the Microsoft Store in Atlanta, GA. After loosing twice in a row, the store started giving excuses. I have filed a complained and will also file a law suite against Microsoft if they do not followup. I have a less then perfect Apple iPhone. The associate accepted the challenge (twice) and lost. Then made me wait 20 min and a manager comes out wanted me to redo the challenge a third time in front of him. This is such a sham – Microsoft should not accept the challenge in the first place if they find my phone not eligible-but they did twice. The limitations of my phone were well informed to the associate, he had full access to my phone and even touched my phone to test a button. Further, he accepted that he lost and them made me wait for 20 min and then the manager came out and started giving excuses.
I had a similar experience with the Microsoft Store in Atlanta, GA. After loosing twice in a row, the store started giving excuses. I have filed a complained and will take further action if they do not followup
See… This is one reason I try and have as few Microsoft products in my home as possible. Obviously, we do have some Microsoft computers but we also have a Macbook Pro, 3 android devices, 3 iPod touches, etc. Since no stipulation that cities were to be in two different states Microsoft execs should bow and hand over the prize in this case… Again, he was not specifically told he could not disable the swipe to unlock — just had to power down so as not to have pre-loaded other apps…
Anyone want to bet that any laptop given to a winner would come directly out of a store manager’s bonus or budget, hence the, “Because I said no” response?
It’s obvious that Microsoft had no intention of honoring the challenge. They hand-picked “feats of skill” that they knew worked in favor of Windows Phone OS, and when someone dropped the ball in their research on Android’s OS skill set, the burden was left on the sales staff and managers.
This was clumsily handled by the store employees. It appears from my reading of your posting and the rules that you should have won.
The original idea behind Smoked by Windows Phone Challenge (at CES) was to show that for many everyday uses, Windows Phone is easier and faster to use. Of course there will be power users who have mastered their iPhone and Android devices and can do things very quickly. I would hope that the in-store version of the contest would allow for those cases, thus avoiding a PR nightmare when a tech-savvy blogger legitimately wins.
Regarding “apps” – Third-party Apps are vital for any mobile device ecosystem. But one of the key benefits of Window Phone is deep integration of things that are app-based on other platforms. Although available, I rarely need to use the Twitter or Facebook apps on my Windows Phone, because I get and publish information through built-in means (specifically the People Hub, but also pinned-tiles).
Disclaimer: I’m a unabashed user and fan of Windows Phone 7 and former long-time employee of Microsoft working on various product teams.
The exact same thing happened to me at the Microsoft store in Santana Row in San Jose. I even had the exact same challenge to pull up the weather. I pulled up the weather and held it out for the employee working there before he had his up. He then proceeded to read off his weather and say that he won because that is what the challenge was. I said that he never said I had to read it out loud. I said that I did not agree and that I would try a different challenge and he said that I could only do one.
Who’s going to completely switch to an unproven OS with a comparatively small amount of available apps just because it can show the weather in two cities arguably a split second faster? I don’t care how many iPhones and Android phones get “smoked”. Let’s face it, it’s the Win7 phones that are getting smoked by the competition.
Another dumb MS gimmick.
Almost as dumb as your comment. You need to grow up too Frank.
Gees, what a sore looser! Grow up Sahas!
Are you going to update this blog now that Microsoft has offered you a free laptop and phone?
Yes, in next few hours.
you don’t need a 3rd party app to disable the lock screen on the gnex just go into settings and disable it plain and simple
What a bunch of cheats and liars. Disgusting behaviour.
So they’re making it up to you because you have a blog and attracted attention, well that’s good, but what about the legitimate winners that were rejected that didn’t advertise it afterwards. It’s not a huge stretch of the imagination to think that you’re not the first to do this.
I think it’s very sad that some people in Microsoft are behaving like this and I don’t think they’re apology to you is good enough.
Disabling the lock screen is a standard option under settings in the Android OS.
Check out Geek Wire. They are admitting that you won and are ready to give you a phone and a laptop and have asked that you contact them.
They did this down in New York city and they asked me to take a picture with my iPhone 4S. having already made ios 5.1 setting of just having the camera on the lock screen I was able to do that in a matter of seconds and beat the employee. I was never given anything either and it is pretty much just a simple scam.
After going through your technical background, do you think YOU actually won the contest? Come on man… winning by skipping lock screen…. i believe you could probably win it in a much better way..
Windows Phone is now a BURNING PLATFORM.
It’s smoked by both Android and Symbian Belle.
Even after Elop’s consistent badmouthing and refusal to promote Belle to the level of WP, Symbian Belle phones are outselling WP phones 5 times to 1.
I was standing behind you 100% but it’s been nearly a day since MS offered/gave you a Windows Phone AND laptop computer and you still have not amended your initial article.
You have now shown your true colors, whether cheating or not, it seems like your soul intent was to defame Microsoft.
You are a has been and I hope MS takes back the items. You truly don’t deserve them.
You give geeks a bad name. :-/
I for one will use you as an example as a cheat and bad looser.
With a Windows phone you can disable the lock screen too! So you are smoked either way?
After reading all the comments, I’m getting that feeling of MS fan boys getting mad, it is an out of the box item for the phone, just cause ms don’t give you the option, doesn’t mean hes “cheating” or hacking. And besides, they get to pick the challenge, and in this case if you win, you lose, cause you don’t have a ms phone, and ms doesn’t like to lose, like chrome beating explorer, its not based on ms numbers, which are like this, IE 7 – 20%, IE 8 – 30%, IE 9 – 50%.
Sorry just had to, but ya, android for the epic win, linux vs ms, linux, wp7 vs android, android, windows 8 vs unity, unity for a sad win
So cheating means winning in your book? if chrome is so awesome then why did it take so freaking long to put it in android?
You’re going to a store whose whole purpose is to make a profit by selling goods to customers and you want to prove them the product you bought from another company is better than their, in their own area. Well, Both the marketing guys that came up with this thing and YOU my friend, should get a life. What’s up with trying to prove $me is better than $you all the time.