Microsoft (s msft) 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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