With iOS, Android, WebOS, and BlackBerry dominating the smartphone scene, Microsoft has been noticeably absent from the game. Now they are aiming to change that with Windows Phone 7. Whether Microsoft will be able to pull a rabbit out of its hat and become relevant in the hearts and pockets of users is completely up to what Windows Phone 7 can do. The OS was recently previewed and it is promising to say the least, but is still flawed in some key areas.
- While in lock mode you will have an at-a-glance look at time and date, incoming emails, calender appointments and texts. A simple upwards slide of the screen reveals the elegant dashboard, which uses a “tile” interface that is very well done. Your tiles are completely customizable, allowing you to “pin” your favorite and most used tiles to your home interface, such as playlists, people, webpages, and apps.
- What you will notice right off the bat is that the touch screen response is incredibly fast. In fact, the smoothness of touch is right up there with iOS 4 as the most responsive UI on a smartphone ever.
- The keyboard is one of the more important aspects of a smart phone (who talks anymore?), as users will definitely need a cooperative keypad when sending texts and emails. Windows Phone 7 manages to pull it off exceptionally well. The virtual keyboard works in both vertical and horizontal modes, and as expected, is better suited for horizontal use. Though, the feel of the keyboard shouldn’t be taken too seriously just yet, as we will have to wait to get our hands on a finished piece of retail hardware to gauge its comfort in use.
So last week when Windows Phone 7 Series was introduced to the world, one of the major bulletpoints was the fact that Xbox Live integration would be a big part of the platform, although Microsoft didn’t give too many details. That changed on during a conference call this morning, where Microsoft mobile communications chief Andy Lees gave a bit on insight on hat we can expect to see in the mobile version of Xbox Live:
“We are very excited about the way in which the platform works across screens, so we have commonality of platform across the PC, the Xbox, and the web and the phone. We provide a new set of tools that makes it easy and very fast for people to develop applications for the phone but also in a way that works across screens, and we’ll announce details of that at MIX. You’re also right to point out that a marketplace is included, and the marketplace will work for applications but also for games, so the gaming marketplace for the first time will utilize Xbox Live, and that enables you to create multiplayer, multiscreen games, and the marketplace will facilitate that, so that it will actually work across screens.”
We like it, especially that whole multiplayer, multiscreen aspect, although of course we have to see how it actually looks and feel before making final judgment. We’ll know about when Microsoft’s MIX conference kicks off next month.
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