Friday, October 15, 2010

Windows Phone 7 worth all the hype?

I did not feel any excitement when Microsoft announced Windows Phone 7. I guess the reason may be because back when I was still doing mobile programming, time and time again I was disappointed by Microsoft Windows Mobile, especially when the promises that they made never happened (e.g. Uploading from mobile IE did not work for the longest time).

Anyway, some of the Windows Phone 7 will hit Singapore shores on 21 Oct 2010 (Singtel at least). Singtel will be releasing the HTC HD7, LG Optimus 7, and Samsung Omnia 7. Starhub will release the HTC 7 Mozart and LG Optimus 7 while M1 will only release the HTC 7 Trophy.

I was looking through the YouTube videos on the first look for Windows Phone 7 and indeed, it's much better than the Windows Mobile and will help Microsoft to catch up with iPhone and Android. However, I don't like the tiles (you can take a look at the Youtube videos below) format, which is what Microsoft is using to differentiate themselves from the iPhone and Android.

It seems to me that when you access the Home Screen, the tiles seem to start loading images to be super-imposed on the tiles. Some say it's cool. Personally, I don't like it because:
  • everytime you access the Home Screen, you'll be using your data plan to download these images to be super-imposed on the tiles. The more tiles you have pinned on the Home page, the more images you have to preload.
  • the phone will be constantly using the data plan if you're always going back to the Home page (not sure if they're cached).
  • the battery life will suffer due to this constant usage of the data plan.
Furthermore, I find that the screen is a little confusing because too many images are put randomly together. In one of the Youtube videos below, you'll see the reviewer even had problems trying to find the Pictures app. Icons are there for a reason and I very much prefer icons than a tile that constantly changes. No one talked about the battery life but judging from the tiles that I'm seeing, I don't think it'll be good. By the way, there is no copy and paste.

Even though Microsoft said that they are not targeting any specific market when they build this OS (personally, I think he shouldn't say that because that means that they have no idea which direction they are going and they are playing catch-up), it looks to me that they are targeting the MS Outlook and Office users. It remains to be seen how XBox Live will be positioned for the Windows Phone 7 but personally, I think that they have made a miscalculation. The user experience for games on the PC/XBox and a touch-screen phone is completely different. Likewise for Office documents. It's a long shot to convince users that you can use the full Microsoft Office features on a mobile phone.

If you're still interested in Windows Phone 7, I found some Youtube Videos below on the mobile phones to be released in Singapore. Here is a self-help link from Microsoft if you're interested in taking a look at the user guide.


LG Optimus 7

Samsung Omnia 7

HTC 7 Mozart

HTC 7 Trophy

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