Seven features that set Windows Phone 7 apart from iOS and Android and a new issue of Links à la Mode TECH.
Samsung Omnia 7 | Photo credit: Viki Secrets
Hi, I am on a Samsung Omnia 7 with an unlimited data plan (highly recommended for any smartphone) since four weeks and feel now competent enough to write a review about my favorite features, and what is still missing.
Samsung really manufactures incredibly well designed smartphones, and from a hardware perspective I can really recommend the Omnia 7 with WP7 (it is the sleekest WP7 phone at the moment) or the Galaxy S 2 (currently the best Android), the later featuring even a dual-core processor.
The Omnia 7 has a Snapdragon 1 GHz processor and comes in two editions, 8 GB and 16 GB. Pay attention to this, because memory is not easily upgradable in Windows Phones.
Here are my top 7 Windows Phone 7 features:
Top 7: Multiple handset vendors, soon including NOKIA
It is not the one phone fits all strategy like the iPhone. Windows Phones come in different screen sizes and designs, also supporting an optional hardware keyboard. I love choice.
Top 6: Built-in Business and Consumer Features
I think also business users love to be entertained sometimes and vice versa. So every WP7 phone is also a Zune MP3 and video player, supports Exchange, views and even edits Word, Excel, and Powerpoint files on the go. PDF reader and Amazon Kindle are available as apps.
Top 5: Xbox LIVE Games
WP7 brings your avatar to the phone and let you brush up your Gamerscore in Xbox LIVE enabled mobile games. Free, non-Xbox LIVE games are also available in the Marketplace, which are monetized by in-game banner ads.
Top 4: Consistent Hardware Buttons
The WP7 guidelines require every phone to have 7 buttons (back, home, search, volumne up/down, camera, and power). Having a context-aware back and search button is extremely useful. For example, hitting search in the People hub, searches your contacts, in email your messages, and on the start screen it brings up the Bing Web search.
Bing Picture Of The Day
Orchid mantis (Hymenopus coronatus)
Credit: Francesco Tomasinelli | Visuals Unlimited, Inc.
Top 3: Facebook Integration
I love WP7's data-centric approach, which adds content from Facebook and Windows LIVE (Twitter integration coming soon) to your People and Pictures hub. You can also decide if you want to use all your Facebook contacts as phone contacts, or you can add them manually (Settings > applications > people). Interestingly, WP7 currently only supports viewing the Most Recent Facebook stream but not the filtered Top News stream.
Top 2: Hardware-accelerated Web browser
Probably the most important app on any smartphone is the Web browser and after years of stagnation Microsoft has finally made some huge progress in Internet Explorer Mobile with super-fluent scrolling, zooming, automatic font scaling, and tab support. With the next major update, called Mango, Microsoft is going to bring hardware-accelerated IE9 technology from the desktop and html5 support to IE Mobile. Here is an impressive video demoing it.
Video credit: winrumors | Microsoft
Top 1: The Metro Design
My #1 feature is the minimalistic, typography-centric interface, codenamed Metro :)
Weather App in the Metro Design
Watch this cool fan-made video:
Video credit: WELOVEWP7
What is still missing
Here is a list of things that are still missing, some such as the sideloading restriction are fundamental limitations also present on the iPhone, others will hopefully be addressed in the next updates.
- Tethering (due to carriers refusing it, some vendor hacks available)
- Memory expansions (some vendors allow replacing the internal memory card)
- USB mass-storage device (regular Sync via Zune Software only, hacks available)
- Sideloading of applications (apps only through the official Marketplace)
- Flash support (YouTube apps available in the Marketplace, no Flash means no blinking ads and faster load times)
- html5 support (will come with Mango update)
- turn-by-turn navigation (will come with Mango update)
- 3rd-party multitasking (will come with Mango update)
- Only basic Facebook integration (to access all Facebook features you still need to go to the browser or launch the Facebook app)
- Update process not as smooth as advertised (due to carriers/vendors and bugs delaying it)
The Backside of the Samsung Omnia 7
Already got a few scratches, because I dropped it twice ;)
Ok, enough fan-boyish WP7 praise, here is some iLove from my fellow TECH bloggers:
Links à la Mode TECH
Are you a PC, or a MAC?
Edited by Joanne Faith
I have spent most of my life asserting that I preferred my PC laptop. It might not have been slimline, pretty, or cool…but at least I had mastered it and with this in mind, my Windows laptop remained my tool of the trade. I expect that’s about to change. I bought an iPhone… and I cannot express how much I love the damn thing. It’s as slick a piece of technology as the hype makes it out to me. There’s a moral in here somewhere: Don’t be afraid to try new technologies just because what you’re using right now is familiar to you – because sometimes taking the plunge can be so worth it!