Recap: Big Windows Phone wows New York City

Recap: Big Windows Phone wows New York City

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A spur-of-the-moment marriage proposal. A Plants vs Zombies battle. A hip hop jam.

Sounds like just another day in the life of a Windows Phone, right?

Except this wasn’t any other day—or just any Windows Phone. All of these events took place within our mammoth custom-built Windows Phone replica, 150 times bigger than the real thing. Built to help celebrate the launch of our new U.S. handset lineup, the 6-story Big Windows Phone in New York’s Herald Square, not far from the Empire State Building, stopped hundreds of New Yorkers in their tracks. It also lit up the twittosphere, drawing the attention of fans and even some celebrities around the world.

“World’s biggest phone?” Entertainer Ryan Seacrest wondered aloud to his 5.4 million Twitter followers.

“We’re taking the trends to bigger screens to the next level,” quipped Windows Phone President Andy Lees to press and analysts at a smaller (and quieter) gathering a few blocks away.

The new Windows Phones from AT&T and T-Mobile—the Samsung Focus S and Focus Flash, and the HTC Radar 4G and Titan—also drew raves online. Better make a Windows Phone bib, suggested Mark Atkinson via Twitter, “for all those people out there drooling over their phone. This is gonna get messy!”

If you weren’t in New York today, here’s a tile by tile (make that 8’ x 8’ tile) visual diary of what went down. For more pictures and highlights, check out our official Windows Phone Facebook and Twitter channels. Ben “the PC guy” Rudolph was also there handing out free phones and tweeting. Finally, Microsoft’s Aaron Woodman gave The Verge a fun behind-the-scenes techie’s tour of the Big Windows Phone. Check it out.

Me

Windows Phone is all about connecting people. And so for a short time, the Me tile became the We tile as New Yorker Yuriy Rud popped the question to his very startled girlfriend. Watch it unfold live.

A marriage proposal in the Me tile

Music + Videos

The electro hip hop group Far Eastern Movement drew huge crowds at their midday show.

Far Eastern Movement drew huge crowds

Games

Windows Phone with Xbox LIVE is a game lover’s dream. So it’s only natural that two of the most popular smartphone games—Plants vs Zombies and Fruit Ninja—would show up in the Big Windows Phone.

A live Plants vs Zombies battle

Hai-ya! Fruit Ninja on the Big Windows Phone

Search

What do you do when you’re in the middle of Manhattan and don’t know where or what to eat? Why use Local Scout to find some great local pizza. We used the Big Windows Phone to dial up a local joint for our midday munchies.

Yo! Who ordered pizza?pizza2

44 Comments
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  • Michael, how long will the 6-story phone be on display in Herald Square?  Many thanks!  Rick in GA

  • Pitman
    46 Posts

    My son and I "play" this together. At 9, www.hererosettastone.com he loves the challenge and the game-like quality of the lessons. He also likes to have his own account and to see if he can "beat" me making progress.

  • @ ScubaDog,

    I did have "Find My Phone" enabled...but when it was stolen the battery was dead. So no, that didn't work.

    As far as "the most popular", well...errr....of course I mean by the numbers. That's usually what "popular" means.

    @ Rodney,

    That is not my only complaint. It's my largest. How did I miss calls and alarms? Simple. Use your phone to listen to a podcast going to sleep and then try waking up to it the next morning. Oops, that's right, the volume is too low to hear the alarm (true story, I woke up late to work my first morning with it). It may not be a big deal to you, but again, you're not looking at the bigger picture. These devices are all-in-one for most people who use them. If I hop on my bike to go for a ride, I only want 1 device for my music, my phone, to check email, etc. Failing to separate the volume controls may be just ONE issue, but it's so fundamental to how these devices are used that the fact that this feature was excluded not just from initial release but from Mango as well is startling and says a lot about how far behind the curve MS is STILL. That should have been one of the very first things introduced in Mango.

    I left the iPhone because I'm a .Net developer and I was excited to leverage my skills in the mobile space. It made sense to me at the time. Unfortunately, as a USER of the phone rather than a developer, it just didn't cut it. There were too many other little things missing as well. As I mentioned, I was quite ready to purchase another WP7 phone since Mango was released, but when I learned the volume control had not been addressed, I said screw it. I'd rather own a phone that does what I want rather than continue holding out for the "promise" of a "new, innovative" platform that, to be fair, is making strides, but making them too slowly.

    Don't misunderstand this as wanting things to behave exactly as the iPhone does, which is what your rather condescending reply indicates. I'm by no means an Apple fan and truth be told I prefer Metro over the iPhone's UI. But say what you will about Apple, they manage to get a lot of little details right--and it's those little details that make a big difference.

    Finally, this isn't my first post here in the blogs. I had an old username but (irony roll, please) the Windows blog password reset tool is abysmal, so it was easier to just create a new ID. Trust me, I complained about this very same feature well before Mango, so sorry--looks like that suggestion didn't do a whole lot, eh?

  • westv555
    17 Posts

    Wedding proposal inside the 60ft Windows Phone was awesome.

  • @ Tony,

    Yes, that's my point. If WP was appealing enough to try, then how could one issue make someone say that's it. People are saying they have a issue in one department and immediately want to go running back to their iPhones. That's why it's smart for MS to go after feature phone users, because old dogs might be willing to learn new tricks, but won't perform them like the new master says.

  • @Rodney,

    Sometimes, it may just come down to someone wanting to try something new and it not working out. I also jumped (kind of blindly I might add) from iPhone to WP7. Not because I was unhappy with my iPhone (I loved it). But I wanted to try something new and having played with the Focus a bit the week before changing phones, I liked what I saw. Now, I probably should have done my homework as I was shocked to find (after upgrading) the platform didn't have some basic features that I looked forward to. Those being changing the background photo of your home screen (which my iPhone at the time didn't have, but my phone before did) or custom tones. However, I was sold on the Xbox Live integration (being an avid gamer who owns a 360) and Office. So maybe those two tipped the scales a bit. I'm glad we got the custom tones with Mango (though I wish the process were less cumbersome). Would have loved for more accent colors and maybe more options for background colors as well. Maybe a future update. At this point, I'm most likely going to see the experience through, hoping the hardware gets better. I am wondering if I should just complete the trifecta and go Android next time....My wife just got an iPhone 4 and while I still have an iPod Touch, playing with her phone has reminded me that there are still a crap load of apps the Marketplace has yet to get that I miss from my time with the iPhone. Definitely would be awesome if we someday got Word With Friends.

  • @ thrashee

    So your only complaint about Windows Phone is volume control? And, please explain how that made you miss calls and alarms.... I do agree that these controls need to be separated, but out of all the things that piss me off I can deal with it until a future update. You're not the only one who wants this changed, and MS is aware of the issue people have with it, so if a update comes out around February or March 2012, and fixes this then you will be stuck with your iPhone. Also, if your OK being stuck with your iPhone then why did you even switch to WP in the first place? What made you decide that this OS was special enough to leave?

    If my main complaint was volume control, and the iPhone had separate control, and I didn't care about any of the innovations that MS has done with the user interface, Xbox live and games, Office, Zune, IE9, and all other things that make "our" WP's special, there is now way I would leave iOS! What your saying just doesn't add up. Are you the kind of person to weigh out the pros vs the cons??? Are you sure about that?

    And finally, this is your very first post. Why would you not post your frustration early on so that someone could possibly see it and help you out? Instead you waited until you are out of the WP loop and back into Apple territory? Are you sure you're ready for a smartphone?

    Now I kind of agree with you about the Marketing skills, So far they have been almost non existent. And, no the "Monolith" will not sell 20 million devices by itself, but like Scuba said it's a step in the right direction.

    Jesus man! No wonder it's hard to get people exited about WP.  You're like that dumb girl who reviewed WP on a challenge from MS, and she basically gave it a bad review because it didn't function exactly like her iPhone. You guy's are going to be old and grey and still using those things. I always promised myself one thing when it comes to WP. Never be afraid to admit, when the day comes, and it will, that it's time to try something new and stay innovative.

  • @ScubaDog2011 please tell us how that goes, hahahaaaa. i got mango on the first day so ... i love my wp7?

  • @Thrashee.....you mean you didn't setup the "Find my phone" feature?  Why on earth didn't you turn that on?  You probably would have found it very quickly.  I set that up day one.  As for the "least popular OS", I suppose that depends on what you're using to define that.  If it's sheer numbers, then you're right.  If you look at satisfaction/enthusiasm, I think that stats put WP7 at least #2 and in some reports #1.  But it still remains a best-kept secret.  So, given that 90% of the people I've shown my phone to and let them play with it has been overwhelmingly impressed, I think this stunt that Microsoft did is a step in the right direction.  I think the next big hurdle is getting the ignorant salespeople to be less ignorant.  I'm getting ready to pop back into my local AT&T office and "test" them.  I'm going to ask about the Focus S.  If they respond by steering me to iPhone or Android I'm going to make a BIG scene in the store about how absolutely stupid and NOT customer oriented they are.  It's my mission to embarrass ignorant people into unemployment.

  • @Rodney.  Yes, actually.  There a couple who are our best friends that both own Focus 1.3.   The husband has asked me to let him know what devices I'm leaning toward as far as upgrading so he can pay closer attention.  He uses his mostly for his business, so the Focus S or even the Titan, if the screen isn't TOO big, would probably fit him.  He doesn't store much on the device itself so moving from 8GB to 16GB along with all the other advancements is perfect for him.  His wife uses it for managing her apartment complex and running the family, basically, so similar needs as far as performance.  I have the specific storage requirement, so I'm not looking to upgrade until that is addressed.  But we're ALL enthusiasts.  The one person I got a message back from via the I'm A WP7! app was over-the-top a fanboy of WP7, particularly after Mango got on his device.

  • Wow, @Hawk, I can't even begin to list the reasons why I believe you're way off on this.  But if the vanilla and PERCEPTION of stability (they now have a huge security hole in their OS) with the iPhone suits your needs, then dive in.  I'm glad there's a device that may actually satisfy you.

  • Sigh. What's wrong with MS's marketing department? Your bizarre "iPhone is dead" campaign and now this? Yeah, this is *really* gonna boost sales of the world's least popular smartphone OS.

    Oh well. You guys haven't truly understand the consumer market since....ever, really. Myself, I just hit my upgrade cycle and went back to the iPhone after my Focus was stolen. I liked WP7, but the lack of a separate volume for ringer/system sounds and Zune sounds meant missed calls, missed alarms, and missed opportunities. I was positive Mango would include a fix for this, but surprise! Nope. Out of the hundreds of improvements in Mango, MS still managed to miss the curve by demonstrating how poorly it understands the all-in-one nature of today's smart phones. Good job, MS!

  • That's got to be the highest quality app in the WP marketplace, which makes it the highest quality app ever. Works perfectly! I don't think Microsoft helped Spotify with this app, I think they made it for them. It's no less than the native software.

  • Spotify........How exactly is that pronounced?

  • AnZ
    12 Posts

    Or there would be another post stating they  had these many hits this site, worth nothing to anyone!

  • AnZ
    12 Posts

    @ blaksnar, Do not get this the wrong way! no one cares what we post here, not even something which is related to the post. they left the option to add comments may be they just don't want to see the numbers of these posts in a single digit. LOL. if they cared, they would respond to some serious queries

  • @ djmikebrady

    That's good to hear. I wonder why I haven't seen anyone yet.

  • @ Scuba,

    So you have seen others with devices?

  • cm3763
    37 Posts

    @blaksnar

    I agree, If what that poster said is true then I will never go back to Samsung or Microsoft again.

  • Hello, I really liked the event. Its great for branding and increasing awareness of the new OS.

    On another note: When can we expect to have voice navigation on Big Maps. I really miss that feature and dont want to spend $34.99 buying the garmin app. Is Nokia Ovi Maps going to be available to all windows phones?

  • cm3763
    37 Posts

    I will post where ever I feel like. If they are not going to answer it when posted in correct places then we all will keep bringing down the other blogs. It does however go with this blog. If they can not keep there current customers happy and get updates out to 6 phones there is no way anyone new should come to WP7. Who knows what phones will and will not act up and to get future updates. Anytime I am asked about my Samsung Focus I tell them to go Iphone, because Microsoft has not been able to take care of there customers.

  • blaksnar
    23 Posts

    @AnZ Really? Point us to one. But in one way i agree with you, they never mind reading or replying to the comments even if the post is specific to the phone updates. Then, why bother posting here?

  • AnZ
    12 Posts

    stop being kids and talk about what the post is for.

    really, get to the right forum to talk about what you looking for

  • @Rodney - I commute by rail in the Seattle Area every day, and I too have been on the lookout...  Over the last couple months, I've been pleasantly surprised to see 5 or 6 other WP7 users amid the sea of iphone and androids...  And at work, on the same floor as me, there are at least two other WP7s.  One of them sits across the cube-wall from me, and has the same message tone set... Note to self:  Change the tone so we can tell WHO just got a text!

    So it feels like there IS a slowly creeping awareness...  one of the guys here at work is actually an enthusiast like me, who last month was raving about picking up the Titan as soon as it comes out.  Me, I'm happy with my Arrive, but REALLY hope there's a 2nd gen CDMA WP7 before too long, because my wife needs a new phone and I don't want to buy an outdated model because that's all that's available to me...

  • Hawk
    61 Posts

    I'm currently a Focus rev1.4 owner in the DFW area but that won't be for long.  I was waiting to take a look at the Focus S but after further thought, who's to say this update fiasco won't happen again.  It always happens with Android phones and now that the hardware list of WP7 phones is growing, it will continue to happen to WP7 customers.

    There are just too many smartphones on the market for both Android and Microsoft.  Too many to keep up with!  The only smartphone on the market right now that I trust will always receive updates while I'm under contract with AT&T is the iPhone.  

    Microsoft and the carriers simply cannot compete with the iPhone.  Wish I didn't have to switch back because I love the WP7 OS but as long as I'm stuck in a 2yr agreement with my carrier, I need to TRUST that my phone will always receive software updates!

  • blaksnar
    23 Posts

    @cm3763 Sounds scary that they won't update 1.4 ever. If they do that seriously, I'm off Windows Phone and Samsung ever. Never again a Microsoft or Samsung product after this if it happens. Not like we don't have options.

  • drankurn
    42 Posts

    @jburch

    i think they are getting better at ignoring 1.4 questions,

    they are yet to give any updates or answer any questions in more than 2 weeks now.

    so much for updating all the handsets in timely manner.

  • jburch
    45 Posts

    Any news about the V1.4 Focus?

  • @Rodney, that reminds me.  I really do like that I'm a WP7! app.  It does sort of act as its own hub.  But one feature that I think isn't taken advantage of enough is that Near Me part of the Community.  I  see people who have installed it only to never ever update or check it again.  I've sent messages to the folks in my area, but have only received one reply.  I think this would be a great way to actually network users and revive the old "users group" concept that disappeared several years ago.

  • Next stop London!! Bring that phone over here and show the rest of the UK that the iPhone isn't all that!!

  • Travel the world with this, MS... especially to the developing world.. you'll get a lot more coverage compared to the US

  • Pitman
    46 Posts

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  • cm3763
    37 Posts

    this a qoute from Phil Gaitan from the previous blog Updates: Now delivering to Omnia 7 on Deutsche Telekom

    ""What Happened Today! - (PREFACE - I am a mobile developer for a large US based company, we have a sales network of commissioned reps -over 300- who use or information services to close business and who provide their own cell phones, we support iPhone, Android and WP) I wanted to post this comment for all those waiting patiently for the Samsung Focus v1.4 Mango update. I went to my local AT&T Store to take a look at the new Samsung Focus S. After speaking with the sales rep he told me that there would be no update for the Samsung Focus v1.4 phone and all those waiting would wait forever! Knowing he was just trying to sell me a phone I asked to speak with Manager who basically told me the same thing. After a lengthy discussion of the company I worked for he immediately offered to me a free Samsung Focus S upgrade, I thanked him but told him we still supported the original Samsung Phone and he gave me my phone back and said "here ya go, but I would recommend you tell your reps to upgrade to the new phone - there isn't going to be any Mango Upgrade to Samsung Focus v 1.4!""""

    Would love for someone to respond to this claim......

  • cm3763
    37 Posts

    Why should anyone trust another samsung phone with WP7, when Microsoft and Samsung cant get there updates out to current users?

  • blaksnar
    23 Posts

    @Rodney After months of trying to spot someone with a WP7 phone here in my NJTransit bus travel I can correlate with your experience.

  • Far East Movement* just saying LOL but otherwise a pretty awesome event hahah seems like so much fun :D

  • It's been a year now and I still haven't' seen anybody here in the Dallas Fort Worth area sporting a WP device, besides myself. I know that there are other people because according to the "Ima Wp7" App there are some in my neighborhood. Ive been walking thru Walmart, and similar joints, trying to spot others, but I have had no luck. I was wondering if anybody out there has been running into "strangers" with WP devices this past year.

    Have you???

  • blaksnar
    23 Posts

    Looks good and a badly needed marketing event. Really bad that I could not stop by at the event even though I work just 10 blocks away.

    BTW, can you please update what's the status on Mango for Focus Rev 1.4 phones? All these new phones with Mango makes me feel bad instead of feeling good.

  • That was BIG! Keep it coming!!

    I wonder if the crowd got the message that theirs a new phone in town, and that it's a serious option besides the iPhone or Android device in their pockets. I wonder if anybody's considering checking these out in the retail stores. The coupons where a great idea,,, a real deal maker for some.

    I wonder if that girl holding that pizza box up above her head can tell me what's the difference in Windows Phone and Android or iPhone...... I bet she has a iPhone in her pocket. This would have been a good time to Raffle off like 100 free devices. That would have went viral for real dude! I bet 1 free phone in the the hands of a civilian, who is wowed by the WP experience, is worth 50 free phones in developers hands. I bet a regular Joe will tell everyone he can about his new phone and how great it is, a developer, well he might make a app or two. Do Android developers make apps because the phones get into customers hands first, without getting free devices???? Oh well, the free devices are good, I just wish people besides the ones that already have WP devices knew about the free phones being given away on twitter. If you guy's give me a free Focus S I would donate it to someone who I know hasn't broke the S.Phone barrier yet, I promise! I will replace my Focus later on my own. See, I'm willing to make sacrifices in exchange for awareness. I think I'm going to adopt that saying as my official WP saying,,, "Windows Phone, Making Sacrifices for the sake of awareness"... I hope it catches on.

    Free Pizza? that's not fair and I want some to. That's cool how you guys missed work today and got to go to a WP party in New York. You guys have the coolest jobs. I bet it was still work though, so great job. Joe's cool!

    That Huge phone is the coolest thing ever! I would like to live in it. Maybe you guys should challenge some bloke to stay up in it for months and call Guinness World Record to document the guy. Yeah do that! Give him a free phone to and he will be able to communicate with everyone from, guess what, Yes,, his shiny Windows Phone...

    Y'all should bring that thing here to Dallas and put it right where the old Cowboys Stadium used to sit. The spot is still open and at least 300,000 cars pas by each day.... Doesn't that thing kind of look like the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey?

  • Entegy
    42 Posts

    Ok, not gonna lie, the calling of the pizza place makes me giddy at how funny it is. Dunno why.

    Also, big event, always a marriage proposal. :P

  • KR
    503 Posts

    Waiting for something similar in Calgary