First Impressions: Windows Phone 7 (part 1)

Posted on July 7, 2010 by

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Windows Phone 7 Home Screen

I’ve now had the new Microsoft Mobile OS, Windows Phone 7, demonstrated to me twice and I have to say that I’m impressed.

Windows Phone 7 is a big departure from Microsoft’s old Windows Mobile Operating Systems; those of you who have used a Windows phone or PDA before will not recognise it at all. Those of you who have used a Zune, however, may well.

The new interface looks fast, smooth and highly customisable. There are a lot of new and interesting features to talk about, but rather than detailing them all here, I’ll start with just a couple for now:

Live Tiles.
These are the building blocks of the home screen on a device running Windows Phone 7. In addition to system tiles such as email, calendar, SMS, photos etc, any app can have its own Live Tile. The tiles update in real-time, pulling content from the web or relevant data from the device.

Microsoft tell me that their goal is to support the idea of being able to pull your phone out of your pocket and have a quick look to be fully updated on the things that interest you. The Live Tiles feature certainly seems to go along with this idea.

Panoramas
A bit like the home screen of an Android phone, Windows apps themselves can sprawl across several screen widths. This means lots more content can be available from an app by just flicking the screen left or right. Cues as to what’s available on each view are given by keeping the very edges of the adjacent screens visible.

Windows Phone 7 is a much-needed rethink for Microsoft’s mobile strategy. I believe it has the potential to trump iPhone OS, Android and other mobile platforms in many ways, but with Microsoft currently targeting Holiday Season 2010 for release, is it too late in the day to make in impact and win over people’s loyalties?