A Business User Reviews The Windows Samsung Focus

Slalom Consulting's Garrey Carlson

Garret Carlson is Slalom Consulting’s National Solutions Director responsible for supporting Slalom’s technology solutions across all of Slalom’s offices.

The first wave of Windows phones arrived yesterday and I purchased the Samsung Focus. 24hrs into break in period I thought I would provide my thoughts. Those that work with me know that I am not an early adopter of phones and reluctantly move from device to device. I have been using the iPhone 3GS for about 1.5 years and the ‘freshness’ of the devices went out the window about eight months ago. Although the novelty of Angry Birds & Cut the Rope truly is amazing, the frustration with calendar invites, call quality and rendering office documents was so overpowering that I actually went to AT&T store the first day buy a more business friendly device.

First thing was the form factor of the device is compelling. Similar dimension to the iPhone but he screen is much more clear and larger. The user interface is intuitive and I was able configure the applications quickly. My email was up and running by the time I walked 8 blocks from the store to my desk. The visual keyboard is similar to the iPhone however the buttons seems smaller. The dependency on a Windows Live ID and Zune account was interesting. Thankfully, I already had both accounts but setting that up would be a hassle much like my first experience with the iPhone and iTunes. The Marketplace is limited but I did get the applications I needed. Love the bigger icons and “cleanness” of the start menu. Maybe I am just getting old but ease of finding things out weigh cool factor. The social media integration with people and contacts was almost scary. I was used to opening up applications to get status updates but this feature allows me to peruse folks quickly and get information. Not sure what I like better but it is new. SIM compatibility was an ease for me since I own the 3GS. Those with the 4G will have to make a decision on SIMS. However, I do think I will have some data plan issues if I try and switch back and forth. AT&T never makes it too easy to change devices.

Things I didn’t like were minimal but here’s a list of a few:

External storage becomes part of the of the phone memory from day one. If you are going to use microSD card, I highly recommend you install it early. The reason being is that in order for the Focus to recognize the extra memory, you have to perform a hard reset on the phone. Not cool if you have already downloaded apps, made adjustments and personalized.

AT&T applications like Navigator and AT&T Radio are pushed. I am not a big believer is spending cash on applications that should be included.

XBOX LIVE–really. I haven’t played games since Valve’s Team Fortress.

All in all, I give the device thumbs up. The basic need for a smartphone in my opinion is to make your life easier…not just entertain you while waiting on public transportation. Having the ability to dial direction from a meeting invite or forward calendar invites is huge. Adjusting PowerPoint documents and Excel sheets during a meeting  clearly saves time. My colleague Dan Maycock made the same comparison with the Blackberry Torch and the enterprise user. If a device operates better in an enterprise setting, and makes the most common things for a corporate employee easy, there’s no comparison.

The Samsung Focus phone provides me the features I use most within my day and that make it a better fit for me. I look forward to see how the Windows phone stack up against market in the months to come. Next up for me will be to replace my iPad with a Slate.

-Garret

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