Smoked by Windows Phone comes to Toronto, we try our best (and lose)

Daniel Bader

May 19, 2012 10:35 am


Smoked by Windows Phone came to Toronto’s Yonge & Dundas Square yesterday, and we were there to try our luck at winning $100. Like the challenges in other countries, they are rather limited in scope and obviously biased towards features that Windows Phone has integrated into the OS — Facebook photo tagging, searching for restaurants, finding the weather — but the demonstration is rather impressive nonetheless.

Our friend Corey took a shot at the $100 prize, his iPhone 4S going against a Lumia 900 in an attempt to find a list of local GTA restaurants. Unfortunately victory eluded him as the skilled Windows Phone incumbent located a Tim Hortons before Corey could even open his Maps app.

The stand attracted a lot of attention at one of the country’s busiest intersections, and as we stood there talking to the various passersby we came to understand the plight of Windows Phone in the North American market. There were countless BlackBerry users, iPhone clutchers and Android fans among the challengers, but we saw very few who knew the Windows Phone brand, and fewer still who owned a handset.

Still, there were several staff members on hand, each equipped with LTE-powered Lumia 900s, showing off in rapid succession the advantages of the Windows Phone OS. Check out our adventure with Smoked by Windows Phone after the break.

  • Atrix

    If windows phone can smoke the competition on price then I will buy. $ is everything.

    • Mickey

      Nokia Lumia 900 $99 Deal or what?

  • Atrix

    they should give out nokia 710s for free. that would be smokin.

  • Bobblehead

    I like WP – their asethetics are different and very slick. With the fall of BB, I can see them being the third OS, which I think the market needs.

    I like them targeting value-conscious smartphone users, people probably buying a smartphone for their first time and have no brand affinity yet. 50% of the market still doesn’t own a smartphone, so getting these folks on the platform can lead to loyalty, however they need to ensure they offer a higher device as these buyer’s expectations mature.

    • gwydionjhr

      Bobblehead said: “50% of the market still doesn’t own a smartphone”

      I believe that’s the American stat, the most recent one I saw for Canada was only 35% smartphone ownership.

      It’s nice to see SBWP finally in Canada. It would be interesting to do a comparison between US and Canadian sales of WP in a few months. In the states every AT&T sales rep got a WPs so they could really learn the OS and they’ve thrown major marketing $ behind it. In Canada I’ve gone into numerous Telus and Rogers stores and outright asked the staff what kind of training they’ve received, and it almost all cases it was little more than a sell sheet they were required to read, and as a result they know next to nothing about WP.

      Am I a WP fan? You might say that. I just used my Fido $ to purchase an HTC One S, so I can sell it, and buy a Lumia 900 out of the states. I just can’t decide between Cyan and White :-)

    • DaRazorback

      Definitely not the only WP fan. I have had the Samsung Focus and the Nokia Lumia 900 and I absolutely love both phones. It is such a great OS, if people would only give it a chance and salesmen would actually take the time to learn about the products they sell.

    • Blaise Petric

      In canada it is 53% with smartphones
      Source: CBC news

  • Dylan D

    The filmed with the HTC One X at the end makes the video that much more funny.

  • ytwytw

    my one x wins ^^

  • Sean

    I seriously wish they had the smoked by windows phone offer up here liek they did in the states theen I could of got a few windows phones for me and my friends

  • Joe

    I like the look on the guys face, it’s like “What do you mean you’re done, this is an iPhone, you can’t beat an iPhone” :)

  • Mark

    The windows phone guys hands are sooo weird.

  • Zach

    it would be much more impressive if the windows phone was on the same network as the iphone. even if they started from within their own apps and did the search, yes the way its coded is different, but the pure speed of LTE is exponentially faster than HSDPA+.

    maybe a fair competition is the One X on LTE vs the Lumia on LTE, or if you want to get technical, find a single core android phone that is LTE and pit it against the Lumia with LTE.

    its not a race of better coding in THIS specific case, but moreso who has the better network.

    • gwydionjhr

      It’s done over the same wifi connection, carrier data speed is taken out of the equation to make it fair. Do a quick search on YouTube for Smoked By Windows Phone. They’ve done this challenge tens of thousands of times around the world, and the WP wins over 99% of the time.

    • Alex Davies

      Actually the Canadian one, which I went to and won yesterday with an HTC One S is NOT done over Wi-Fi. So yes when it comes to search MS does have the advantage of having an LTE device.

    • bummy

      Its more like trained professionals (trained salesmen) versus random smartphone users who have not practice the task before.

  • Brandon James Starcevic

    I would love to try this, LTE vs LTE

    • gwydionjhr

      It’s done over a wifi connection to remove the variable of your carriers data speed effecting the results.

  • StBur

    I think it’s a bit cheap to say “let’s have a competition to see who can do the thing that I get to pick and knew I was going to pick faster”. Want to make it fair? Let me pick the competition.

    • gwydionjhr

      That misses the point. Most of the tasks in SMWP are common, everyday type smartphone tasks. They are the kinds of things that should actually matter to any consumer.

    • OgtheDim

      Actually it doesn’t miss the point at all. The guy knows what he is going to find and how to do it. His advantage is practice and foreknowledge.

      If anything it should be a randomised Iron Chef type question.

      Ur secret task is……………find an aqauirium store near Eglinton and Don Mills.

    • Yeria

      @gwydionjhr
      You’re an i***t if you’re actually falling for this.

      Can you place this weather widget on the 5th home screen on your phone? Well, you just can’t do it if you’re using an iPhone or a Windows Phone. Not because they suck but because that’s just not an option.

      I set up my Android phone in a way to see the weather in my area instantly. I just have to turn my screen on. If I get to choose that task, I can smoke anything in the world.

  • Kenny

    As good as Google Goggles, maps, and Places work, I must say, Bing Scout and Vision work and results pop up much faster.

  • StBur

    They win because THEY know exactly what they’re going to have to do, and have preset their phone to do it almost immediately. Anyone with that prior knowledge could win. If I knew I’d have to find two separate contacts info before they did the challenge I’d put two Widgets on my home screen and turn off the security on my phone so I’d win just by pressing the on button.

  • ToniCipriani

    Well no s**t you’re gonna lose… you’re pitting an iPhone against it.

  • Dandroid

    I know that windows phone is fast but the guy definitely had LTE which was his major major advantage to allow the win. If he was against another LTE phone, that’s when it would be a challenge.

  • stevemcstave

    Yeah, because I need to find things like my life depended on it. I don’t mind addional seconds to do tasks. Speed as a main selling point is stupid, give me accurate detailed information instead with cool features like virtual menu.

  • fred

    Merp

  • Megahertz

    @StBur your absolutely right!!!

    This is still not enough to get me to switch!! Only MS product I don’t mind using is the Xbox!!

  • Alex Davies

    The secrets to winning are:

    a) have an newer HTC Android phone, which like Windows Phone has a LOT of integration with social networks in it’s various Sense apps – the One S and X are best for this.

    b) Prep your phone PROPERLY. Put the common shortcuts and apps on the home screen – Windows Phone excels in search and Facebook integration so have the search on the home screen, put the Sesne People widget on the homescreen etc. MAKE SURE you contacts in HTC People are linked to their Facebook profiles. Make sure you turn off any lock-screen passwords, turn-off your screen timeout etc.

    b) spend some time watching other contestants (most of the ones I saw were terribly, fumbling with their phones, searching for a program in the app draw etc.), and practice a few of the tasks off to the side. Make sure you know EXACTLY what you need to do to complete a few of the tasks that MS asks you to do.

    Even with all this prep it IS going to be very close. Windows Phone is FAST when it comes to the tasks they have chosen, and your opponent has done them 100′s of time over the past few days. But Android CAN win if you do it right.

    You may say that doing all this prep work is ‘cheating’, but really it’s just allowing an apples to apples comparison between your phone and Windows Phone, in a contest that MS has carefully designed to allow the Lumia 900 to win 99% of the time.

    One thing that I do ask if you decide to go down with the intent of winning like this is NOT to take the prize money. The reason why MS is doing this is to educate the average passer by about Windows Phone, which is a great OS that deserves more recognition. The money is to get people’s attention so they’ll stop and play. It’s not their for phone nerds like us to come down advantage of.

  • Harry

    @ Alex Davies,
    It is nothing about losing/winning, to me when i am spending 700 dollars on something i want it to be easy to use and fast. 90% of the normal people using smartphones are not tech geeks, they are normal people but they want fancy phones just to be a part of the cool crowd. So a phone which costs you 550 dollars, its easy to use and user friendly out of the box, that is what SMWP contest is showing.
    Why i want a android phone or iphone paying 700 dollars and then in order to make it worthwhile i have to tweak it. WP is good in this regard and hence SMWP contest just to highlight that.

  • Belig

    I just smoked a windows phone and got the prize! I won with my galaxy s II. By the way we were both on Wi-Fi. I can smoke anyone anytime

    • Tomatoes

      For some reason the Galaxy S2 still smokes everything. I can’t imagine how crazy the GS3 is going to perform.

  • drivel

    Didnt this whole campaign get sued since an Android user handed them their a$$?

  • Stuntman

    Finding a nearby restaurant is something I have done once in the two years I have owned a smartphone. I would not consider it an every day task. It’s like the one where you look for the weather in two different cities hundreds of miles apart. I have needed to do that maybe once or twice a year. I do not consider many of these challenges something I would do every day.

  • Allen

    MS advert shot on a One X. Not good.

    From Windows Phone 7.5

    • Clamdigger69

      It’s not a Windows advert, it was recorded for this site, which happens to be about all makes and phone OS.

  • Johnny

    Well it could’ve been more embarrassing using am android as it wouldnt have even get pass the unlock screen.
    Screw you fandroids, google slaves, android sheep

    • Blackkey

      You bashed android twice, i think you ment iSheep? nonetheless yeah i agree. I am ok with people liking their os but it is the closemindedness that I cant stand.

      “The evil I could manage, but the IDIOCY…. OOOOH”

  • Guy Fawkes

    How about, “upload a photo from the browser” … oh wait, IE cant do that :/

  • RoyalWitCheese

    The Android contestants need to smarten up.

    First button press on the phone should be WifiKill.

  • Kosta

    Im sure, any phone will smoke Note on battery.! damn thing needs to be charged twice a day!