Firstly, I agree that the UI looks absolutely beautiful for properly bringing together Social Media info, Games, Music, and Photos. Even Jesus Diaz, one of the big pro-iPhone fans on Gizmodo is saying that “Microsoft Has Out-Appled Apple” and I agree 100%.
They do a really good job of pulling in info from multiple disparate sources and putting them together nicely on their “hubs” this very idea is basically what many people think the future of computing will entail; instead of separate apps for each outlet it can all come together in one place.
And it looks so advanced compared to iPhone with good reason. iPhone is still the basic app menu homescreen it has been for the last 3 years; Windows Mobile has always been derided because it seems sold compared to iPhone. Now Microsoft has leap fogged Apple and makes iPhone look like it is, an interface design that is nearly a third of a decade old.
And here is my first problem with Windows Phone 7 (WP7), I didn’t like how restrictive iPhone was. When it’s apps came out it got better but it’s still what Apple wants you to do and nothing else. WP7 is starting to look like the exact same thing. Microsoft’s integration of Social Media, Games, and Photos is damn near perfect; however I shun social media, never use my phone for games (I don’t even have an xbox 360 and no live account), and I think photos taken from phones are a waste where a real camera should have been used.
The only thing in Microsoft’s hubs I’d really use is Zune. And when I tried Zune out on my computer I hated it; it’s the last thing I want to be FORCED to sync music through. It’s as bad as iTunes but with a different look.
And a lot of the nasty rumors that I think are no-gos for a phone for me are now official are pretty much a given.
No custom skinning by third party manufacturers (HTC Sense, Toshiba 3D, TAT Home).
Apps only come through Windows Marketplace.
No Backward Compatibility for old programs.
Possibly no stylus support.
Possibly no keyboard.
Possibly no COPY AND PASTE!
Yes, TechCrunch hinted at limited to no C&P. Although that’s not certain at all.
My gripes with the phone are the same as my iPhone gripes. For all the slick, pretty, shock and awe interface stuff at the end of the day I want functionality. Unfortunately all the WP7 functionality seems to be focused on helping you waste time on social media, or waste time playing games, or waste time staring at pictures (I’m single with no kids, I understand this sentiment changes with children).
I came from PDAs, for me my phone is a computer in my pocket, a resource I can look up important data, keep my life in order with PIM applications, track when I’ve spent too much time on a subject and need to move on, translate info or languages I don’t know, remotely connect to server resources I don’t have direct access to, etc. Just about every use I’m going to have for my smartphone are things that don’t exist on the WP7 phone as it stands. They’re going to need to create a lot of apps to be able to keep up with the functionality of my Windows Mobile 6.5 phone.
So ironically it looks like I may be transitioning to Android in the near future to have a phone that is diverse as the Windows Phone I have now. However it’s too early to tell on anything, so many amazing things are happening in the handheld device space this year that all we can do is wait.
The only current phone up for play is the Nexus One that looks like a killer Android device. The HTC HD2 isn’t released yet but may be the pinnacle of what Windows Mobile reached before moving to WP7. Dell is creating a smartphone-tablet transitional with the Mini 5 that looks incredibly tempting if I can justify carrying around something that big. Windows Phone 7 Series deivces will be dropping by fall. And by time all players are onstage Apple with have the iPhone 4G shipping.
The future looks bright but difficult if you’re shopping for a new toy but undecided like me.