Microsoft was one of the leaders in the smart phone and PDAs arena. Its Windows Mobile phones were popular contenders, particularly among professionals for business users, doctors and residents.
But the iPhone took smart phones in a different direction. Microsoft couldn’t respond fast enough to iPhones fluid, friendly and touch screen capabilities. Windows Mobile’s market share imploded in less than one year.
Because smart phones are a rapidly growing and lucrative category, Microsoft isn’t about to give up. Enter Windows Phone 7, a completely reworked version of the company’s smartphone software and a reboot of how Microsoft thinks a smart phone should work. The new microsoft mobile (windows phone 7) is remarkably good and very different from anything else out there.
Most modern smart phones use an interface that dates back to the earliest models developed by Palm, with rows of applications you tap or click to launch. On Windows Phone 7, you’re presented with a series of tiles in two columns. They represent either frequently used apps or a collection of related apps called hubs. They’re dynamic: If there’s live information coming into an app, you’ll see it displayed in the tiles. For example, if a song is playing in the Zune media player, its album art is visible in its home screen tile.
Responsive and fluid
Touch screen capabilities are fluid and even better than iphone. Tap on any item, and the tiles swing out of sight, as if a wind has blown them away. Apps launch very quickly on the a HTC Surround, to be sold by AT&T – almost everything about the phone is impressively responsive, fast and fluid.
The Surround uses a 1-gigahertz processor to power a 3.8-inch touchscreen display. The bottom half of the phone slides up to reveal a set of small speakers, which, along with a kickstand on the back, make it easier to watch video. As with all Windows Phone 7 devices, there are three software buttons under the screen – Back, Home and Search, which brings up Microsoft’s Bing search engine. It will sell for $199 with a two-year contract. (So far, AT&T and T-Mobile have announced nine Windows 7 Phone devices.) Not sure if Verizon and Sprint will bring the new Microsoft mobile 7 on board.
It has integrated the social media, Xbox 360 games, contacts and Even Microsoft office documents into the phone. Has made it very easy to edit documents. Its outlook application intuitively allows you to have multiple emails and is very easy to use.
Some apps written by Microsoft partners can plug directly into the hubs, while others work as standalone programs. For example, access to Facebook is integrated deeply into the People hub. If you link up your Facebook account, your contact list can show Facebook updates from your friends.
One of the nicest features is the Zune media player, which uses the same software found in Microsoft’s Zune hardware players. While the Zune has been mocked in the past, its software is actually quite good, and in many ways I prefer it over that found in non-touchscreen iPods. I think the Zune’s audio quality beats Apple’s iPods. You can sync it wirelessly over your home Wi-Fi network, as well as the more traditional method using a USB cable.
As with the iPhone and Android, Microsoft is making apps available through an online store, the Marketplace. As you’d expect, there aren’t many apps in there at the moment, and of those available, many are of from small developers you’ve probably never heard of. But even some of the big-name apps still need work.
Very impressed, but . . .
I’m very impressed with Windows Phone 7, to the point that I’d consider a phone that uses it in the future – and that’s coming from a die-hard iPhone user. That said, this is very much a Version 1.0 release and lacks some key features. It doesn’t have cut-and-paste, for example, and its multitasking is severely limited.
The battery life was decent, screen bright and you can use it with light reflection against it (unlike iPhones).
Since this is their first version, I would suspect that there will be some problems until a second or even a third generation Microsoft Phone 7 is released.
Please comment below about Microsoft Phone 7. The real question is whether Microsoft Phone 7 is better than iPhone?