Third-party apps
Third-party apps

Microsoft touts more than 100,000 titles in the WP7 Marketplace, but their quality is another matter. While some show the same polish as WP7's zippy start screen -- the Foursquare app, developed on Microsoft's dime, comes to mind -- others don't feel at home on Microsoft's platform. The halting pace of app updates doesn't suggest things will improve quickly.

Twitter's app, for example, fixed early bugs but still can't seem to put notifications on its start-screen tile. Adding more than a line of text to a memo in Evernote results in the cursor and all further input vanishing behind the onscreen keyboard.

Many other vendors -- for instance, Hulu, Pandora and Tumblr -- have yet to ship anything for WP7. (The "Tumblr" app listed in the Marketplace is, to judge from the comments under its one-star rating, a fraud and a ripoff.) Outside vendors have written some capable replacements for name-brand absences, but they often require giving up features, sacrificing usability, or paying for what comes free in iOS and Android.

More than anything, the WP7 software situation reminds me of how it felt to use a Mac in the late '90s. I hope Microsoft appreciates the irony.

@CNNMoneyTech - Last updated July 17 2012: 9:08 AM ET
Join the Conversation
Rethinking the Kindle Fire

Software updates and other modifications have fixed some flaws but left others looking painfully obvious.

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2015 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2015. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2015 and/or its affiliates.