Windows Mobile 6.5 was a clunky, thick, slow, and unresponsive wreck. It carried on the tradition of a clunky, slow, thick, and unresponsive heritage that had send the Windows Mobile series plummeting to the bottom of the smartphone barrel, what with the slick and hyper-supported iPhone and Android covering the main smartphone audience, and RIM's BlackBerry holding it down for business users.
Windows Phone 7 promised a change of the status quo, an undeniable shakeup of the mobile world that would change everything.
What we got was... well, a pretty damn good platform, to be honest.
I have in my hand a Samsung Focus, one of the three AT&T Windows Phone 7 handsets, and I'm bout damn near pleased with the thing. Is it for everyone? Well, no...
Here's a quick review:
INTERFACE: Giant, floating letters, clean lines, and flat colors cover the WP7 experience. In some menus, such as the marketplace, we're treated to parallax scrolling which gives the interface a sort of continuity... that instead of switching through menus, our screen is focused in on a certain point of a larger interface that extends like magic beyond the borders of the phone. It's a slick, snappy, and responsive interface, with everything clear as day. It's fantastic and extremely intuitive. The tile-based main list of programs allows you to put whatever you want, wherever you want (even Internet Explorer favorites can go on your front menu for instant access), and you still have the backup list thats accessible with a flick of the screen. Quick, sliding dots give you feedback as to the fact the phone is thinking, and the touch sensitive hardware keys are responsive and universal. The only drawback is you don't have a status indicator in the top of the screen at all times, so you may not know your battery life, signal, or other such details. The virtual keyboard is top-notch.
MESSAGING: WP7 has a now-standard conversation style text message format, and it works well enough. The e-mail is fantastic, and almost makes me wish someone would dupe this style of e-mail management for desktop purposes. The only drawback is that each different e-mail account (GMail and Hotmail in my case) has a different tile on the front page. I'm not sure I like that. I haven't used instant messaging as of yet, so I cannot comment on it. Facebook integration is seamless with the contact list, and I love this feature. You may still have to use your Facebook app for certain things, but I still haven't accessed mine at all.
MARKETPLACE: The Marketplace itself is setup fairly well, with different categories of different apps and games, both priced and free. The Search button brings up the ability to search for different apps, which is great until you hit a common word... and apps, music, albums, and everything within the marketplace comes tumbling down into the search results. I haven't found a way to sort by category, or to search by category, and I'm fairly positive it doesn't exist. This can be a problem, though I imagine it should get fixed with coming updates and fixes. The selection of games is small on the XBox Live component of WP7, but there are some high-quality releases to be found (The Harvest, various PopCap titles, Zombies!, etc) and with the backing of Microsoft Games Studio, expect the list of titles to grow. ZunePass is integrated well within it, and so is NetFlix.
CUSTOMIZATION: This is the biggest part where WP7 falls flat. No custom ringtones as far as I can tell. You only have a handful of colors to customize the tiles as well as the highlighted portions of text. Only two background options (Dark and Light). Basically, the ideals of "Make it your own" from Android have been reversed here, resulting in a same-same experience for all WP7 users. I understand that creating a snappy and quick experience is easier when you eliminate as many variables as possible, but the customization options in WP7 are practically non-existent.
OVERALL: Despite the lack of customization (something I don't see being changed very soon, unlike my other complaints), WP7 is a great start to what could be a great platform.
WHO IS IT FOR: People who want a simple experience with their phone, but still have access to all the high-powered apps of Android and the iPhone. People who simply want the damn thing to do what a phone is supposed to do. WP7 is quicker, snappier, and less command oriented than its bretheren, but while it flourishes in some areas...
WHO IS IT NOT FOR: Power Users will find it suffers in others. If rearranging the guts of your smartphone is where your mindset is firmly planted, you may want to stay away from WP7.
So, WP7, Android, or iPhone?
I have a Milestone running Android 2.1, and while it really sucks Motorola is delaying the release of Froyo for Canadian milestone users, it's a pretty good phone.
What does that mean?
Less taps to do the same shit.
Poor wording, I guess. It's a lot easier to use, and you do less actions to get the same results.
I'm not sure of the total number, I believe the apps are about 8 thousand right now.
Of course, I'm sure there are 50+ flashlight apps...
It's not a bad number for the installed userbase and length of time it's been available.
Rather looking forward to the updates, expanding functionality is going to be great.
The best thing is that it looks the best out of all the options. It is simple, clean and best of all, unified.
Even iPhone, out of the box, looks essentially random in how it is designed.
I don't know how to explain it other than it feels like a phone with a computer added to it rather than a computer with a phone added to it. I don't know what's happened at Microsoft but ever since windows 7 their interface designs have been tops.
That being said I can definitely see reasons not to use WP7, but mostly towards phone enthusiasts who like to tinker and customize. For those of us who don't care about themes or jailbreaking the thing, this platform is excellent.
I'm posting this from my Focus right now. The web is great on it, too.
Still the best mobile interface by far, extremely happy.
I'm not sure that this is a D&D topic, although it could be I guess, if it broadens out to more than just a discussion of technical features
I'm definitely taking my time to decide what I want next. Probably Android, but I haven't written off an iPhone completely either.
On an iPhone you can go to a website, and when you bookmark a site, you can choose to do a normal bookmark in the browser, or you can save the bookmark as a web app on the home screen. And if the site includes a link to a PNG graphic, it will use that as the icon on your home screen.
Can the WP7 platform do either or those features? 1) Save a bookmark to the equivalent of the home screen, and 2) use a custom icon that the website has specified.
Watch my music videos
So, do we have a firm date for Verizon yet? The best any Google-fu (Well, Bing-fu) has gotten me is "2011," which while that is a date, it's not a very precise one.
Watch my music videos
Watch my music videos
When you pin a website to the home screen, it doesn't use a custom icon (or the site favicon, if that's what you mean) - it just displays a picture of the website as it appeared on your device as you pinned it.
For instance, if I were to zoom in on the Penny Arcade logo on the top left of these forums, and chose to pin it to the home screen, it would display that zoomed in logo. If I were to leave it zoomed out, it would display it zoomed out.
<link href='http://mobile2.twimg.com/d651fac477658479e5224b000812d74e5e34fcbe/images/apple-touch-icon-114.png' rel='apple-touch-icon-precomposed' />
to display this image:
It seems to be targeted at the iPhone from the "Apple Touch" part of the name, so I'd assume anything that works on the iPhone should work on the Zune HD, and by extension, Windows Phone 7. But I guess not then?
Edit: Apparently Yahoo, Facebook, Wordpress, and Apple websites have these icons too.
So that works with Zune but not WP7?
Watch my music videos
But this is all interesting to know, perhaps I'll add such a thing to my own site.