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Windows Phone 7: A Month Later

Friday, January 28, 2011 in Technical Articles (Views: 3698)
Windows Phone 7 (WP7) is quite an upgrade from WM6 and previous, and I have to say for the most part, it's been stable. So, this is going to be my review/opinion of WP7 and where the product can improve, and what it does well.

Let's go back to Windows Mobile 6 (WM6). The OS was clunky, locked up often, and at times, it would take 3 minutes between a click and action to appear. There are a lot of reasons for this, but it's living in the past. I was like many who simply said "screw it" to WM6 and bought a real phone, in my case, an iPhone.

WP7 is quite an upgrade from WM6 in the sense of performance. I have yet to have any true issues with performance or non-responsiveness, which is quite a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, a lot of things are still missing from Windows Phone 7 still.

Do I believe Microsoft is good for delivering updates? I do. I also believe that Microsoft has something to prove with WP7, and will pull out all the stops to make it the best possible platform for phone. However, the carriers and hardware manufacturers may have something different in mind, and kill Microsoft's plan to make WP7 anything better than its first release. How?

Microsoft wants a broader platform and more carriers and types of hardware for its platform. This is in theory, a good thing. It helps companies innovate, and promotes the "next big thing" versus what Apple has in mind for its next release. So far, Apple has a crystal ball for what people are wanting, and it's working out for them. However, individual carriers can block updates from WP devices, in order to sell more hardware. One thing is for sure. If carriers begin blocking updates to phones, WP7 to be exact, to sell more devices, then I will personally go back to my iPhone in no time. At least Apple doesn't allow this to happen. Case in point? The original iPhone can still run v4.x (multitasking may be missing, but it does work).

Selling more hardware? How stupid is this. Carriers aren't selling more hardware, they are selling contracts. The way to sell a contract is simple - by new hardware. If you have an iPhone, it's like an mideast "democratic" election - you get AT&T or death. So, AT&T has almost guaranteed contracts, until another company gets their device like Verizon. Of course, this is like fleeing from one enslaved society like Iran to another like China.

So, onward with the features. I will say that the new IE is one of the best browsers I have yet to see on a phone, but Outlook is definately lacking for some features. It's almost hypocritical to base a phone on a version of the software I hated, and ask for features that were in an old, bad version. But, this was functionality, not performance.

- Outlook has some significant improvements such as being able to sync information from multiple places, like calendars into one. This is something I was hoping would come for years. But, it does lack a few things. First, Out of Office can't be set from the phone as it used to. The flexibility of attachments is also missing - where you could download attachments, or only certain attachments less than a certain size.

- The phone is full of people. Let's face it - it's a phone that really is meant to show off Facebook. It can be difficult to scroll through a bunch of names and faces, or even use search. One thing that WM6 used to have was predictive dialing. When you began typing a name on the keypad, it gave you the option of any matching name, or to use the number.

- The Marketplace is pretty cluttered on the phone and without Zune, is very difficult to find what you're looking for. Besides the useless fart apps, and the "I'm rich" series of apps for $499.99, you could look up something and wind up with a mixture of apps, music, you name it. It would be good, especially if this is a way for people to spend money, to invest time and effort in this area.

So, what is right, and what is new?

Well, XBox Live is a good start. Some of the games are good, although in some cases, more expensive than their iPhone counterparts. Perhaps this will come in time, but the selection isn't quite there yet. While there is still Pac-Man and Tetris on iPhone and WP7, the WP7 versions are $4.99 and hardly worth it. For those achievement junkies out there, the addition of XBox Live is a great thing.

Unlike WM6, the hangs and crashes are infrequent, and multitasking is much improved.

Overall, it's a great device with some features needing to be added. I am hoping that carriers allow WP7 to push updates and not try to force consumers to buy new phones.


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