All the usual suspects have gotten their Windows Phone 7 Technical Preview devices and the first looks are hitting the net today. We are at least around three months from release of a consumer device running WP7 but certainly the reviewers are getting solid impressions from these preview devices, and thus far they tend to run a wide gamut from outright hatred to cautious optimism.
Of course the hatred bar was set by Galen Gruman in Infoworld last week, but he was so extreme and rabid about the fact that this timorous WP7 beastie was the end of Western Civilization, I just assume his mother was frightened by a PocketPC when he was a baby and ignored him. However, his article did solidify my view that it is time to stop using any analogy that includes “lipstick” and “pig”…really, it’s enough now.
Lets take a look at what we can learn from three more mainstream views of the new OS after the jump.
- It feels unfinished (well, yeah, three months to go, and then it will only be the first release. However, that first release needs to be VERY tight)
- It is unlike anything else out there, yet still feels like all elements were redesigned intelligently even if you don’t agree with the change. There is none of the “Lets make the titles red since they were blue last time” change for its own sake thing.
- The Hub concept of grouping applications and shortcuts based on task is different and something you will either love or hate, but makes the phone seem a little too minimalistic right now.
- It still feels very “Microsofty” (ummm…sure)
- The Zune interface and the Marketplace rock
- Many features like email and Office integration are nice, but still lacking key features.
- Where’s Twitter?
- If the final version still lacks multitasking and cut and paste, that fact is going to be hammered on again and again in every review and it will be the main talking point of the release. Every Apple fanboi who spent the last two years telling us cut and paste was useless will be saying it is now absolutely essential. Honestly, I don’t know what MS was thinking when they pulled them from the software.
- It will be a Quixotic battle for it not to become this years webOS (nice, but overshadowed by iOS 4 and Android) and likely the Windmills will win, but at least Microsoft is trying this time.
Likely the most comprehensive preview (if also the most positive due in part to the fact that Matthew Miller is a Neo Maxi Zune Dweebie like myself) is at ZDNet. Like it or loathe it once you read it you will really feel like you have spent some time using the new Windows Phone 7.
As for me, I do feel there is a niche to be exploited between iPhone’s walled garden and Android’s open sandlot. Palm tried to play there and failed…but if anyone has the marketing and channel muscle to make this work it is Microsoft. However, their recent gut checks have all left a lot to be desired. They killed the Kin, backed away from the Courier, damned Zune HD with faint praise and no extended marketing support….of course one could say they did those things due to Ballmer’s devotion to turning their Mobile business around.
Let’s hope so, since competition is always good…without Microsoft to measure themselves again and kick around, neither iOS 4 and Android would be what they are today.
Here are a couple excellent preview videos from Miller, for your viewing pleasure. Drool or spit, as you will.