First Look – Windows Phone 7 O/S

By Mike Wheeler

So Microsoft has decided to make another play for the mobile operating system after what some would call was an abject failure of Windows 6.5.

With the new O/S Microsoft have promised better integration, top-notch functionality, and more importantly (and a fatal flaw in Windows 6.5), all the applications will work on the new system.

Microsoft will tell you it is the biggest, fastest, most secure, ‘kills the opposition’, kick arse, mobile operating system available today. It’s not. But it’s not bad either.

First up, it does what most operating systems are claiming to do, and that is sync all your social networking sites together (although there seems no sync for Twitter).  But it also aggregates all SMSs, emails etc into one spot, including gmail so you get updates under the one widget. And being a Microsoft product, it also aggregates Hotmail, Xbox Live, office and outlook express under one widget – basically the whole Windows Live experience.

An interesting little nugget – and one I really liked – was the Picture Hub. This collates all the pics that are uploaded to your various accounts – whether it be email, Facebook or whatever – and puts them in one place. This is really cool if you are a visual instead of literary type person, and it does away with having to go through all the different screens to find the pic you are after.

Another little gem, and one that mobile phone enthusiasts don’t really care about – but if you’re like my wife it’s a must-have feature on a handset – is the camera. You can turn the phone on, hit the ‘click’ button when you are in any other screen, and it comes up automatically – in other words, you don’t have to search for the camera icon, or scroll through a menu looking for it.

Microsoft also says the User Interface experience is quick and fast, but to be honest, I didn’t find it any quicker or slower than any other operating system. Downloads were reasonably quick – as you would expect on the 3G network – and surfing the net was pretty fast, too.

Also, business people especially, will need to be aware that there is no tethering avialable, which could be fatal to that market. This will be a problem for on-the-go people who need all their gadgets to be able to all that is necessary to get a job done. It also does not have a cut and paste feature – again, another time-saver for busy folks. Hopefully there are some app developers out there that will fix this problem, because I can see it affecting the sales of handsets loaded with the O/S.

One final criticism, is that there is no music store. Handsets are becoming more and more all-in-one devices, especially when it comes to music. Not having a music store, again, could be a fatal flaw in the system.

Overall, I think the system is a sound one – certainly better than the last iteration. Is it better than Android, Apple or Symbian? Not really, but it’s certainly worth a look if a mobile operating system is key when deciding on what handset to buy.

Pros: Nice aggregation of pics, quick camera feature
Cons: Not all social networking sites integrated, no tethering, no cut and paste feature, no music store

3.8 Shacks out of 5