Windows Phone 7 - First Impressions
Disclaimer: 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...
- Remember the Milk
- No twitter client yet. This is crippling me.
- 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.