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    My Thoughts on WP7 (keep in mind I am coming from webOS)

    POSITIVES:

    Unified Standards
    I won’t go into all the benefits, but as a consumer, I am glad that there is consistency between Windows Phones. It is a lot of work to switch platforms, and I wouldn’t relish the idea of that same stress in simply moving between devices as could be the case with Android.

    Beautiful Interface
    Aesthetically, Windows Phone looks great; I think it is the best. I have a feeling the black borders are easier on the eyes. The general UI of swiping left/right through different categories of info is awesome. For example in the email, swiping seamlessly between “all,” “unread,” and “flagged” is much better than finding and carefully tapping buttons (or worse going through menus). Multitasking is no webOS, but I like seeing the whole app more than iOS’s little icons so I am satisfied with the Mango multitasking UI.

    Built in functionality
    Out of the box, Windows Phone has a ton of functionality that other platforms would require numerous apps to replicate. Integration with Windows Live services, Google accounts, Facebook, twitter etc. is great. No “Google sync” apps needed here (much like Webos). Also Bing has the functionality of many apps, with built in Vision (for identifying products of translating text), Local Scout (which finds restaurants, local events, shopping etc. and provides maps, contact info and reviews), and a musical search (like Shazaam). MS Office probably deserves its own heading, but integration of that is another example of how well Windows Phone can stand on its own feet.

    Apps
    Apps are not as crucial on Windows Phone, but there are tons of them and many of the big names. Apps are a personal thing, but I can get several good Bible apps, the Overdrive Media console (for downloading audio/ebooks from my library) and other handy little apps such as kids’ games. Also, it is great that most apps seem to have “free trials” even if there isn’t a free-version of the app. I am impressed and content with the Windows Phone App Marketplace.

    Virtual Keyboard
    I give the virtual keyboard on Windows Phone two thumbs up. I often type in portrait mode even! The accuracy is great (I understand it dynamically predicts the key you will press and enlarges the input area), the autocorrect is good and the suggestions are helpful. I can’t compare too much to iOS or Android, but with my limited experience with them I am certainly pleased with the Windows Phone keyboard.

    Dedicated Buttons
    This may sound funny given my love for webOS, but I think dedicated buttons are very useful on a phone. Having a camera button, back button, search button is very helpful. The camera button is especially nice for capturing spontaneous moments (it can take the phone straight to the camera from being locked).

    Hardware Variety:
    I have a Samsung Focus with a large beautiful screen wrapped in a light sleek body which in my opinion is much nicer on the hands than the heavy, cold, sharp edged iPhone 4/4s. I would prefer physical buttons (despite the beauty of capacitive buttons) and coming from a Palm Pixi I really miss a keyboard, but that is actually a positive for Windows Phone! That is because there is hardware choice. Physical or capacitive buttons, keyboard or not, smaller or larger you have a better shot at getting the combination you prefer.

    Voice Control:
    I admit that I am very attracted to Siri. I longed for voice controls in webOS and was never satisfied. However, the voice control is quite sufficient in Windows Phone. It may not be Siri, but it has even a few advantages: non-dictation commands can operate without a data connection (i.e. calling someone or opening an app), it can open apps, it automatically reads you back your text message before asking you if you want to send and can automatically read you incoming messages (both useful when driving), and compared to Siri, Windows Phone’s voice control is more to the point (Siri is a little verbose which I am sure becomes tedious after the first few days).

    Miscellaneous:
    I know there are surely other neat things about Windows Phone. For example you can create contact groups and email/text the whole group easily at once. For business users the ability to send an “I’m running late” notice to all the attendees of an even in the calendar with a tap could be useful. However, I won’t belabor this section because I don’t have enough experience with Windows Phone to know and because I am sure every platform has little benefits unknown to most of their users.

    NEGATIVES:

    Not enough tiles on the start screen
    There is only room for 8 visible tiles (max) on the start screen without scrolling to see more. By comparison, iOS fits 16 icons plus 4 on the bottom. Now to be fair, WP7 needs less apps accessible because the tiles often integrate the functionality of several apps (i.e. people) and the Bing button integrates the function of many apps as well (see positives above). Still, I wonder why MS wasted so much space on the start screen with the large black strip on the right side, some on the left and some on the top.

    There is little point in me making suggestions, but I would encourage MS to adopt a ‘collage’ approach (see image on right) to tiles in which they take different sizes such as rectangles, big squares and small squares, perhaps with a smart algorithm which fits your tiles together in the most optimum way based on the tiles you want visible on the start screen as well as the kind of info they might display. In any case tiles which display no info should be small, (like icons) so there is room for more tiles. An email tile could be short and wide to offer preview text of the last email. Photos/people could be big and square…you get the idea.

    Tiles are slow to give information/No notification area:
    Tiles are supposed to be able to give more info than an icon. Well, they do…but informative tiles (like accuweather) need to flip over to give you other information and waiting for a tile to flip defeats the purpose of ‘glance and go’. For this reason they are a poor substitute for a notification area.
    Maybe if the tiles flipped faster it would work better (or if they flipped within 2 seconds of being ‘visible’ on the screen)

    No universal search:
    Oh how I long for Just-type from webos. I could pull up a contact or call/text someone by simply typing in the first few letters of their name and clicking the appropriate action (i.e. type “jim” and click “call Jim mobile 403…”). Now these phones lack a keyboard, though this isn’t strictly a flaw of WP7 since there is the Dell Venue Pro for example. Still, iOS has a universal search which makes finding contacts and apps easy. WP& makes calling someone a little cumbersome.
    If I want to call someone on WP7 I must use the following steps:
    1. Push power button
    2. Swipe up lock screen
    3. Tap on “People”
    a. Swipe to “all” if not already there (it remembers where you were last)
    4. Tap search
    5. Type name “jim”
    6. Click “Jim Jones”
    7. Click appropriate phone number “call mobile”
    Compare webOS:
    1. Push power button
    2. Swipe unlock gesture
    3. Type name “jim”
    a. Click the appropriate “jim” if more than one
    4. Click appropriate phone number
    Compare ios
    1. Push button
    2. Swipe to unlock
    3. Swipe left to spotlight search
    a. Click the “x” to clear last search to get a blank search box if necessary (seems to remember last search sometimes which is silly)
    4. Type name “jim”
    5. Click on “Jim Jones”
    6. Click on the appropriate number “call mobile”
    Again, if MS would simply program the search button to bring up a universal search which would then return options including a “Phone” heading in addition to the Images/Web/Local etc. headings then it would be far more useful.

    Limited and Difficult Homebrew
    I know now how good I had things with WebOS’s homebrew community. It took an enormous amount of work and stress to unlock my Rogers Focus so that I could enable the Internet Sharing/tethering (I should give Windows Phone another negative for the fact that I had to do this…Rogers encourages tethering and the Focus HAS it built in so I can only blame Microsoft). This may get better now that Chevron is releasing a new unlocking tool and hopefully they will emulate some of what the webOS community did. With zero Linux/programming ability I had patches and homebrew apps on my Palm Pixi in no time and could add more as easily as opening the Preware App.

    Miscellaneous
    I won’t belabour this, but it is quite frustration to have to navigate into a “settings” app at the bottom of the long list simply to turn wifi on or off when there are indicators when you tap at the top of the screen. Those should be interactive and take you to you cell or wifi settings. By the way, I know you can add shortcuts to the start screen, and I do have one for wifi…but that shouldn’t be necessary especially given how precious the tile real-estate is.
    Another issue is that the phone-app opens to ‘history’ instead of the dialpad which seems odd. Additionally, there is no ‘search’ within the phone app to search for phone numbers, you are just deflected to the “people” hub to find contact numbers. On webos, when searching in the phone rather than in contacts, only contacts with numbers show up which can be nice when many contacts (especially Facebook) lack numbers.


    CONCLUSION

    There are many positives for Windows Phone as I listed above. It is fast and responsive, beautiful, and full of useful features. However, in my opinion a few of the negatives such as the way notifications are done, the limited number of tiles visible, and the lack of universal search are significant because they strike at the day-to-day usefulness of the phone. It is also unfortunate that the negatives are aspects of the very things which make Windows Phone so great (for example the UI). Nevertheless, I think Windows Phone could retain its unique beauty if it made the simple changes I mentioned (‘collage’ start-screen, Bing universal search, refining the notification/flipping properties of the tiles or adding a notification area).
    If I sound a little disappointed, I admit I am. But that isn’t necessarily because iOS or Android are better, I’m fairly sure the latter isn’t and I am sure I would have frustrations with iOS. I think I am now realizing how useful the features webOS really were. For example, I always wondered why they advertised a little thing like Just Type so much…now I know. But back to Windows Phone, I am a little frustrated by the number of steps required to say, make a call and by the underwhelming usefulness of live-tiles, but I am glad that it has sync/integration, a great virtual keyboard, lots of apps, and I believe it has momentum and an innovative future.
  2. #2  
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  3. tirk's Avatar
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    #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by bradleyj View Post
    Beautiful Interface
    Aesthetically, Windows Phone looks great; I think it is the best.
    Really?? I still think it looks like something aimed at your Granny!

    I also think it's unforgivable that MS broke the secure link with desktop Outlook - if Apple and HTC/Android can do it, how come MS can't?

    (Thanks for the detailed review though, always nice to hear ordinary users' take on different devices & platforms. )
    PalmPilot Professional...Palm Vx...Treo 600...Treo 680...HTC Touch HD...iPhone 4S...
  4. jdod's Avatar
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    #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by tirk View Post
    I also think it's unforgivable that MS broke the secure link with desktop Outlook - if Apple and HTC/Android can do it, how come MS can't?
    Can you elaborate?
    Sprint since 01/06/99: Sanyo SCP-4500 -> Audiovox PPC-6700 -> Palm Treo 755p -> Palm Centro -> Palm Pre 1.4.5 -> Jailbroken iPhone 4s
  5. tirk's Avatar
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    #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by jdod View Post
    Can you elaborate?
    WP7 has no wired (and thus secure) method of syncing with Outlook, unlike WM6 (Activesync). iOS can sync via iTunes, and there are various Android methods, such as HTC Sync.

    I'm ignoring using Exchange, because that's only secure if it's your company hosting the Exchange server.
    PalmPilot Professional...Palm Vx...Treo 600...Treo 680...HTC Touch HD...iPhone 4S...
  6. #6  
    I think WP7 is quite ugly. The other huge problem for me is it is a Microsoft OS. I know from decades of experience that Microsoft stuff is buggy and slow.
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    #7  
    You can call a contact in 3 steps on WP7:
    1. Press power
    2. Hold the start button.
    3. Say "Call Jim Mobile".

    Also, saying WP7 is buggy and slow is crazy. It is rock solid, has never crashed on me and is 60hz smooth.
    dignitary and threed61#WN like this.
  8. #8  
    wow 40000 apps per todays USA today article is AMAzing already. Time tor webOS to just die.
  9. #9  
    Thanks, OP, this was very informative! I'm on my Pre3 at the moment, but know that when the next gen of Windows Phones (8) comes out, I'll be making the switch!
  10. cgk
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    #10  
    I'm switching to WP7 next week (if the phone arrives) so this has been very helpful.
  11. #11  
    I think 2012 will be the Windows Phone year. Time will tell...

    -- Sent from my TouchPad using Communities
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  12. #12  
    If and when I ever which platforms this might be the route I go.

    -- Sent from my HP TouchPad using Communities
  13. cgk
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    #13  
    This is sort of neat (for anyone wondering about WP7):

    Windows Phone Demo use your phone browser not your desktop
    aginresearch likes this.
  14. #14  
    Pooooouuuuuuuuuuuutzzzzzzzzz...

    CGK, you gonna change from AndroLover to WinPhonaut??

    About the Thread...

    Congratulations!! You made a excelent text about how I was feeling with the monster HTC Titan (HTC Ultimate here, in Brazil).

    "Was" before sell the HTC, of course...


    Best Regards...
    "If A Man Isn't Willing To Take Some Risk For His Opinions, Either His Opinions Are No Good Or He's No Good!" - Ezra Pound (Poet & Critic)
    (Happy A Lot, As A Good Carioca!)
  15. cgk
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    #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by Rnp View Post
    Pooooouuuuuuuuuuuutzzzzzzzzz...

    CGK, you gonna change from AndroLover to WinPhonaut??

    About the Thread...

    Congratulations!! You made a excelent text about how I was feeling with the monster HTC Titan (HTC Ultimate here, in Brazil).

    "Was" before sell the HTC, of course...


    Best Regards...
    You have to understand one thing about me I am cheap I purchased a touchpad because it was on firesale, I use an android phone because the blade was the cheapest non-contract phone available. I am switching to windows phone because I am getting a free phone.

    Sent from my Blade using Tapatalk
  16. tirk's Avatar
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    #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by deCorvett View Post
    I think 2012 will be the Windows Phone year.
    This could either be a joke (based on the /. "next year is the year UNIX finally..." meme) or you are... "optomistic". WP7 is losing market share in the UK - down from a pathetic 1.7% to an embarassing 1.0% according to this article today.

    A better question is will MS still be around in a few years time?
    PalmPilot Professional...Palm Vx...Treo 600...Treo 680...HTC Touch HD...iPhone 4S...
  17. #17  
    This could either be a joke (based on the /. "next year is the year UNIX finally..." meme) or you are... "optomistic". WP7 is losing market share in the UK - down from a pathetic 1.7% to an embarassing 1.0% according to this article today.

    A better question is will MS still be around in a few years time?

    You are greatly underestimating Nokia, and HTC is going to push WP heavily this year too. Also, I see it as a superior product for average Joes, compared to Android.

    As I said before, time will tell.


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  18. tirk's Avatar
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    #18  
    Quote Originally Posted by deCorvett View Post
    You are greatly underestimating Nokia, and HTC is going to push WP heavily this year too. Also, I see it as a superior product for average Joes, compared to Android.
    Since when has "superior product" had anything to do with success, especially when MS operating systems are involved? Windows has over 90% of the desktop market, but is it "superior" to Unix? What made MS succeed was being early to market, and particularly early market share. These are just the things they have failed to do now.

    1.7% in August, down to 1% last month.

    How long after launch do they need? They've been selling for over a year now.

    As I said before, time will tell.
    Indeed it will. I hope they do succeed, partly as MS is the bulk of my business at the moment, from a selfish POV!

    But here's some more bad news for MS, this time on tablets.
    PalmPilot Professional...Palm Vx...Treo 600...Treo 680...HTC Touch HD...iPhone 4S...
  19. #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by tirk View Post
    Since when has "superior product" had anything to do with success, especially when MS operating systems are involved? Windows has over 90% of the desktop market, but is it "superior" to Unix? What made MS succeed was being early to market, and particularly early market share. These are just the things they have failed to do now.
    In desktop - yes MS is far far far superior to Unix, Linux, or anything else other than maybe Apple Mac. Users are not techies. They don't want to tinker - they want something that works out of the box. Apple is priced so high that it is a high end only choice which limits the reach. I think Windows phone could very well appeal to the masses much more than Android - but time will tell.
  20. #20  
    Thank you for this. I've been looking at WP7 a lot in the past week or so. webOS was during my lapse between WM6 and X... Which happened to be webOS. However, as much as I have defended the phones and the OS, I'm scared for it's future. Especially with phones, because even if HP keeps it around, I'm seriously doubting any more phones.

    That being said, I'm still on Sprint and plan on sticking with Sprint in the future. There are zero WP7 phones that are even mildly attractive (two to choose from), so it could be a long while til I switch from my FrankenPre 2 anyway. If Sprint got the Lumina 800, I'd wait in line for it overnight and not even look back.


    Good review, and like hearing it from a webOS user.
    Last edited by FliedLice; 11/30/2011 at 07:12 PM.
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