Microsoft’s Andy Lees: talking to your phone isn’t super useful, NFC coming soon to Windows Phone
Microsoft’s President of Windows Phone, Mr. Andy Lees, just wrapped up a diverse interview with Ina Fried at AsiaD, in which he took the chance to gloat on Nokia’s behalf about the impending launch of its wide array of WP7-based smartphones. Moreover, he proudly responded to claims that WP7 sales have been suboptimal by clarifying that Windows Phone 7 sold more in its first 12 months on the market than did Android. Granted, the smartphone market was entirely more prepared for another entrant when Microsoft arrived, but we digress. He also held no punches when asked to opine on Andy Rubin’s swings at Windows Phone from last night’s interview, noting that “Android is very techy,” and that it’s a great OS for a certain population. He stated that Android hits you “with a grid of apps,” instead of taking a “people approach,” which WP7 presumably has. Of course, we all know how The Social went over…
All jesting aside, he responded to Ina’s questions surrounding hardware choices with this: “We wanted to stop problems with fragmentation, so we’ve locked a lot of things down. We want partners to add value, but not in a way that’s chaotic. As an example, we do hardware acceleration of the browser — no matter which WP device you choose, it all works in a consistent way. Some things in 2012 will extend that.” Moving on to more competitive questions (surrounding Siri, mostly), he affirmed that users can indeed talk to their Windows Phone handsets, but that the kind of implementation seen in Siri isn’t “super useful.” He also — oddly, we must say — noted that WP7′s voice implementations rely on Bing, which harnesses “the full power of the internet, rather than a certain subset.” Last we checked, Siri and Wolfram Alpha were connected to the internet, but we get his point — in theory, at least. He confirmed that speaking to one’s phone was practical in places like motorcars, but he seemed to imply that barking commands to a phone in public wasn’t something that Microsoft was inclined to ask its users to do.
On a hardware-related note, Andy affirmed that NFC chipsets will indeed ship on WP7 devices within the next year, and while Microsoft’s not interested in competing with Google and the like from a platform standpoint, it’s more than happy to enable mobile payments via services that already exist. To quote: “Microsoft is providing technological building blocks so payments can be done on the phone — we aren’t competing with other people providing services. We’ll have a platform approach.” Finally, he also alluded to the inclusion of LTE as the infrastructure behind WP evolves, leaving us to wonder if it’ll be Apple (or someone else entirely) as the final 4G holdout.