Windows Phone 7 makes use of changing backgrounds throughout the OS, and for the most part, that’s cool. Bing’s image changes daily. The background in the photos hub takes one of your shots at random, and the Zune hub shows band art for the group you’re listening to.
What’s not cool is opening up the Marketplace on Windows Phone 7 to get me some new apps, only to be met with Dappy from N Dubz recommending them to me.
Let me just make it clear at this point that I don’t like N Dubz. I’ve never bought any of their records, and I certainly don’t have their albums on my HTC HD7. They’re so bad, I won’t even pirate their music.
But let’s put aside my hatred for N Dubz for the time being. No one is going to be able to explain how anyone raised in St John’s Wood ends up spewing glottal stops like they do (and wha?). Much more of a concern is Microsoft’s notion that somehow I’d like to see them on my Windows Phone 7 handset without me asking.
This isn’t something I’d really noticed over the last fortnight using the HTC HD7 – Microsoft has only just kicked its Marketplace into gear for the full launch, it seems, as the Marketplace background has been black most of the time until now – but the company has decided that featured music downloads deserve to take up the whole of your background: by the looks of things, they have a new single out, called Best Behaviour. At the risk of presuming too much, I’m guessing it sees Dappy talking about how he is not on it. With women.
This obviously touches on one of the current flaws with the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace – that it doesn’t do much to distinguish between apps and media, especially when you search. But more pressingly, it’s simply an assumption too far.
Of course Microsoft should make some money by having a featured apps section in the Marketplace, especially since discoverability on mobile app stores is such an issue (Looking at you, Android Market). But to then plaster the background with these pics is a leap too far.
As we touched on last week when Mic aired his frustration at Stephen Fry turning up to the opening of too many envelopes, celebrity doesn’t mean credibility with your users either. Does Microsoft really think users’ reaction will be “Gosh, a current band, I like Windows Phone 7 for showing me pictures of them without asking?”. If so, it’s a pity Redmond thinks its new users are that fickle.
And perhaps it sounds petty, but your phone’s background is a personal thing, with emotion tied up in it – it might be a picture of your family – and at any rate on the HTC HD7 it’s also bloody massive, making N Dubz’ presence all the more intrusive. There’s a reason Apple has been so wary about letting you touch the wallpaper in iOS.
Maybe some people like to buy music on their phones (Er, Spotify?). Frankly, I don’t care. All I know is that there’s the distinct possibility somebody will see me using this in public, and assume I’m an N Dubz fan. Thanks Microsoft! I’d rather they just thought I was a geek.