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Summary:

Early reviews of the new smartphone platform from Microsoft are appearing on the web, and are restrained in the expectations. Windows Phone 7 shows potential yet is an obvious work in progress; the novel user interface is inconsistent. Here’s what the web is saying about WP7.

wp7

Microsoft is poised to release its next smartphone to the masses, and since the embargo on reviews of Windows Phone 7 ( WP7) has lifted, the web is full of impressions of the new OS. WP7 is a complete departure from smartphone platforms currently available, as Microsoft threw its old Windows Mobile OS out the window and started from scratch. The early reviews of the new platform are restrained in expectations, as Windows Phone 7 shows potential, yet is obviously a work in progress. Here’s what the web is saying about Windows Phone 7:

All Things D. The title of veteran reviewer Walt Mossberg’s review of Windows Phone 7 sums up his overall experience succinctly: Microsoft’s New Windows Phone 7: Novel But Lacking. Mossberg liked the unique interface design of WP7, with the live tiles, hubs and performance. His main disappointment with the new OS, a recurring theme in many reviews, deals with what makes WP7 fall short of the competition. These missing elements include “copy and paste, visual voicemail, multitasking of third-party apps, and the ability to do video calling and to use the phone to connect other devices to the Internet”.

PC Magazine. Sascha Segan found that Zune fans would be impressed with the new OS, but for everyone else “buying into Windows Phone 7 is taking a gamble that Microsoft will sand away the rough edges quickly.” Segan’s review is largely positive due to the unique interface style in WP7, and for the tight interaction with Zune and Xbox Live. The Office integration will be attractive to the enterprise, but in the end, acceptance of WP7 will come down to the availability of apps for the platform. Segan’s confusion over the lack of good landscape support on the platform is well-placed, as some handsets are better in that orientation for some tasks.

CNET. Bonnie Cha finds the Zune integration to be a great feature for Windows Phone 7, along with other core apps. The user experience is “fresh, fun and functional” due to the novel approach Microsoft has taken with the interface. Cha points out that WP7 yields two different user experiences: elegant at times, yet oddly minimalistic at others. The lack of certain key features in this first release of WP7 is mentioned by Cha, and while the missing functionality will be added later, it needed to be here “out of the gate.” Overall, WP7 will appeal to consumers given the fresh approach.

Engadget. Engadget’s epic review covers every aspect of Windows Phone 7 in great detail. The user interface is fluid and works well, for native WP7 apps. Third-party apps were found to be inconsistent in the interface controls and have a choppy scrolling effect at times. Office integration is well done, and the phone’s Zune interconnectivity with the desktop is first-rate. Engadget is impressed with WP7 for the most part, but like other reviewers find it to be a typical first-version effort. “It still feels like the company is a good year behind market leaders right now, and though it’s clear the folks in Redmond are doing everything they can to get this platform up to snuff, it’s also clear that they’re not there yet.”

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  1. Hope they will soon fix all the bugs cause I can’t wait to get my hands on one, but not until they fix the kinks as I don’t want to spend that much money and then get angry with it.

  2. I found the review at ‘The Register’ to be worthwhile, as it is a bit more technical than the others.

    To sum up: Windows Phone 7 is no good.

    It could have potentially been good. The biggest shortcoming is that the OS is unfinished. There is just too much missing functionality, which is crippling. Not only obvious missing features like C&P, but also missing APIs which stop software developers making good applications.

    The other problem is Microsoft’s walled-garden approach. Microsoft is dictating what online services you can or can’t use. Coming late to the multitouch device party, Microsoft is a beggar, not a chooser, and should have allowed the consumers be the ones to do the choosing.

    The interface of large squares is novel and interesting. But its implementation is not efficient (it makes you scroll more), and the restricted information you can place in those squares makes it too limited to be useful.

    Now that we know more about Windows Phone 7, it has become very clear that the platform will not succeed. It cannot succeed. There is nothing very compelling about it, which is outweighed by the massive hole of the missing functionality. By the time Microsoft fixes it (maybe in 2011), the competition will have moved on.

  3. The London launch of Windows Phone 7 has been a complete flop. Pocket-Lint reports that only 2 people turned up to buy phones.

    http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/36366/wp7-launch-a-damp-squib
    Does this pose a bad omen for the coming US launch?

    Another report on ‘The Unwired’ explains why 3rd party apps can’t access the tile notifications on Windows Phone 7. If 3rd party apps can’t access notifications, then it defeats the purpose of Windows Phone 7’s tiled interface.

    http://www.theunwired.net/?item=thought-where-are-the-windows-phone-7-notifications-and-live-tiles-anywhere-in-the-cloud&category=windows-mobile-news&category=windows-mobile-news&5669

  4. “These missing elements include “copy and paste, visual voicemail, multitasking of third-party apps, and the ability to do video calling and to use the phone to connect other devices to the Internet”.

    Lol. Especially the last 3 items. Well this is going to kill them. Not revive them. They can’t permit themselves not to succeed with the first try. MS is done in this domain.

  5. The Windows Phone 7 reviews are starting to get more negative as time goes on. I suspect that as people use it for real-world everyday life activities, the flaws start to become more apparent.

    I see a headline in the NYTimes today titled “A Phone of Promise, With Flaws”.

    Promise + Flaws seems to be the main theme of many articles. Basically saying that Windows Phone 7 could be OK one day, but not now. Too much missing functionality. It’s an unfinished work.

    I can’t see a ‘promise + flaws’ phone OS having any success at all, especially since iPhone and Android have both overcome those issues many years ago. Why would anyone buy a phone full of flaws?

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