Windows Phone Left Me Underexposed

Thanks to Microsoft, I recently had a chance to test out a Windows Phone (Samsung Focus) for about a month… and the timing couldn’t have been better since it arrived on the day I returned from a vacation to Paris where my iPhone 4s was stolen.

The Sumsung Focus with Windows Mobile is a tight phone and 4 years ago when I was still using a BlackBerry, this would have been one hell of a great upgrade.

The interface was easy to figure out and I really like how the interface emphasized the people who were important to me.  Most of the apps worked well enough and I was pleasantly surprised how many of my favorite iphone apps were represented in their windows app store (evernote, yammer, foursquare, etc.).

However, even with Microsoft paying all the bills, after a month of using the Windows Phone, I couldn’t continue without the 4s any more. Yesterday, I broke down and bought a new iPhone 4s.

Interestingly, the thing I missed the most about the 4s was the camera… and all the photography apps that make an iPhone so slick.

Despite the fact that my mother is a brilliant photographer, not much of that brilliance has ever rubbed off on me.  And yet with a iPhone 4s, I started to feel like I could take some great shots. Going back to the Windows Phone where the camera was (only) decent, and the good photography apps were almost non-existant (no instagram, snapseed, diptic, photoshop express) was just too hard.

Whereas I probably took over 2000 photos in the month before my iphone was stolen, I think I took about 35 photos with the Windows Phone.  The quality wasn’t there… and while I know that wasn’t all Microsoft’s fault (it was Samsung’s hardware afterall), it was part of the overall smart phone experience that made the windows phone unworkable for me.

______________

Curious aside.  

What’s the proper etiquette for dealing with a phone that was given to me for free that I’m no longer going to use.   Do I send it back?  Is it okay to sell it?  Is it okay to give it away?   The phone works great (as a phone) including minutes/apps paid for by Microsoft, but it came with no instructions, so not sure how long it will last that way.

Both agent review sites I mentioned…

last week have officially launched:

In terms of design and functionality, Incredible Agents is clearly ahead of the game at this point, but that is probably to be expected of a site in it’s second iteration

Incredible Agents has two features I find particuly interesting:

  • A scoring system that gives every agent a value based on their experience (years in business, number of homes sold, etc) and activity on the site.
  • Agent Interviews. This allows a consumer to “interview” multiple agents with a set of questions while remaining anonymous.  From a consumer point of view, this is a fascinating feature and it would be interesting to see if Incredible Agents can get consumer interest around this feature.

The features that make AgentRank interesting:

  • An API so that anyone can access their database of agents and reviews
  • Potentially more objectivity since agents can’t buy ads or placement on their site.

I find both of these sites interesting.  Assuming that one of these review sites starts to get some serious consumer traction, then that site will have just added one more thing for agents to track.

(By the way, I can’t help but note that, at least according to Google, the best agent recommendations still come from a real estate professional on RCG as oppose to an automated scoring system.  😉 )

Michael is thinking about agent review sites…

…which is particularly timely because I had two conversations with people running agent review sites in the past 24 hours, where they showed me new stuff they are going to be releasing in the next few days/weeks.

I found these quotes from Michael’s post most interesting:

“Perhaps more importantly, is it possible to synthesize this data into a “score” or “rank” in order to provide the consumer with a recommendation? This is what I’ll refer to as the tyranny of the ordered list.

…the reality is that matching a specific consumer’s needs to a specific agent’s qualifications remains ridiculously complex.”

After getting a demo of one of the review sites today, I came away impressed because the people behind the site might, *just might*, have hit upon a way to get at specific consumer needs while using a “score” or “rank” (without necessarily making a recommendation).

Nonetheless, despite a recent burst of activity in this space, Michael makes the case that these types of agent review sites may actually be a disservice to consumers:

“The power of a ranked list is daunting, because it provides an easy short-cut.  Why look at agent two or three when there is a number one?”

Consumer-friendly or not, there clearly appears to be a market for consumers to research an agent online (and in particular for people moving long distances), so it will be interesting to watch if people can get traction (both within the industry and among consumers) with a more compelling agent-review product.