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Smoked by Android: Microsoft coughs up free laptop

Widget-waggling blogger stoked

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An Android user who reckons he beat Microsoft's speed challenge fair and square will be getting his free laptop and phone after Microsoft's PCGuy stepped into the fray.

Sahas Katta admits he won the promotional race, which pitches a staff member wielding a Windows handset against challengers in a test of speed, by sheer luck – but reckons that still makes it a win.

The challenges vary, but this one involved pulling up the weather in two separate cities. By happy chance, Katta happened to have the requisite widgets pre-loaded on his Galaxy Nexus, but despite that shop staff refused to pay out and it looked as though his dextrous digits would go unrewarded until BenThePCGuy stepped in.

"Hey @sahaskatta , @Microsoftstore & I want to make things right. So I've got a laptop & phone (& apology) for you. Email me!" tweeted the Microserf who reportedly came up with the Smoked-by-Windows-Phone promotion of which the competition was part.

Contestants are invited to pit their phones, and their skills, in a challenge which might entail updating a Facebook profile or tweeting a photograph or, as in this case, pulling up the weather in two separate cities. The challenge isn't revealed until both phones are switched off and the competitors stand ready, but Katta lucked out in that he already had a widget displaying the data and had disabled the screen lock which would normally require a tap or swipe to clear the screen. As a result he was able to tap the power button and instantly claim victory, much to the chagrin of the store.

Back when the promotion started the prize was only $100, but Microsoft has since upped the ante to a laptop worth $1,000, and the option to swap the "smoked" handset for one running Windows Phone. Since the increase in prize value, people are taking it much more seriously.

Katta claims he was hustled out of the store, having been told his victory didn't count for differing reasons, including that the cities he displayed were in the same state, and that preloaded apps were "not allowed". Neither of those is officially against the rules, so Katta promptly took to his blog to complain. Officially Microsoft hasn't made any statement on what happened, but it did point us to the tweet from BenThePCGuy, who seems to have decided that the prize should be awarded. ®

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