Windows Phone 7: A New Beginning

I’ve been given a Prototype Samsung Taylor Windows Phone 7 to test. Let me get this out of the way right from the beginning. I’m impressed. I think it’s the most exciting thing to happen to the mobile world for a while.

Look, it’s a new beginning for Microsoft. After a rather dismal performance by previous versions, they had to come up with something new and exciting, Windows Phone 7 is just that.

Granted, there are a few shortcomings, but as with any new venture, something will be left out, for whatever reason. Suffice to say that a lot of these shortcomings will be addressed as early as January in the next Windows Phone 7 update.

Microsoft have a lot to prove. Because of it’s previously not so brilliant attempts, but also because it is a company that people expect a lot from. I see so many people criticise Microsoft because they expect perfection. So as a result Windows Phone 7 will have critics looking and finding all sorts of holes. But bear in mind. It’s a new beginning, and an exciting platform to build a better future.

Samsung Taylor specs

So the phone I had to review, is the Samsung Taylor, which I remind you is just a prototype at the moment. But I am just going to mention the specs so that we can get a feel as to the type of hardware that Microsoft is expecting for its Windows Phone 7 OS.

These specs are amazing! Can you believe that just a few years ago, full desktop PC’s never had this type of spec. With all that, it is compacted into a mobile phone. My brain just explodes thinking about that.

Who knows where mobile phones will be in the next 10 years. Beam me up Scottie!

  • Windows Mobile 7 OS
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor
  • DirectX 9.x Graphic Support
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 8GB Internal Memory
  • External Store is not allowed ( Manufacturers choice)
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth
  • AGPS
  • FM Radio
  • 5 Mega Pixel Primary Camera
  • Accelerometer
  • Compass
  • Proximity Sensors

Brief overview

Windows Phone 7 is the most aggressively different, fresh approach to a phone interface on the market. Everything is super flat and two dimensional. No wasting effort in trying to have 3-D effects on a 2-D device. Ultra-basic squares, primary colours and lists. Fonts are gigantic and clean, white text on an almost universally black void. It’s fluid. It’s fast and responsive.

Yes, it’s missing a few things, like Cut ‘n Paste. Multitasking, Flash in the browser. But as I said, these are coming.

The interface is centred around three basic concepts.

  • Hubs Essentially panoramic apps that span multiple screens. These are literally areas of interest. This concept really shines with third-party apps that use it. It works great with the likes of Twitter and Facebook. Swiping over a screen to move left of right brings you to mentions, or your wall, or to see your friends check-ins.
  • Live Tiles – These are the home screen’s icons, and they update with fresh info like email counts, messages, phone calls etc.
  • The App Bar – a semi-persistent menu/taskbar that hides deeper actions—like starting a new email, or popping up the keyboard, or switching tabs in Internet Explorer. It’s a great concept as it gives you more screen real estate when you need it.

It’s all about communication

So the other day I saw a 196 page manual on another smart phone device. But what was so funny to me was that on the last page were three paragraphs and a few small bullet points, with a page title “How to use your smart phone as a phone”

Listen, if you did not know, its a phone, for goodness sake. It’s not a PC, or a Digital camera, or a portable gaming device, or a palm DVD player.

That’s what’s important for me, communication. I buy a phone because I want to communicate with people. If I wanted a camera, I would have bought a top of the range Digital SLR, if I wanted a gaming device I would have bought a Nintendo DS or a PSP. But I want a phone because I want to communicate with people.

This is what impressed me the most about the new Windows Phone 7. For me it seems that there is a lot of thought gone into this.

The people hub is what impressed me the most. Whether you communicate via Windows Live, Facebook, mail such as Google mail or Yahoo! mail or Outlook or other pop mail, it all comes together in the peoples table.

Even an added app for Twitter, and other micro blogging Social media services, just brings the great wide world so much closer.

My Windows Live, Google contacts, Facebook contacts were all integrated once I had set up those accounts. Once I had my contacts downloaded I could then link them all up.

If my Facebook contacts did not display their home phone number or mobile phone number, but my Google or Windows Live contacts did, or even my own phone contacts had those numbers, I would just link the contacts together.

What this did was give me one contact area where I could communicate in any form I chose, and have all the information I needed about that person. I could even stay up to date with that communication via Facebook Windows live and the like.

It all comes together in the peoples tab. As I select a particular contact I am presented with a myriad of ways to communicate with them.

Whether by mobile phone, land line, email I can do all that. I can even write on their Facebook wall, view their blog or website, send them email to all or any of their many listed email addresses.

Then there is all sorts of other information available to me. Obviously if made available via the contact. Information like birthdays, anniversary, spouse, and children.

I can and do know everything about this contact, and in fact I can communicate with them in any and every way I choose.

For me, this is what mobile phones are all about, It’s about communication.

Conclusion

There is still a lot that needs to be said. I haven’t covered a lot of what’s available in Windows phone 7. But never fear, I will be doing this in subsequent posts.

But the verdict is, I like. Look it’s not perfect, but then again neither were any of the other competitive OS’s at first.

I think the success of Windows Phone 7 is in the App market. If developers take this on and start developing useful apps, then the sky’s the limit.

So stay tuned, in the next two to three posts I will review more aspects of Windows Phone 7. I bet you can’t wait.

But in the mean time, let me know what you think of Windows Phone 7. Is it a Yay or Nay?

To be continued …

Robert Bravery is a professional programmer, Web site Developer and professional blogger for Integral Web Solutions.