Would you trust a movie review written by someone who hasn’t seen it? Probably not, so I know it may be a little hard to believe this – but I truly believe Windows Phone 7 represents an evolution in smartphones, and I don’t even own one. Why am I singing the praise for something I don’t own? Well, it’s a little like this…
Ever since Windows Phone 7 came out last fall, I’ve been following the various offerings. I’ve steered many a friend from purchasing an iPhone or Android based phone over to Windows Phone 7, usually by going to the store with them and showing them some of the features that caught my eye. I even got to play with an evaluation version, briefly, of the Samsung Focus. I feel so in love with it that I immediately began singing the praises of not only the Focus, but of Windows Phone 7. I found that if I could just get my friends and others to try one, they too became hooked.
Without a doubt “the” feature that attracted me to Windows Phone 7 was the live tiles. These are the tiles you see on the home screen of the phones that react to different events. Get a new e-mail? It changes the number to reflect it. New status update from a friend on Facebook? Their picture shows up on the tile. Upcoming event? The tile reflects the event. Simply put, the live tiles let you get information from the phone without being sucked into the phone. How many times have we seen people walking down the street or in store just totally absorbed by fiddling with their phone? The beauty of Windows Phone 7 is that you don’t need to be engrossed in the phone itself – you simply glance at it to find the update you are interested in; if you need to know more, you select the tile to be transported to that specific event. Simple brilliance – and ever friend I’ve shown has been hooked.
There is also the simple elegance of the clean design. I hate clutter, and the one thing I’ve noticed about WP7 is that it feels as if the OS was designed for a phone. It wasn’t simply “adapted” for the phone or slapped together. Things just flow. You really don’t need to sit there and hunt for the next screen, or next command – it just flows naturally. I wish desktop OS’s could work as well as Windows Phone 7 does in this regard.
The phone is also a powerful social network integrator – there is no denying that younger and older generations alike are clustering together online at sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and countless others. WP7 has done an excellent job at integrating these social networks. Plus, when you like your Windows Live account, it opens up a whole new world of integration between Windows Live and WP7. I sold one friend on WP7 merely by pointing out how well it integrated Facebook!
It’s good to point out that WP7 doesn’t just “connect” to the social networks, but it integrates them. You will notice that it’s not about what so and so is doing on Facebook, and who sent you a text message, and what colleague called you from work. Rather, it’s about what people are doing. You can see that Fred called you from work this morning, send you two text messages and posted a status update to Facebook – it’s the timeline of Fred. The same for Seth, Jennifer, Zach and all your other friends. WP7 is about connecting you to your friends and colleagues – not about trying to differentiate between social apps and networks.
So yes, Windows Phone 7 in my opinion rocks. So why do you ask don’t I have one? Well, like most people nowadays, I have to budget my expenses and since my old Windows Mobile 6.1 phone works (and has for over 2.5 years now) it just isn’t in the numbers for me to get one. Trust me, I’d love to be able to put my “money where my mouth is” but as an adult (versus that pimply kid I was 17+ years ago) I have learned how to admire from afar. And admire, I certainly am…
Rock on WP7!