Back in june of this year, I received a very surprising e-mail stating that I would receive a Windows Phone 7 developer device. The reason for this? No, not that I’m handsome. But the fact that I paid $99 for listing an application in the marketplace that they were hoping me to port to Windows Phone 7. The wait continued: july? No phone. August? No phone. By september I thought I was not getting a Windows Phone 7 anymore. Until this week: another e-mail stating that the device was shipped. And today, FedEx kindly handed me over a developer device.
After installing my SIM card and starting the phone, I was welcomed by the nice looking Windows Phone 7 tiles. And that is where the rest of my journey started…
Disclaimer: This device is not a production device. It is a prototype developed by LG and I have absolutely no clue how this thing will look like and perform in the production model. Next, I have only used this phone for a few hours yet. Therefore do not base final judgements of the product on this blog post.
By the way, seems like Scott Hanselman also received a prototype phone and blogged about his experience.
Things I like
Here’s a list of the things I really, really like:
Windows Live, Google, Yahoo and Exchange are data sources for contacts and calendar information. I added my Windows Live account, Facebook, GMail and work Exchange account and WP7 is happily synchronizing everything.
With all that synching, WP7 seems to identify contacts: my wife’s Windows Live contact details, Facebook details and GMail details are all combined into one contact on the phone which is extremely useful. All contact information is centralized in that way.
The photo camera (5 MP) has a dedicated button. A button that also lets you take pictures if the phone is turned off! No need for a 20 seconds boot time if you want to quickly take a picture: just push the button and take a picture.
The tiles on the main screen are a very refreshing UI concept. Also, the UI is very smooth and fast compared with any other phone I used in the past.
Everything is very straightforward: you can get up and running in no time.
This model has a hardware keyboard which is a nice addition. Typing using the on-screen keyboard works but I do have thick fingers that are wrong sometimes. No problem in English as the English dictionary is helping as you type, but there’s no Dutch dictionary in this one yet which gives me a lot of mistakes. Unless I use the hardware keyboard, which I like better than on-screen.
Things I miss
There are some things I miss and may have me ending up with 2 phones in my pocket: my WP6 and WP7 phone. Here’s a list of things I miss:
A decent Twitter application. There's an app for that but not yet something like PockeTwit which I used on WP6.
Facebook is nicely integrated, except I can not find a place to update my status. Writing on people’s wall and commenting on people’s posts is possible but I seem to be missing a place where I can just enter “What’s on my mind?” Found here how it works.
There’s no such thing as Outlook synchronization! I have a GMail account for e-mail and tend to maintain contacts and calendar in good old Outlook. After looking at how to synchronize these I haven’t found a good manner to synchronize these contacts and calendar. My current solution was a bulk import into Windows Live contacts and calendar which works but is not very straightforward if you are used to just ActiveSyncing everything. Actually I started liking Windows Live for this matter. So maybe you'll miss it but I no longer do.
I have TomTom on my WP6 phone, does anyone know if they will release a WP7 version that does not eat your data plan?
Tethering! Really, every modern phone supports this!
Things I dislike
Another list of items… I dislike:
I don’t really like the Zune software. It appears very bloated and requires a lot of clicking to get some basic stuff done.
Fortunately I have a data plan with my cellphone operator. If you do not have such a thing, the WP7 will cost you a lot of money. If you would turn off data on the device, it will have less functionality.
There’s no Outlook synchronization. I fixed this with a workaround (see “Things I miss”), but would rather see this supported out-of-the-box.
Battery life seems rather short (+/ 1,5 day before having to recharge?)
If you look at the lists above, you will notice that I like the device and OS. There’s some lacking functionality and apps, but I’m sure these will be available soon after the release. It’s very surprising how smooth this device works and how easy it is to work with. Looking forward to the first official devices! And hope they will sync with Outlook and will support tethering...
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