There hasn't been widespread excitement over a Microsoft-made phone in a long, long while, but the company aims to change that with Windows Phone 7. Its been sending out preview builds (read: WP7 isn't final yet, so it's all subject to change) and so far, the reception has been pretty good.
Honestly, I check my email on my phone more often than I call. A smart way to go about it? Crucial. "The email app on the phone is pretty terrific on the whole, providing a clean, clear layout… the unread view [is] especially helpful when triaging our inbox… multiple message management is executed here better than most mobile email apps we've used, requiring only that you tap to the far left of a message to engage your checkboxes. It definitely sped up the process of killing or moving mail. (Engadget)
Microsoft has a ton of services, but it rarely finds a way to bring them together into one cohesive package. Not anymore. "It manages to do something that's sadly rare for Microsoft, which is to leverage all of these different Microsoft products and services--Bing, Xbox Live, Zune to name a few--and seamlessly bring them together in a single, polished product." (Gizmodo)
"Microsoft built the entire user experience (it calls it 'smart design') around its notion of hubs — those common actions Microsoft believes users experience on their phones. There are six hubs: people, pictures, music and video, games, marketplace and office." (InformationWeek) Through these hubs you'll navigate your Windows Phone 7. While it doesn't sound as direct as a list of apps, maybe it'll make things feel less cluttered.
When you think of minimal gadgetry, Apple usually comes to mind first. Microsoft may not do it better — we'll have to wait and see — but it at least sounds like the company is doing it well. "There is no attempt to depict three dimensionality or any kind of real-world mimesis. No gradients, shadows, gloss or shading. Everything is crisp and flat. Everything pops… It feels gloriously modern." (Gizmodo)
"The thing is, sometimes when using Windows Phone, things are so minimalistic, that it actually feels a bit too lonely and open. Don't get us wrong, it's nice to feel like you're not constrained to a certain window or foreground app, but at the same time, we can't help but feel that there could have been so much more done." (Boy Genius Report)
Sometimes a new piece of technology how to teach you how to use it. The best example of this is probably the first time Apple put the clickwheel on the iPod. "The price of Windows Phone 7's modernity, its difference, is something of a learning curve--or at least, that impression was more solidified after I handed the phone to a half dozen or so people over the weekend. All of them were lost… Then I explained things." (Gizmodo)
Can you imagine if a phone or something like the iPad finally offered some real options for productivity? Office and Windows Phone 7 seem like a match made in heaven, but apparently not. "Tight Office integration, complete with an awesome on-phone document and viewing experience, stands to be one of the biggest differentiators for Windows Phone 7… Instead, we came away feeling that Microsoft may have spent too much effort focusing on the collaborative side of Office and not enough time on the actual document editors themselves." (Engadget)
I know, I know. I said you only had to worry about three things, yet here's a fourth. We're tacking this on here as a plea from us. Windows Phone 7? Really? It's painful enough to type, and more so to market, I imagine. C'mon, Microsoft! You don't have to get all crazy and "Zune" this one, but how about something that sounds less like a stocking code?
Image credit: Gizmodo