BARCELONA, MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 2012 — Prowling the showfloor for scoops on the second day of Mobile World Congress, we happened to stop by the Windows Phone 7 booth, where we discovered that just hours before, an original first-generation iPhone beat a top-of-the-line Windows Phone in one of Microsoft’s very own challenges. Oh, delicious hubris!
Mobile World Congress is filled with companies trying to catch showgoers’ attentions any way they can. Yesterday, I saw three clowns on stilt shoes literally bending over backwards, just trying to catch someone’s eye. Taking a local Catalan girl dressed only in her underpants, dumping a bucket of glitter on top of her, then telling her to hand out pamphlets is another popular stratagem for catching your eye on the tradefloor.
Microsoft’s taking a different tack. With their Windows Phone 7 booth, they are throwing a 100 Euro Windows Phone challenge, in which they invite showgoers to compete for a crisp C-note by having the smartphone in their pocket go head-to-head with a Windows Phone 7 handset.
They do this every two or three hours, so when I stopped by, the last duel had long since passed. Even so, they had a score board of how Windows Phone 7 had stacked up in their tests. And in one of the tests, an original iPhone tied a Windows Phone 7 handset in “Photo / Social.”
We were curious what this meant, so we asked a Microsoft representative, who confirmed that if it said iPhone, it was an original iPhone. She also said she believed that specific showdown involved how long it took to take a photo and then upload it to a social network.
If so, that’s astonishing. A five-year old phone without any semblance of multitasking and running an operating system that is over two years old held its own against one of Microsoft’s biggest and best devices.
To be fair, it seems like this test has more to do with the person operating the phone than it does with the handset’s capabilities, and Windows Phone did beat later iPhones in a series of challenges. But man, that original iPhone tie is a huge black eye on Microsoft’s board! What do you want to bet by day 3 of Mobile World Congress, that tie magically turns into an iPhone 4S?