Tag Archives: vodafone

Want a Windows Phone 7? Here are the choices and costs in the UK

I’ve been taking a look at what it will cost to get hold of a Windows Phone 7 device when it appears.

By way of preamble, personally I’m allergic both to contracts and to locked devices. It is an especially difficult issue for individual developers who want to test, support or develop for multiple devices. If you want an unlocked device, you could try Expansys which is currently taking orders for the HTC 7 Trophy – 3.8” screen, 8GB storage at £429.99 including VAT, but not due until 11th November.

O2’s HTC HD7 also looks attractive for developers, since it is available on pay as you go and has 16GB storage. It may be a bit bulky, but that is no bad thing for testing.

Vodafone has the cheapest currently announced deal by some measures, with the Trophy for £25.00 per month.

What if you want the HTC 7 Pro, which has 16GB storage and a slide-out keyboard? It’s set to be available in the US from early 2011 on Sprint, no word yet about Europe though I’m told it will appear here around the same time.


If you want a keyboard, the good news is that the LG Optimus 7Q also has one; the bad news is that there are apparently no plans to offer it in the UK. You will be able to get it on Telstra in Australia.

There is also the Dell Venue Pro which has a little thumb keyboard, but no UK availability announcement yet. It will be on T-Mobile in the USA.

Dell Venue Pro

O2 has published details of its tariffs for the HTC HD7 – 4.3" screen, 16GB storage.

  • Free on £40 24 month tariff
  • £379 pay and go


Orange, which says it is “Microsoft’s lead partner”, will have the Samsung Omnia 7 – 4.0" screen, 8GB storage, free on a £40.00, 24 month tariff. Note this is cheaper on T-Mobile, see below.

Samsung Omnia 7

Orange also offers HTC 7 Mozart – 3.7" screen, 8GB storage, free on £35.00 24 month tariff.

No word on pay as you go for either handset.

T-Mobile, which like Orange is now owned by Everything Everywhere, also has the the Omnia 7, free on a £35.00 24-month contract.

Vodafone has the HTC 7 Trophy – 3.8” screen, 8GB storage. This is free on a £25.00, 24 month contract. I’ve also been told Vodafone will offer the LG Optimus 7 – 3.8” screen, 16GB storage free with a £30, 24 month deal.

Three has the Samsung Omnia 7 on 24-month plans from £35.00 to £40.00 per month.

Might there be supply issues at launch? I am guessing that is likely, so if you are keen get your order in early. On the other hand, these are version one devices, so the usual health warnings apply.

Miserable user experience continues with Windows 7

I’ve just spent some time with a non-technical person who has just signed up for a £30 per month Vodafone internet dongle, which came with a “free” Samsung netbook running Windows 7 Starter Edition.

The user is returning it under the terms of the 14-day trial offer.

Why? Well, the requirement was for a small computer that would be connected to the Internet everywhere, within reason. The user also purchased Microsoft Office along with (for some reason I could not discern) Norton Internet Security.

The good news: the internet connection was fine when connected, something like 2.5Mb download speed on a brief test.

The bad news:

1. The little netbook was badly infested with trialware. Browsing the web was difficult because the already-small screen area was further filled by two additional toolbars, one from Google and the other from MacAfee, leaving barely half the screen for actual web pages. Google kept on prompting for permission to grab user data about location and who knows what else.

2. MacAfee was pre-installed and the task of removing it and replacing it with Norton was tricky, bearing in mind that Norton was delivered on a CD and there was no CD drive. MacAfee was constantly warning that the user was at risk.

3. Two Samsung dialogs popped up on each boot asking the user to do a backup to external storage.

4. The Vodafone connect software was bewildering. In part this was thanks to a complex UI. There also seemed to be bugs. The “usage limit” was preset at 50MB separately for 3G and GPRS; the deal allowed 3GB overall. Changing the usage limit seemed to work, but it reverted at next boot. Then it showed usage limit warnings, as 50MB had already been transferred. Once while I was there the Vodafone utility crashed completely.

5. The Vodafone dongle wobbled in the USB slot. Whenever it was attached it would come up with a dialog asking to run setup, because it included a storage area containing the utility software, even though the utility was already installed.

6. The Vodafone connection is managed through an icon in the notification area that you right-click to connect or disconnect. Windows 7 had hidden this thanks to the new default behaviour of the notification area, which is a usability disaster.

7. The Vodafone connection was set to prompt for a connection. It did sometimes display a prompt, but apparently on some kind of timeout, since it quickly closed without actually connecting. The prompt then did not reappear during that session.

The user concluded that it was too complicated to use, hence the return.

Now, for most readers of this blog I am sure none of the above would matter. We would uninstall MacAfee and Google toolbar, not buy Norton but simply install Microsoft Security Essentials, maybe use Google Chrome for a leaner browsing experience, remove any other software that was not essential (and there was other trialware that I did not have time to investigate), unset the silly option to hide notification icons, find a way of taming or replacing Vodafone’s connection utility, and all would be fine.

I am not sure of the value of the Vodafone contract; the deal is not too bad if you need to connect while out and about, though there is a heavy penalty charge of £15.00 per GB if you exceed 3GB in a month, and it is quite unsuitable if, as in this case, it is your only Internet connection and you plan to use it for things like BBC iPlayer.

That’s an aside. What I find depressing is that despite Microsoft’s efforts to improve Windows usability in 7, the real-world result can still be so poor.

In this case, most of the blame is with Vodafone for poor software, and Samsung for taking all those trialware fees. I guess it is not that bad a deal, since there is almost always someone around who is willing or enjoys solving these puzzles and getting everything working.

Still, here is a customer who wanted and was willing to pay for a no-frills, always-connected internet device, and was let down.

Here also is the market that Apple aims to satisfy with iPad, and Google with devices running Chrome OS.

I wish them every success, since it seems that the Microsoft + OEM Windows culture cannot easily meet this need.