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
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