Of all of the smartphone review sites, you guys give Window Mobile the fairest shake and I give you props for that. I have a Palm Treo Pro with Windows Mobile 6.1 and I like it quite a bit (and I've used iPhone, Android, WebOS, blah blah blah.). Yes, the UI is dated, but it's a mature and very capable OS in pretty much every other respect. (Unfortunately, Windows Phone 7 sounds like it's going to be a huge letdown with no multi-tasking!)
And yet, it seems that more often than not, you still criticize WinMo phones that you review for a lack of apps compared to Android and iPhone. While that may be true if you stick exclusively to Windows Marketplace (I don't know because I almost never use it), there are numerous websites that offer 3rd-party WinMo software, some exclusively so.
In my experience, there is a HUGE amount of WinMo software to be had, and plenty of it is free. Of course, quality varies greatly among the paid AND the free stuff, but I've had no trouble finding many excellent freeware apps to do anything and everything I need my phone to do. And then some...
Please explain this seemingly invalid, yet often repeated criticism in you reviews.
I agree that there are plenty of useful applications for Windows Mobile, and they cover the staples very well: file management, registry editing, web browsers, ftp and video playback. I'm happily using the HTC HD2 and don't feel starved for features relating to software applications. But I do use my phone mostly for business and know where to get WinMo software outside the Marketplace.
These days folks seem to want web-centric apps, and while there are some (Facebook, Netflix), the selection isn't that broad, and in some cases (Facebook) the app is lacking compared to the Android and iPhone versions. Compound that with the fact that only power users seem to find their way to buy individual WinMo applications (often costing quite a bit more than Android and iPhone equivalents), and you've got a mass market problem.
WinMo developers have complained over the years that their sales by volume aren't great and hence they've decided to offer apps on competing platforms (this also explains the relatively high prices for WinMo apps). The Windows Mobile Marketplace takes great steps to address that, but lots of strong apps that have been popular for years still aren't on there. And the average user (not veteran or power WinMo user) is much more inclined to use MS' app store on the device than hunt for apps on their PC, sync those apps to the smartphone and use their credit card on a variety of unknown (to them) web sites selling apps.
So to sum it up, lots of folks aren't as savvy as you or they don't want to spend the time hunting for apps outside of an on-device marketplace. And beyond that, lots of folks want iPhone and Android style apps that offer mobile customized access to their favorite online services and websites, and the WinMo selection is OK but not as strong.
-------------------- Lisa Gade Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview