Windows 7 Phone OS.... is it that good...?

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by Gaucho, Jan 15, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Gaucho
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    Gaucho Gold Member

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    I just stumbled on an articile from the Wall Street Journal Americas that covers the apparent very high and unusual praise that the latest phone OS from MicroSoft seems to have gotten among the critics....

    Is this true... and more importantly, what do the resident tech experts say about this OS...??
     
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  2. yaychemistry

    yaychemistry Silver Member

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    I'm not sure I qualify as a tech expert, but I do have a Windows Phone 7 device. I can, with all honesty, say its a great device. The Metro User Interface is very attractive and convenient. The live-tile features are my favorite, where Apps can update their icon/tile (e.g. to show the weather, or stock quotes, etc..) on the home screen without having to actually open the app.

    The only drawback is that it hasn't quite caught on with the major app developers, so it's still missing a few of the key apps out there (no Words with friends :( ). On the other hand, speaking as a programmer, it is very easy to develop apps on the WP7 platform (MS makes some pretty awesome developer tools), so if/when WP7 catches on with consumers it shouldn't take all that long for the apps to follow.
     
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  3. legalalien
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    legalalien Gold Member

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    I've tried to get my wife to use various Android devices (we have T-Mobile, so no iPhone), and she hated every single one of them. She's on her first WP7 device (HTC Radar 4G), and likes it so far.

    As a dedicated Android user dating back to pre-G1 days, I find WP7 UI to be simpler to use for non-techies and quite snappy, even on a low-end device like Radar, whereas most low-end Android devices are barely usable. As yaychemistry mentioned above, app selection is poor compared to iPhone and Android. For example, during our recent skiing trip, Android and iPhone users in our group had a choice of great logging/tracking applications (both free and paid) that map your runs, track speed, vertical drop, etc., while my wife could only find one pretty basic (read: pathetic) app that did not work well and hasn't been updated in a while. You can get Angry Birds though. :)

    If you're considering a WP7 phone, don't get fooled by the number of apps in the store. Instead, go to Windows Phone Marketplace and look for the apps that you need. For travelers, Kayak and TripIt are there, while most airlines are not. Neither is Milepoint.

    With Nokia joining Windows Phone ecosystem, expect the situation to improve sooner rather than later. Their new Lumia 900 device introduced at CES last week is really good: slim, powerful, with a beautiful screen and a great camera. Both Nokia and Microsoft have a history of supporting developers well, so we should see more apps.

    Finally, Windows Phone is a closed system, a la iPhone. You will not find alternate app stores or community-developed replacement ROMs, and you won't be able to install any app by simply copying it over to the device. While this may not be important for most users, it is for me, and that's why I'm sticking with Android.
     
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  4. YULtide

    YULtide Gold Member

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    I recently upgraded from a dumb phone to a smart one. Really loving the Android experience. I would personally be a bit wary of Windows 7 Phone version if it has anything to do with the Tablet version.

    My Win 7 tablet is generally very nice when it works the way it's supposed to, but there are some occasional problems that make me smack my forehead. e.g. when it shuts down abnormally, once I reboot it wants me to use the arrow keys and press Enter. Hello??? It's a Tablet! It doesn't have arrow keys or an Enter key!
     
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  5. yaychemistry

    yaychemistry Silver Member

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    Just a point of clarification, Windows Phone 7 (WP7) is a separate operating system than Windows 7 (which is for desktops, and apparently tablets). However, it seems that Microsoft thinks that the WP7 platform so great that the next desktop/tablet platform (Windows 8) is supposedly going to be based on WP7, with the same Metro UI.
     
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  6. maradori
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    maradori Silver Member

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    My smartphone experience has been all Windows, starting with WM2003, WM6.1, and now WP7 (Samsung Focus). I haven't used an Android or iPhone, so I can't give any comments to compare with those.

    I like my WP7 though :D biggest downside is that it has relatively few apps (compared to android and iphone), and very few "high quality" apps (compared to iphone).

    But apps are on the way of the dinosaurs anyways (except for, maybe, games). HTML5 mobile apps is the future.
     
  7. BWIflyer
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    BWIflyer Silver Member

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  8. Philphactor
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    Philphactor Silver Member

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    I've owned a Windows Mobile device with the latest update, 7.5 (aka Metro) for a little over a month now. I find it to be very user friendly, quick and responsive, and and the live tiles are great. For the most place, Windows Phone Marketplace gave me the apps I needed, but I can't wait to see more brand-name apps added to the list.
     
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  9. YULtide

    YULtide Gold Member

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    Thanks for the clarification.
     
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  10. Gaucho
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    Gaucho Gold Member

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  11. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I would really like to see a user comparison between the iPhone 4s and the Lumia 900 as soon as one of us is using one. The various reviews so far seem to me to have the same ultra-enthusiastic tone that I would have; so strongly wanting both Microsoft and Nokia to finally get it right that a less-bad effort generates magnificent press.

    It reminds me of the Mercedes C-class and BMW 3-series beaters beater Cadillac Cimarron and Ford Fairmont. Both had some decent styling cues but...

    I really, really want Nokia to get it right. I am a fan of Nokia (and of Helsinki in general for that matter). I also have been a fan of Microsoft and their home, although MS has been very hard to like for a decade or so.

    Please somebody who already has a iPhone 4S, go get one of the Lumia 900's as soon as you can and put it though it's paces. here's hoping it really is good.
     
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  12. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    Uh, not exactly.

    More like there will be a unified kernel with ARM (that's the CPU chip that's in phones) and x86/Intel (CPU in computers) flavors. Much like how Apple has iOS (iPhone, iPad) and MacOS X (Mac) based on the same kernel.

    But they aren't going to be using WP7s kernel for Intel desktops, because it would pretty much destroy everyone's drivers for Windows computers, as well as any backwards compatibility (it would break legacy applications very, very badly).

    What they ARE doing is using WP7s Metro UI/application programming layer as sort of an add-on to Windows 8 Intel- it will still have all the old-school Windows you expect (for backwards compatibility), but it will have a Metro UI layer (and apps designed for it specially) as well. Phones (and maybe tablets) using ARM and Windows 8 won't have the old-fashioned Windows layer, but will still look like WP7.

    My feeling is that what you will see happen is apps will gravitate to the Metro style that are useful on tablets, and desktops will retain "power" apps that don't necessarily work well for this. Essentially, we're moving towards a world where the computers we are using everyday look more like tablets and smartphones, and desktops and windowing operating systems (WiMP) become a niche tool, kind of like a pickup truck; useful for a lot of people, but not for everyone.

    (I used to work in Windows Mobile.)
     
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  13. yaychemistry

    yaychemistry Silver Member

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    Thanks for the useful info!
    Though, I take this to also mean that a developer could write a single Silverlight/XNA based App that can be run on both WP7 and Windows 8 (assuming adjustments for screen resolution, and perhaps input devices)?

    If I've got that right, then in the future being able to develop in the Silverlight/XNA environment would be a valuable tool for both Windows desktop and mobile programming. With the point being that there will be a lot more programmers fluent in WP7 development, and hopefully more apps.
     
  14. Gaucho
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    Gaucho Gold Member

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    Wow.... great thread with great info.... keep it coming !!!
     
  15. okrogius

    okrogius Silver Member

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    Don't confuse interface paradigm with operating system. Windows 8 does indeed sport metro, but the operating system is not based on the WP7 OS. Win8 is a logical evolution of NT. WP7 is based on Windows CE.
     
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  16. okrogius

    okrogius Silver Member

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    There is no relationship there at all. (other than sharing Windows name) Personally, Win7 tablets aren't really tablets but just an attempt to put Win7 in a different form factor. Win8 should actually be more usable as it was partially designed with that use in mind.
     
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  17. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    Yeah, I think that is the wave of the future. That being said, I think WP7 and Win8 will have some differences (it always works that way).
     
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  18. Pat+
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    Pat+ Silver Member

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    For those who are curious here's some info on the next version of Windows Phone, and how it will indeed be built on NT (ie. the "desktop" version of Windows, or technically the kernel plus a range of components and drivers) instead of CE.

    http://www.winsupersite.com/article/windows8/windows-phone-8-preview-142154

    To get back to the original question, Windows Phone 7 is an appealing, solid OS, with a rich and growing application library. It's probably better than the iPhone in many ways, though few people seem to know. WP7 has nothing to do with its predecessors in terms of UI, stability, and reliability. It's pretty slick and super well integrated with the cloud (Facebook, SkyDrive, XBox live, Bing, etc.)

    I own a Windows tablet running Windows 7 and I have to admit that I use it in laptop mode 99.99% of the time, however I love my Windows phone.
     
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