The Latest Fanboy Obsession is...Windows Phone 7?

Every month or so, I dip into the reader mailbag and quote from some of my favorite fan and/or hate mail. Lately my inbox has been overflowing with notes about Windows Phone 7.5.

I'm completely blown away by the response to my recent post about my HTC Radar 4G Windows "Mango" phone -- otherwise known as the geeky version of that old Life cereal commercial: "Let's get Cringely to try it, he hates everything. He likes it! Hey Cringely!"

My mail was so overwhelmingly pro Windows 7 -- with no carping whatsoever from the Apple fanboy contingent -- I began to wonder if this wasn't a fiendishly clever astroturf campaign emanating from Redmond. Then I thought: Microsoft? Fiendishly clever? Not in my lifetime. But I was wrong about the phone, too, so who knows?

Take, for example, this note from longtime reader J.N., who says he's been around the block with Android, BlackBerry, the iPhone, and yes, Windows Mobile:

Android is neat, and I run a Nook and used the Motorola Atrix. I feel like it's only half-baked ... iOS is great and the app list is fantastic, but you are paying a premium for the hardware and you are very badly locked in to the cult of Apple... [But when] I got a Samsung Focus for $.01 ... my love for iPhone died.

I've been using Windows Phone 7 since May. It is, quite simply, the easiest and most robust device on the market. My wife even has one and loves it despite a loathing of smartphones in general. Her quote: "It just works and I don't have to fiddle with it."

Or Cringester K. J. M, who writes:

I've been one of those that had a love/hate relationship with Windows Mobile and I thought for certain I would hate Windows Phone because the ecosystem is so locked. I was dead wrong. It only took me about 3 minutes to figure out that I was hopelessly in love with the new OS. [Cue] sappy music, yada yada yada

Or this note from P. W.:

Windows Phone 7 is a completely competitive smartphone OS for all but the most technophile trendy snots. For example, my son recently wasted big bucks buying a top-of-the-line iPhone 4S off contract because he fell in love with Siri, which he now says he never actually uses. Go figure.

I could go on, but I won't. I got a dozen more letters just like them. Add the 50 or so pro-WinPho7 comments to my original post, and we're looking at a landslide. I feel like I should be collecting a check from Microsoft for the uncharacteristically warm fuzziness flowing from this blog. (Cash and money orders also cheerfully accepted.) At the very least, I think I smell a "we switched from iPhone and never looked back" ad campaign cooking up in Redmond.

When readers weren't kvelling about their Windows phones they were busy arguing about other topics bouncing around Cringeville. Here are a few choice nuggets.

About a week ago, in "Bloggers, you're second-class citizens now," I discussed the case of Oregon "investigative blogger" Crystal Cox. A federal court has decided that Ms. Cox is not a true journalist and, thus, not protected against defamation suits by Oregon's journalism shield laws, despite her claims to that dubious title.

The judge in that case proceeded to lay out seven criteria that separate journos from bloggos. I suggested that interpretation could have negative repercussions for many bloggers, including those of us who straddle the line between both worlds. Cringe fan D. B. wondered why I didn't mount a stronger defense for journalistic ethics:

How can anyone deny that ... Ms. Cox is anything more than a woman with a harsh opinion of someone, and a global megaphone from which to proclaim it? No citations, no third-party verification, no evidence of anything approaching "fair and balanced," as degraded as that term has become.

In the past, you've railed against the decrease in journalistic integrity, and rightly so. I applaud you for that. I'm just surprised that you're not using this case as a rallying cry to get more bloggers to follow journalistic best practices, rather than wondering if maybe the sky really is beginning to fall.

I agree with D. B. and the Oregon court that Cox is a defamer, not a true ink- or HTML-stained wretch. But even on its best days, this blog barely meets four of the court's seven criteria for "journalism." I can think of respected blogs that barely meet any. The danger I see is from deep-pocketed entities who use this ruling to squelch criticism by suing solo bloggers into silence. It could get ugly out there.

In "The freedom to tweet: Not applicable in Thailand or Kansas," I wrote about how staffers working for Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas tried to punish a high school student for a disrespectful tweet she posted -- in clear violation of her First Amendment rights. I also asked readers to name their favorite Constitutional amendment. You can guess which one many of them picked. R. G. offers up the following classic example: "My favorite is the 2nd Amendment ... Remember, an armed man is a citizen. A disarmed man is a subject."

Needless to say I'll be a bit more careful about ticking off any "citizens" while I'm within range.

Finally, in "Pointless Internet surfing: It's the American way," I go on a bit about recent research that indicates most Americans surf the Internet because they have nothing better to do (that, and the apparently overwhelming desire to attack each other anonymously). Reader P. B. has this to add:

Hey, reading your blog isn't a waste of time. I think of it more as an "investment." And I don't need some pseudonymous, cowardly twit like yourself disabusing me of that essential prop to my cherished, carefully-nurtured but ever-so-fragile self-image!

He's kidding about that last bit, I think. He is kidding, right? I hope he's not armed.

Got a burning question for me or just a burning sensation? Post your questions below or email them: cringe@infoworld.com. If it's just a sensation, please contact a medical professional. Thank you.

This article, "The latest fanboy obsession is ... Windows Phone 7?," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

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