Scott Hanselman

Windows Phone 7 - First Impressions

July 29, '10 Comments [43] Posted in WinPhone
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Windows Phone EmulatorDisclaimer: I work for Microsoft in MSDN. I don't work for or with the Windows Phone 7 team in any capacity. I do know one guy over there, though. That said, I personally have an iPhone 3G (dead, the kids play Monkey Island on it), a iPhone 3GS (the wife won't use it, it's on a shelf) and an iPhone 4 (my non-work phone). I also have a work Samsung Blackjack (WinMo 6.5). I signed up and paid for a Windows Phone 7 developer account and I have ideas for 3 apps. No one has asked me to blog about the phone, my opinions are my own. Also, this is a developer prototype with whatever build they shipped it with.

A Windows Phone 7 developer phone showed up in the mail today. Inside the battery door it said "MS Asset" so it looks like I won't be able to keep it. Still, it's cool. I pulled the MicroSIM out of my iPhone 4 and shoved it, ungracefully, into the normal-sized SIM slot and while it's not kosher, it totally works. I'll go get an converter/adapter at some point.

Here's some things I was impressed with:

  • Windows Live, Google, Yahoo, and Exchange are all peers. I was able to add my work Exchange account, my own Gmail (Google Apps), my wife's email and Google Calendar, and my Windows Live in less than 5 minutes. I customized the calendar colors as well.
  • When I added Windows Live, it automatically figured out I had Xbox and downloaded my Avatar and Achievements. This was particularly cool because I had just won "Limbo" the night before and my little Avatar dude had a Limbo T-shirt on.
  • My wife's Zune Pass just worked. Leasing music rocks. I put 6 gigs of music and podcasts on it.
  • There's a dedicated camera button (this is apparently in the hardware spec) so one button gets  you a 5 megapixel camera with flash.
  • The screen is really clear. I don't know the DPI (maybe 200?) but the typography/fonts aliases really nicely.
  • Speech recognition for Bing Search is nice and tiny Excel, Word and PowerPoint are cool.
  • Everything is extremely "fluid' and smooth. I was worried when I saw things at Mix 10 stuttering. I didn't see any of that on this hardware.
  • The browser doesn't suck at all, actually. This was a pleasant surprise. It's speedy and useful. I wish that when the pages got pinn'ed to the home page that it used the iphone-touch-icon.png or some kind of favicon rather than a thumbnail of the page though.

Some things I had trouble with:

  • I have 568 Windows Live Contacts and >3500 Facebook Contacts, so integrating these was a mistake. It took the phone 20 minutes in the background (I didn't realize it was doing in) to put all my "friends" in a Contact List. That's what I get for not keeping Facebook for just friends. Even then, assuming I had a few hundred "friends" I'm trying to figure out how many "frequently dialed" phone numbers I'd want to keep, vs. internet friends.  How many friends do normal people have on Facebook? I'm still trying to figure out the usage pattern for this. I'm not sure how I can use the People Hub without un-friending 3000 people
  • I miss my must-have apps. Hopefully they are listening...
    • FourSquare
    • Evernote
    • Remember the Milk
    • No twitter client yet. This is crippling me.
    • Kindle
  • The ringtones and alarms are really ethereal. I need a jangly and jarringly classic old rotary phone alarm. I'll need to figure out custom ringtones.
  • No copy-paste. Yet.
  • The fine-tuned-hold-the-cursor-to-select gesture currently requires you to hold to select, then move down to move a floating-above-you selection iBar.
  • I haven't figured out how to "mount" the phone in Windows Explorer and look at my photos. That said, it appears they automatically show up in My Photos in a folder called "From <My Phone's Name>" and they can optionally be automatically uploaded to the web. There's a lot of "it just works" stuff going on. I'm used to everything being configurable.

It'll take a while to get used to "it just works" from Microsoft. All in all, I'm pleasantly surprised as everything has just worked.

The wife thought it was cool too, although she wants a hardware keyboard that flips out. Apparently Dell is making one like that. I keep forgetting that the software and the hardware are separate. I am looking forward to seeing what HTC does with this. Those guys are nuts.

I took a few moments and filmed some guerilla video of me exploring the phone. Again, this is just the build that was mailed to me today, not the final stuff.

Windows Phone 7 - June 29th - Walkthough of Developer Phone from Scott Hanselman on Vimeo.

In my spare time, I'm going to be working on BabySmash for WP7, as well as a Diabetes application and maybe a few others. You can get the free developer tools at http://developer.windowsphone.com and sign up to sell your apps as well. I'm optimistic. This is quite a bit cooler than I expected. Looking forward to what's next.

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010 9:54:39 AM UTC
Hey Scott,

Do you know if the TellMe API will be available to developers to use text/speech in our apps?
Thursday, July 29, 2010 9:59:48 AM UTC
Strange, one would think a kindle app would have been a priority for charlie ;-).
Thursday, July 29, 2010 10:01:35 AM UTC
Touchality have a WP7 FourSquare app already in the works - you'd have to build or apply to your phone using the XAP deploy stuff. Building might be a better go, since apparently sideloading doesn't work.

http://4square.codeplex.com/

You won't be able to 'mount' the phone as a drive, apparently, so PTP/MTP are you only options.
Thursday, July 29, 2010 10:03:43 AM UTC
Scott,
Thanks 4 the update. VERY "GU"ey!
Boo
Thursday, July 29, 2010 10:09:46 AM UTC
Hi Scott - assuming the underlying hardware was identical - and that you were paying for it all with your own money - would you rather your main phone run iOS, android or WP7? Cheers, Chris
chrisb
Thursday, July 29, 2010 10:15:10 AM UTC
Hi Scott,

From what I heard on Paul Thurotts podcast you can only interact with Photos on the Phone via Zune software no plug and play with Explorer etc which really sucks but then again iTunes is the crappest software on the planet.
Thursday, July 29, 2010 10:17:02 AM UTC
Hey Scott,


Do the dev tools ship with an emulator for us poor bastards without the hardware? Guessing it does but just been too lazy to download/install.
praetoriandave
Thursday, July 29, 2010 10:21:17 AM UTC
Also check out the foursquare app on codeplex and play with the source :)

http://4square.codeplex.com/

Regards
Justin King
Thursday, July 29, 2010 10:22:53 AM UTC

public void Rant() {
I am still firm in my thinking it lacks depth and ambition.. i am just not convinced this is the best foot forward here.. The typography seems busy and i think it adds too much extraneous cognitive load on the user.
};

I'd be interested to see you do a follow-up video after a week of heavy usage? how it holds up in terms of day to to day usage (not so much app market place missing elements etc, more along the lines of usability as i think this is what the PR post its release will likely settle on...)
-
Scott "MossyBlog / aka Lunatic" Barnes
Thursday, July 29, 2010 11:29:43 AM UTC
Hi Scott, for the Twitter Client, try to ask Lorenzo Barbieri, he's a microsoft employee and I know he use Cip Cip ... :) Perhaps it's less than alpha ... but at least is something :)

See Ya.

Gianluca
gianluca gravina
Thursday, July 29, 2010 11:30:07 AM UTC
Hi Scott

thanks for the video. I am about to shared it on my site.

BTW I have a question if you dont mind . Does the tile for the webpage ( New York Times in your video )on the home screen update itself, say if the content on the NYT webpage change does the tile on WP7 change ?

Thanks :)
Thursday, July 29, 2010 11:41:47 AM UTC
love to buy that windows 7 phone in India here....seems interesting with the details you have given
Thursday, July 29, 2010 11:48:49 AM UTC
I think the FaceBook integration is going to be useless for 99% of people until they allow you to filter it - I don't know anyone that actually only has their real day to day contacts/friends as friends on FaceBook, and having several hundred people added to my people directory isn't going to be helpful.

Hopefully they have a lot of people in their ear about that one and it will get sorted before release.. hopefully.
Thursday, July 29, 2010 12:11:44 PM UTC
Just to say that the date on the video should be July 27th, not June 27th!
Thursday, July 29, 2010 12:13:36 PM UTC
I really hope WP7 takes off. As a mobile developer for the last two years I can say the dev tools for all the other platforms leave me wanting.

C#/Silverlight/Visual Studio is a real sweet spot for me. I'm jealous of all the MS employees. :)
Thursday, July 29, 2010 12:15:56 PM UTC
You should place an asterisk next to

You can ... sign up to sell your apps as well.


cause only residents of ~30 countries can do that. And this sucks.
Thursday, July 29, 2010 12:43:55 PM UTC
I want one too. I never use copy paste on my Nexus, so that isn't a problem :D

Too bad that they don't support native development though. I really like Firefox...
Thursday, July 29, 2010 1:12:30 PM UTC
Thank you Scott.
No word on the outlook app though. you only say different aspects could sync and download. mebbe more screenshots
and a podcast next time? also, this is the quickest turn around time i have ever seen for a post (a good well worded one). you inspire us all.
jake
Thursday, July 29, 2010 1:13:06 PM UTC
Hi Scott,

I think Microsoft has taken a big leap forward with Windows Phone 7 but still it will be extremely hard to compete with phones like IPhone and Android. The thing I do not like about Windows Phone 7 is the interface. Instead of creating a new crisp interface MS just copied the interface from ZUNE and I for one HATE the Zune interface.

The other thing is the emulator! It seems like I need a super computer to run the emulator and even then it is extremely slow! I have a two year old machine and still the emulator does not work. I would not BUY a new COMPUTER just to develop applications for Windows Phone 7.

Thanks,
Azam
Thursday, July 29, 2010 4:25:55 PM UTC
One thing that disappointed me immediately is that the browser does not support the geolocation object that the Webkit and Mozilla browsers do. I think that's a huge failure for Web apps targeted to phone browsers. I'd love to ask someone over there to force that in.
Thursday, July 29, 2010 4:36:33 PM UTC
Hello! I have a question that hopefully you can answer. Will signing up for the application store get me a dev phone? I have a few things going on the emulator, along with a few ideas for apps. But I would like to see and feel the actual phone and see the apps actually running on the phone the way I imagine.
Thanks!
Rudy
Thursday, July 29, 2010 4:46:53 PM UTC
</i></b> fixed?
Matt
Thursday, July 29, 2010 5:22:02 PM UTC
I would have expected the screenshot to show this very post.
Sam Rizzo
Thursday, July 29, 2010 8:29:46 PM UTC
I would love to know why the folks at Dr. Dobbs or myself (writer for TechRepublic in their Programming & Development section) can't get a hold of these demo units, despite asking PR folks. Meanwhile, non-developers like Ed Bott and Mark Miller at ZDNet are able to get them. Doesn't Microsoft want to encourage us to take a look at the development story and talk about it ourselves?

J.Ja
Thursday, July 29, 2010 8:39:27 PM UTC
Did you wake up your wife when you knocked over the camera? Good video, thanks for sharing.
Thursday, July 29, 2010 8:42:57 PM UTC
Justin - I dunno. I'm just a caveman who wants to write some apps. Ask Brandon Watson, as he's the owner of my device. I think the point is to get folks developing apps. The "experience" isn't set yet...I'm sure it's in flux. Maybe they are waiting for thing to bake more. I'm not involved.
Thursday, July 29, 2010 9:48:26 PM UTC
Will do, thanks Scott!

J.Ja
Thursday, July 29, 2010 10:08:57 PM UTC
Congrats on getting an early release device. Can you comment on the OS's ability (or inability) to use multiple MS Exchange accounts? I've got an Exchange account for work and an Exchange account for my personal email / side business. Can you sync to multiple Exchange accounts (email, contacts, calendar, etc)? WinMo 6.x never got that feature; I ended up moving to the Palm Pre for this specific reason.

Thanks and I look forward to more info!
Thursday, July 29, 2010 11:11:01 PM UTC
Rudy,

The only way to get a dev device is to write an app, and post it on YouTube with the #wp7dev tag, and then contact your local Champion and ask them to review it for you...There is still no guarantee even if you are on the list since there is a limited number of devices...

Eric
Thursday, July 29, 2010 11:26:11 PM UTC
"It just works" is cool. But I foresee a lot of people having the same problems with the Facebook integration.
If it supports lists on Facebook, then that could solve the problem. You could define the lists it should sync with.
Thursday, July 29, 2010 11:35:49 PM UTC
Thanks for the review. Warning to headphone users like me, around 12:46 some fumbling of the device may cause you to go deaf for a few moments and scream something at the screen.

With no apps yet I am not sure I will be willing to part with my iPhone just yet.
Friday, July 30, 2010 12:11:28 AM UTC
I cannot work on a phone without the HW keyboard either. I am using one of the WP7 models with the keyboard and they are definitely good. That said of all the touch-screen phones I've used WP7 on-screen keyboard works best for me
Friday, July 30, 2010 1:24:31 AM UTC
Thanks so much for doing this. The phone looks awesome. I like the minimalist interface. I love my iPhone, but sometimes it's hard to distinguish what's tap-able and what is just graphics.

I guess I'll be putting my iPhone out to pasture in October (hopefully from what I've read) and trying this one out.

Only suggestion so far, I'd prefer the buttons had capitalize text, "Allow" vs. "allow", looks more professional, but that's a personal preference of mine.
Chris
Friday, July 30, 2010 4:49:11 PM UTC
Scott—I’m jealous that you got to try out the Windows 7 phone, thanks for the video! Good to hear that it works smoothly, it looks like a sleek design, too. How is the reception? Does it really not have a FourSquare app? That is very surprising. As for your friend list, I’m pretty sure “normal” people aren’t as popular as you are—3,500 contacts is a lot! Maybe only adding 200 contacts to your phone would be better, what do you think?
TuneUp
Friday, July 30, 2010 9:05:11 PM UTC
TuneUp - it's not released, so there are no apps. There's an open source FourSquare app. I'm sure that all the usual suspects will have apps out when it releases.
Saturday, July 31, 2010 3:15:11 PM UTC
" No twitter client yet. This is crippling me. "

Believe me, it's not crippling us...
Tom
Sunday, August 01, 2010 12:00:48 AM UTC
As you said in the article the UI speed and slight jerkyness in the original demos seems to have gone which is great. I can't wait to get my hands on one I know there are some things missing still but I am expecting a pretty quick release schedule. The developer story is just too good to miss for me.
Monday, August 02, 2010 6:58:31 PM UTC
"I haven't figured out how to "mount" the phone in Windows Explorer and look at my photos."

As far as I know, the only way to connect with it thru the PC is via the Zune software.
LiquidPT
Tuesday, August 03, 2010 7:25:36 AM UTC
dabr.co.uk might fill the Twitter gap for the mo
Jon
Wednesday, August 04, 2010 2:38:31 AM UTC
Will the DLR be available on Windows Phone 7? Are they going to charge to sell an app in the mobile market place?
Monday, August 09, 2010 7:13:53 PM UTC
This phone looks nice and I think Microsoft's approach to development on mobile devices is improved. The key to any mobile platform and especially this one, is developer adoption. If no one develops any applications for it then it is just a phone and will die.

Microsoft needs a great story, not just..here are some tools, go create a market for me please. I would think MS would have the tools but also provide developer devices (if they have, then I missed them) to developers and help them bring these things to market and help market. Apple already had a huge fan base when the iPhone came out but MS does not have that luxury, they lost developers and continue to do so. MS needs a smart approach to bring them back but it is going to cost some $$$ before it will happen. I think this will show the true commitment to mobile by MS or it will just be another failed phone by the company.

Just my 2 cents.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010 2:08:06 AM UTC
I love the phone. I saw one at the 2010 PDX Code Camp and got a few moments hands on with it. Can't wait to do some development for it.

Also loved the "hipster doofus" comment. That is what I refer to my NYC-living, music-making brother in law.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010 2:32:52 AM UTC
Good preview.

I'll definitely be looking forward to your diabetes app esp. if you need beta testers. Once I get my WinP7 phone, of course.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.