Microsoft unveiled its newest operating system, Windows Phone 7, on Monday. Phones with the OS will be available in stores starting Nov. 8 from AT&T and later in November through T-Mobile. The OS will be supported by four handset makers in the US, including HTC, LG, Samsung, and Dell.
WP7 phones are widely anticipated because Microsoft Office is a standard business tool with a high adoption rate, and Microsoft Windows plays a pivotal role on desktop and laptop computers. Similarly mobile operating systems provide the platform by which users are able to run applications on their smartphones.
Despite Microsoft’s huge market share on the computer realm, the company has struggled to gain a foothold in the mobile arena. Its last two attempt at updating its smartphone OS, Windows Mobile 6.1 and 6.5, were a flop; mistakes that allowed the iPhone and devices using Google’s Android operating systems to take a sizeable lead ahead of Microsoft Mobile.
While overtaking iPhone and Android’s lead’s may be an unrealistic goal in the near future, many reviewers of WP7, like JKontherun.com, believe that Windows Phone 7 will give Research in Motion’s BlackBerry phones a run for their money among customers hoping for more business application. WP7’s strong integration and syncing capabilities with Microsoft Office 2010 is something that BlackBerry has only in a limited capacity.
If you’re in the market for a new smartphone, here are a few of the WP7’s pros and cons based on tech reviews across the internet.
• The scaled-back, tile-based interface organized around six hubs will make it easy for users to find what they need with one glance, according to Endgadget. Each hub is organized around People (contacts, including Facebook integration), Music and Video (movies, TV shows, Zune), Pictures & Camera, Games (featuring Xbox LIVE), Office, and its Zune Marketplace (or app store).
• It provides the only mobile version of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. Plus the addition of One Note Mobile allows you to compile grocery lists, memos, voice clips, and pictures that will sync wirelessly to the web. Plus, the WP7 OS has the Bing search engine and Internet Explorer built in for web browsing and integrates with XBox Live to extend gaming beyond the console or computer.
• You can store data in the cloud. Microsoft’s SharePoint Workspace Mobile makes it easy to collaborate with coworkers when you’re out of the office. With SharePoint you can open, edit, and save Microsoft Office documents that are on a SharePoint 2010 site (a website that lets you and others share and collaborate on documents, projects, schedules, and ideas).
• The phones will come preloaded with AT&T’s U-verse, which will enable AT&T customers to wirelessly stream music, video and pictures from the WP7 phone to TV’s Stereos and Windows 7 PCs.
• It lacks support for HTML5. Without HTML the users will need to download third party browser plug-ins such as Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight to open pdf’s or watch videos.
• It also doesn’t let users Multi-task, a function that will, for example allow a user to listen to music while simultaneously downloading music.
• The Zune Marketplace has s everal hundred apps, possibly 350, according to gizmodo.com. But compared to the tens of thousands on iPhone and Android, 350 is small potatoes.
• Applications written for Windows Mobile 6.5 will not run on WP7. Nor is it possible to update older phones from WP6.5 to WP7.
Note: Twitter rumors from @MS_Nerd, someone who leaks information from Microsoft, suggest that some of these functions will be added in an update sometime in January 2011.