Windows Phone 7 : 6 months later

I’ve had my HTC Mozart for about 6 months now, so I thought I’d give an update of my thoughts about it and Windows Phone 7.

The first set of WP7 updates were really slow to roll-out here in Australia to Telstra: Telstra was the 2nd last mobile operator to deliver the update in the world. Given that the Spain’s Telefonica apparently still is only scheduling updates, for now Telstra has the honour of actually being last to deliver the updates (to date). Despite those middle party delays, the 7.1 update was awesome !  Performance improvements are huge with some applications, and most importantly we got cut and paste back.

For more feature improvements we still have to wait until later this year when the “Mango” update will be released. Developers can play with the mango bits in Visual Studio and the phone emulator. So far Mango looks really cool and addresses many of my initial/early concerns about Windows Phone.  Looking at my “xmas wish list” of 3 items, that list seems at least half way addressed :

  • Sensors: Yes, in Mango the platform exposes more of the phone’s sensors.  Smile
  • Content Providers: Again it seems like Microsoft has heard and is exposing ways for applications to work with the contacts list etc.  At the same time they are also introducing “groups” for contacts which may in itself address many of the reasons I want/need to have the contacts list exposed. hopefully groups too will be exposed to programmatic access (with permissions). There still doesn’t appear to be any shared storage/data access on the phone.
  • Let me work with my PC : Sadly, I haven’t heard any news on this front; everything I have heard has been focused on a better “cloud” experience. It’s a pity as there are times when there is no internet access, and it would be handy to transfer files & contacts to the phone. Zune really needs to open up to include basic file management; and ideally outlook synchronisation. This is a MUST have given the lack of Zune music in Australia.

 

So that was my old list. Today some of the things I’d like to see Mango address are (in no particular order):

  1. Capacitive button settings:
    Way too often I find I accidentally hit the home, search or back buttons, especially when passing the phone to other people to show them something on the phone. It’s be nice if there was a settings page where you could modify the sensitivity of these buttons. Ideally I’d like to be able to set them to only work on double click/touch. It’s a little thing, but it would drastically change the way I feel about the phone’s physical form factor. It’d make it feel like the phone was truly mine, rather than the phone constantly dictating to me not to touch it there, and not to hold it that way Winking smile

  2. iCal and/or vCal support:
    A month or two ago I got an email from some of the crew at Microsoft to attend a Live Meeting about Windows Phone.  “Cool !!” I thought. The problem was I read that email on my phone, and couldn’t save the attached calendar appointment !  Oh the irony !!!!
    Must be able to send and receive calendar appointments via email.

  3. vCard support:
    There needs to be a way to simply share contact details with people. VCard support in email and especially SMS is a must have.

  4. Better document handling:
    The ability to:
    + simply save a document from an email,
    + transfer files directly to/from a PC
    + programmatically generate and save documents (e.g. invoices/quotes etc.) in shared locations. Ditto for data access.

  5. Zune music:
    If Microsoft wants people in Australia to take it seriously about its commitment to Windows Phone it needs to invest in actually having Zune Music available here (ditto for other countries). ITunes has no problem with providing music in Australia. Microsoft: either make Zune Music in Australia happen or open the phone up to 3rd party music sites and file organisation (iTunes on the Windows Phone !!) or both. It’s really crappy to lock the phone down and then not provide the service. Even worse when you open Zune and it constantly reminds you there is no service here.


Despite the list of “wants” or “shortcomings”, Windows Phone really is a nice device. The UI is generally enjoyable (as long as you don’t accidentally hit those capacitive buttons <g>).  Mango looks even better.

Looking forward to hearing more details. Spaces to watch:

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