Windows Phone 7 at Day 2

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin is an accomplished Microsoft systems developer and integrator, experienced in developing and deploying SharePoint and CRM solutions, integrating line of business applications, and leveraging existing infrastructure investments.

Just to be clear: it was essential that I be the first person who walked through the door of the T-Mobile store yesterday morning to purchase my new HD7 from HTC.  Took a little longer than it should have because despite having about a year to prepare, the store wasn’t quite prepared to sell me such a glorious little device. But after some convincing, I prevailed.  And I dove in head first!

The amazing:

  1. The interface is stunning. Absolutely stunning.  It speaks to the intricate detail that MS put into this from screen transitions, to the insistence that all WP7 devices were not hardware starved.
  2. The apps. Thus far, the apps that I have worked with are spectacular.  Particular shout out to the HTC hub which, despite its gorgeous look and great animations isn’t really worth more than telling me the weather.  Also of note – Office 2010 – oh yes – the fact that I instantly have all of my Office docs and OneNote notes on the device is telling.  The History Channel app is also fantastic if you have the means (I don’t, just got click happy).
  3. The keyboard. Despite loathing on screen keyboards since my one year of hell with a tragically under-everything My Touch 3G Android, the WP7 on screen keyboard is usable.
  4. The SPEED. Holy crap this thing is fast
  5. The camera. 5 Mega-pixels, rapid fire snapshot capability, automatic upload to SkyDrive (cross linked to Facebook) and flash.  Big big in the software though that’s called out everywhere with its preference towards the color pink, but I hear that fix is coming shortly.
  6. The Zune. THE ZUNE!!!! I never thought I’d encounter a beautiful app that is also functional and very easy to use before I touched the on phone Zune app.  It is stunning to just look at.  The ability to shift between screens (wide screen scrolling) is a fantastic design element that is found throughout the phone but really shines here.  And let me tell you something – not only are all of the songs in Zune Marketplace 99 cents as opposed to Apple’s variable pricing, the Zune desktop software is absolutely glorious.  It makes iTunes look, act and feel downright archaic and clunky.

The not so good:

  1. It’s a 1.0. There are things missing – copy and paste, background on the home screen (lock screen has it) and most of my tiles are pretty static – if they are going to be static, they should be smaller I think.
  2. No keyboard support in the blue tooth profile. I shouldn’t expect it to, except the thing has a fully functional copy of Office 2010 on it (practically speaking) and the HD7 even has a kickstand of all things to prop it up :)
  3. The Marketplace search is lame (phone and Zune software). When I search for something, I want context sensitive results.  If I’m in the Marketplace looking for apps, I should only see apps, not music and videos.  I really dislike that.
  4. No ability to tie into the dialer yet. The Google Voice app (3rd party) is pretty good but not free and should be from Google and should be allowed to tie into the dialer.
  5. No multi-tasking. Duh, but that is REALLY hard to do on a phone so relax, it will get here!
  6. The WIFI won’t persist. This is pretty much normal for most phones but annoying non-the-less.  I dislike paying $30 for ‘unlimited’ data on the phone and not being able to tether.  The solution is: get a Clear Spot (or other MiFi) and go all WiFi.  Works like a champ – little hockey puck device, 4G internet to my laptop, iPad (yes), HD7 and other little goodies – and save that $30 data plan on just the phone.  Problem?  When you lock the phone, WiFi goes to sleep – to save battery I’m sure.  Bummer – should have the option to keep that sucker on.

Overall impression?  When it gets a quick service release in a few months you’ve got yourself a genuine contender to knock out the iPhone. It’s a fantastic platform, with fantastic hardware options unlike the iPhone, multiple carrier goodness unlike the iPhone, and backed by a software tool, the Zune, that is both modern and functional–unlike the iPhone.  Truly a magnificent product!!!

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