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Gizmodo declares, "Ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a race" in smartphones.  (Source: Gizmodo.com)
Apps are rough and no multi-tasking blows, but not a bad start from the new OS

With the U.S. launch of Windows Phone 7 devices just around the corner (November 8), early reviews of the new mobile OS from Microsoft (and the hardware it runs on) are starting to emerge. So far, it appears that the product has a real chance to carve out a nice little niche in the budding smartphone market, though there are a few early hiccups.

Engadget didn't see a reason to completely re-write their mid-summer review of a developer device running Windows Phone 7. At the time, they said it felt incomplete -- which it was -- but there haven't been any major overhauls since then. Instead, they went back and annotated their original review with some nice additions. The following are a few take-aways:

- The software's touch-responsiveness and speed are to be celebrated, though the way applications appear in long, alphabetized lists can become tedious -- no improvement over iOS and Android's grids.
- The lack of copy-and-paste is unforgivable, though a software fix is coming "early 2011".
- No support for third-party multitasking of apps is "practically inexcusable".
- The WP7 touchscreen keyboard is very good. Almost as good as Apple's, and definitely better than stock Android.
- Facebook is deeply integrated into the OS, and is unavoidable, which could irk some. Lack of Twitter integration is puzzling.
- Web browsing is "a really pleasant experience," despite the fact that many websites that detect iPhone and Android devices to show tailored versions don't have the same functionality for WP7, and instead load unsightly WAP versions.
- One troubling area was third-party apps. "In almost every application we used besides some of the Xbox Live titles, there were major problems with either loading, rendering, navigation, or stability," Engadget writes. "Even from respected app-makers like Seesmic, the results seemed second rate in comparison to same applications on other platforms."
- Their closing comments complimented the effort, but said that the OS is at least a year behind market leaders.

Anandtech also conducted its own (very) in-depth review of Windows Phone 7. Some highlights:

- "The underlying architecture is well engineered, high performing and extremely efficient."
- Anandtech had a difference of opinion about the listed apps, praising the format's simplicity and ease of finding items over a grid.
- The UI is very clean, attractive, and smooth, thanks to a minimalist approach.
- Facebook integration is the best out of any other device.
- XBox Live integration and Windows Phone cloud access are nice touches.
- Internet Explorer mobile is much slower at loading webpages than on other OS's because of lower Javascript performance.
- The lack of quality apps and conventional task switching "are the two biggest issues facing Windows Phone 7 today."
- Windows Phone is more like an iPhone than an Android.

If the Anandtech review is too exhaustive, and you want a simple, straight-to-the-point overview, the folks over at Gizmodo have provided one. Gizmodo does a particularly good job of breaking down the OS's interface to three core concepts: Hubs, which are panoramic apps that span multiple screens; Live Tiles, which are home screen icons that update with new info (though not quite as in-depth as Android widgets); and the App Bar, "a semi-persistent menu/taskbar that hides deeper actions—like starting a new email or switching tabs in Internet Explorer."

Gizmodo also applauds WP7 for striking the "best balance of any smartphone between web-oriented and local storage, using the cloud for info like contacts and apps, tying itself to a PC (or Mac, with a basic client) only for big updates, music and video syncing."

Overall, they like the polished feel of the OS, with its beautiful, minimalist appeal. What they don't like is the fact that the home screen can only hold eight tiles, requiring a lot of side-swiping. Other drawbacks include the lack of a singular e-mail app (each account takes its own tile), lack of multi-tasking, and the cumbersome nature of searching for apps. Again, apps and multi-tasking.

The verdict? "Windows Phone 7 is really great. A solid foundation, it's elegant and joyful." It may not be an instant iPhone or Android killer, but it certainly is an option to consider. Once the bugs are worked out and the developer ecosystem is filled out, we'll have a clearer picture.





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RE: It begs the question...
By mcnabney on 10/21/2010 4:19:37 PM , Rating: -1
They are missing more than that.

-Apps apparently run very slowly
-Web Browsing is inferior to all competitors
-Apps cannot be side-loaded. All apps must go through Microsoft.
-Do not support video containers
-Visual voicemail is absent
-Cannot talk and do data, which is normally a CDMA-only weakness. These are GMS/HSPA phones.
-Fixed hardware and design requirements. Yes, manufactures can't do either their own skin or put buttons where they want. End result - the devices are all going to look the same.
-Hardly any apps to start with
-All 4Q phones are coming out on antiquated hardware. They will face Android devices that are much more powerful.


RE: It begs the question...
By Spivonious on 10/21/2010 4:28:22 PM , Rating: 5
Did you read the Anandtech review? It addressed your points.

- everything runs very fast, with only the XBL app being a bit sluggish
- they ran into no problems browsing sites
- this is the same as Apple and look how many people buy iPhone
- they support everything Apple does and some extra. That's enough for 95% of users.
- visual voicemail is probably a carrier dependent thing, and therefore can't be part of the standard WP7 OS.
- yes, you can. Anandtech has an image of browsing while talking
- this is actually an advantage, since the experience will be the same between devices. It will also encourage hardware designers to think outside the box.
- iPhone was the same way. And I think 1000+ apps at launch is pretty good.
- This is only because the carriers don't know how the public will react. They don't want to invest a lot in R&D for a product no one wants. Better designs will come. And the phone models are 6 months old. Not exactly "antiquated".


RE: It begs the question...
By omnicronx on 10/21/2010 4:36:27 PM , Rating: 3
BS..

-Apps don't run slowly.
-The browser is actually quite good reviews. (used it myself, I was quite surprised)
-it surely does support video containers(don't know where you pulled this out one of. If anything video codec support is BETTER than other platforms, it supports divx out of the box).
-Can do data and talk at the same time.. don't know what you are talking about.
-Fixed hardware design? THATS A GOOD THING for consumers!
-A new platform without a bunch of apps to start with, really?
-Old hardware? Buddy really, we are in Q4 and there has yet to be a phone clocked over 1GHZ (which is the MS requirement). They will be just as advanced as Android hardware when released.

All in all, you are just talking out of your ***

The biggest problems with Windows Phone 7 is not anything you've named, or multitasking and copy paste.. Its the fact that many API's within the OS are currently not available to 3rd party developers (i.e everyone else).

But of course, that will change pretty quickly too..


RE: It begs the question...
By Da W on 10/21/2010 4:51:03 PM , Rating: 1
You're a stupid google fanboy.

-Are there any android device with a pop-up speaker like the HTC surround? Name one!
-Android music player don't amount to shit. Even apple's don't match up against zune. Music is one of the primary thing i will do with my phone, fuckingly important.
-Droid X, Samsung galaxy S are antiquated hardware? WHAT?
-What other phone has office? Name one where you can show your powerpoint from your phone via a mini-hdmi jack on a big screen TV in a conference room?

The only big weakness i find on WP7 that i would think of getting a nexus one instead is for the wi-fi hotspot. Cool feature.


"Game reviewers fought each other to write the most glowing coverage possible for the powerhouse Sony, MS systems. Reviewers flipped coins to see who would review the Nintendo Wii. The losers got stuck with the job." -- Andy Marken











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