Quick Thoughts On Windows Phone 7

Windows just announced Windows Phone 7 (previously known as Windows Mobile 7). Here’s a video, and after that, some thoughts on the offering.

[flash src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/7IOTrqlz4jo&hl=en&fs=1″ height=”450″ width=”100%”]

Musings:

  • I like how the lock screen is not a slider, but a “cover” you slide upwards.
  • I’m noticing the Internet Explorer icon, and thinking to myself: Why not rebrand Internet Explorer Mobile as simply “Internet” and replace the icon with a globe? After strangle-holding the web for half a decade, IE must surely be a tainted brand. Then I remember that to most people, the E means internet. And then I’m sad.
  • I wonder which version of IE it’s running… 8? No rounded corners or drop shadows then.
  • The Xbox Live integration will appeal to a number of people. Not a bad move.
  • The interface looks kinda nice, and — dare I say it — clean and original compared to both iPhone OS and Android. I’m told this is the Zune look. Which is ironic, because Zune was originally advertised as bidding you “welcome to the social”. Which of course becomes somewhat easier when you can now finally call someone.
  • It looks like the phone hardware demonstrated has three capacitative buttons, which if you read my column on Androids buttons is two more than just right. Back, Windows logo (probably “home” or “start new app”), and long thing with a circle on the end (probably context menu) [Update]: It’s a Bing key. Incidentally, the more generic “Search” key on my Android phone is my least used button. I think I’ve used it twice in my lifetime ownership of the device.
  • The fact that there’s a smiley on the default SMS texting keyboard… I don’t know… should we read anything in to that? For one thing, I’ll bet you it means WinPhone7 doesn’t leverage the power of HTML5 forms.
  • I wonder if WinPhone7 will be Mac compatible. Catering to the 4% (arguably the important percent) is just not the Microsoft way. One decent alternative would be to not need a computer at all to sync… so that all you had to do to grab music, files, calendar notes, email and everything was to sync to the cloud, or your computer via bluetooth using standardized protocols. The video claims you can “skip the wires and sync over Wi-Fi”. Which, if it works on any computer with a shared network drive, gives this phone a fighting chance, demonstrating how iTunes as sync middle-ware is a last-gen concept.
  • One status update in the demo video from “Anne” reads “Having fun playing at the beach with the twins”. Which we’ll let hang there for a moment. European beach?
  • I’m told version 7 has been underway for quite a while, and has involved a complete rewrite of the code base as opposed to continuing work on WinMo 6.5. Starting from scratch is quite often a really good idea, even if risky.
  • It’s got Bing. Of course it does. Will it allow you to switch that search to Google? Or do they simply ask you go through the browser to do that?
  • The “people” section stresses me out. It’s like walking through the halls at iStockPhoto, constantly wincing to avoid the glare from just-bleached teeth.
  • Let me know if you spot a single instance of the WinMo font set in bold. I haven’t spotted it yet — stylish. The whole “looking through a cutout at a canvas” thing also looks really nice. Actually.
  • Why holiday 2010, why not three years ago?

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