Sunday, March 25, 2012

Microsoft Hunger Games Challenge: is your phone faster than a Windows Phone

Microsoft is running a Windows Phone promotion, from now through March 29. The Microsoft Smoked by Windows Phone Hunger Games contest pits your smartphone against theirs, winner take ... something.

The contest is only available at Microsoft Retail Stores, running between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily, until 10 p.m. March 29 local time, or until the store has exhausted its supply of 10 grand prizes.

If you can prove your phone is faster than a Windows Phone, you can walk out with a Special Edition Hunger Games PC, valued at over $1,000. On the other hand, depending on how you feel about Windows Phone, you might say that you still win even if you can't prove your phone is faster than a Windows Phone.

If you "lose," the Microsoft Store will upgrade you to a Windows Phone for free. There are two options for this: you can trade in your smart phone for a new Windows Phone and walk out free and clear, no contract, or you can keep your smartphone and receive a free Windows Phone if you sign a two year service agreement.

It's not as simple as running a benchmark in order to prove which phone is the fastest. Instead you have to run your phone through a series of five skill-based challenges (contest rules available here).

The five challenges are:

(1) Pocket-to-Picture-to-Post
(2) Real-Time Information with Live Tiles
(3) Using the People Hub to Stay in Touch with the People You Care About Most
(4) Updating Your Status Across Multiple Social Networks
(5) Local Scout

The rules don't specify how many of the challenges you have to win in order to take home the grand prize. It's possible, therefore, that whoever completes all of the challenges first wins. It's also unclear how (3) can be done on a non-Windows Phone, but we assume that if you use some analogous widget or app you will be good.

"Local Scout" is similar to the functionality on Google Maps where you can find surrounding stores, restaurants, and more.

It will probably be a challenge to find a Microsoft Store. They are certainly not as numerous as Apple Retail Stores. You can find a locator here.

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