WinPhan Phocus: Colm Smyth

We think that each one of you is special and unique as a WinPhan and we want to bring attention and gratitude to each and every one of you for all that you do for our WinPhan community! Thanks for taking the time to share something about yourself to other WinPhans out there and thank you for your continued support!     ^The WinPhan

Before your answer the questions below…

  • Can you start by introducing yourself (be sure to include your Twitter handle) and telling the WinPhan community something about you?

I’m Colm Smyth (@colmsmyth on Twitter) and I am the Director of Ireland’s Technology Blog at I’m a 30 something gadget and mobile addicted guy, married to another WinPhan @hazel_t aka ITB Gadget Girl.

Are you an accidental WinPhan or was it a conscious choice? When did you fall in love and what was it that made you realize you had been swept up in the WinPhandemonium?

I am a Windows Phone user by choice, ever since I first saw Windows Mobile all those years ago I had always wanted Windows on my phone. Of course back in those days Windows Mobile was pretty terrible and I couldn’t afford it anyway but I still always wanted it. Then I saw the first glimpses of Windows Phone 7 and from that first swipe I saw, the clean looks of the flat design, I knew I had to have one.

Running a technology website means I have to use many different devices, mainly Android but some iOS, some Linux based and of course Windows Phone. However it is a speed, and overall productivity of Windows Phone that makes me keep it as my daily driver, I need no other device.

What Windows Phones have you owned thus far? Aside from your current device, which others have captured your attention and why? Are you smitten with a particular OEM? What do you hope to see from Windows Phone in the near future?

My very first Windows Phone was a Nokia Lumia 800, from there I have used pretty much all other Nokia Lumia devices except for foreign region ones. I have personally owned the 800, 920, 925 and 1020 with the 1020 so far being my favorite.

I think for now I would stay solely with Nokia/Microsoft devices simply because the range of software that Nokia has developed far exceeds anyone else. This being said, some of Nokia’s apps if not all of them will start to filter out to other OEM’s after the Microsoft take over is signed.

The future of Windows Phone is very bright, with over 400K apps and growing there is no reason why it can’t compete on an even field moving forward. I think Microsoft would do well to perhaps throw some more money at development houses to bring other apps that are missing. For example, set aside $50m and offer $2m per app to get 25 of the best missing apps released inside six month’s. Other than this, end users really want to see API restrictions removed, they want the 30 minute update refresh gone, the OS needs to be a little bit more open.

Have you fully bought into Microsoft’s ecosystem or are you still reliant upon other services like Google? Do you think Microsoft is headed in the right direction? More importantly, do you feel as though they value you as Windows Phone owner, why or why not?

I am a fully Microsoft entrenched user, I gave up on Gmail after launched and I use Microsoft Office Online everyday, its so handy and much better than Google Docs for me.

I think Microsoft is heading in the right direction, they have listened to people about notifications for example and they are bringing Cortana to the OS too. However they need to drastically speed up development and push out updates quicker, I would much rather see some incremental updates every month than a full update every 12 months.

While I say they are listening to the public I don’t fully believe they care too much about what the public want. The are most likely mainly looking at what is working on other platforms rather than listening too much, but you know what…this is good enough for now.

With the ever-increasing quality of the cameras onboard our Windows Phones, has it turned you into a picture-taking fiend? What advice do you have to taking better pics and editing them in your WinPhan experience? If it wasn’t the camera, what feature about your WP changed the way view or think about technology?

Camera technology certainly has come on leaps and bounds over the last few years and primarily due to Nokia’s advances. I personally could take between 20 and 30 pictures myself some days, low compared to some.

For me however it is not just about taking a picture of a landscape or a person, I use my camera for note taking, I snap signs, sticky notes, receipts and more.

Taking a good picture some say is difficult, not really these days, even the most amateur of person can point and shoot. With an endless amount of apps to correct any issues with your shots you cant go too far wrong. My personal favorite apps are Fantasia Painter and Nokia’s Creative Studio, very powerful tools.

As a WinPhan we’re all busy trying to bring recognition to WP. tell us about one of the times you got through and made a convert story of your own! What do you think is the best way to market WP? How do you pitch it to your Android and iPhone owning friends?

I have personally converted around 6 people to Windows Phone, what they initially liked was the home screen. Its colour, the playfulness of the tiles bouncing and spinning, these always drew attention and looks.

People liked the simplicity of the OS, not because their iPhone or Android device was too complicated but because things get done quicker on Windows Phone. If you have ever watched those Smoked By Windows Phone promos, they are 100% real, other OS users really wont beat you to something, all things being equal.

Please add your final thoughts about Windows Phone, the direction you think it is taking, its ability to succeed in what most people think is a two hose race. Will it stay or become more competitive as time goes on or is it a niche market for WinPhans?

My final thoughts on Windows Phone are this, Microsoft has done a very good job on the latest 8.1 build and no doubt they have and will continue to learn from Nokia. So long as they keep this momentum up after the take over and dive head long into the abyss of Android devices and take the fight to them, in stores, in media such as TV and Radio. So long as they keep bringing the apps, spend the money on the missing apps, as bringing them alone is advertisement in itself.

Windows Phone is certainly not a niche, it’s not going anywhere other than onwards and upwards, if people still think its bad and has no apps then they have never used it.


Thanks so much for sharing with us Colm!

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