Window Phone 7: How Cool is it?

Window Phone 7 devices are here now, but this isn’t the first time I’ve seen and touched a Windows Phone 7 device. I’ve been to a few demos, and press events where one was on display. From the brief moments I had with the OS, it looked interesting, but it was hard to really tell from those brief encounters if Windows Phone 7 was really cool. Well finally I got my hands on a Window Phone 7 device, the HTC Surround (which will have a separate post about the phone itself as well). This time I had to device all to myself, I set it up, plugged in my data, and had a go of it.

First Impressions
The first thing I will say about the OS, is that the apps look nice on it. Foursquare, Facebook, Seesmic, and Netflix to name a few just looked elegant on the device. There is elegance in its simplicity and I think people (well certain types) will dig that.

With that being said, apps open up way too slow for my taste. When launching say Foursquare, which should be a quick app to open and check in, it took too long to get to where I needed it. Each time I opened Foursquare, I had to be first greeted with a splash screen, then I had to wait a little for it to go to the next screen and load. Things got worse is I swiped to the left/right by mistake. I couldn’t quickly swipe back, as I had to wait for that page to load before I could move. This was very annoying and slowed the experience down. This wasn’t something unique to just the Foursquare app. I noticed this in many of the apps I use. You can’t quick scroll across. If you don’t swipe fast enough, you have to wait.

Now while this might be fine for someone who isn’t in a rush, or likes to take their time, this cause me much frustration waiting. I need my information as quick as possible. I find this to be quite funny as the recently Windows Phone 7 commercial pride themselves as being a phone to use so you can get back to doing what you need to. But with the slow way these apps launched, it would take me longer than say my Blackberry.

Organization
So Window Phone 7 pride is in it’s titles. I will admit, I quite like the titles approach to information. I like having a title for my fiance that changes her picture as you changes her Facebook picture. I like that it also shows me her latest status. This is very cool. The same with the people title, I like being able to go in and seeing the recent statuses without launching the Facebook app.

However what I don’t like is the endless scrolling. You see with the iPhone you have many pages over time as you download apps, so you are left scrolling left/right for your apps. With Windows Phone 7, the only change there is the endless scrolling Up/Down to find your app (or title depending on where you put it). I like folders, so I don’t have to scroll any direction too long to find what I need. And seeing how there is no universal search like Blackberry OS 6, iPhone, or Android that is a problem.

Apps
As I mentioned earlier, apps are just elegant on Window Phone 7. I especially like the Facebook, Foursquare, Netflix, and Seemic apps. Each app though very simple in their look, still has this great feel to it. Simple is definitely better in this case. Though apps do seem to move slow, this may have just been my experience on the HTC Surround. I seen some apps load up on the Samsung Focus and it does look like apps loaded up and responded faster on this device.

Overall
Windows Phone 7 is a refreshing new take on a Windows Mobile device. This is a real departure from Windows Mobile 5 or 6, which I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole lol. Windows Phone 7 is a refreshing addition to the smartphone collection. Now it won’t be for everyone, but you should definitely take a good look at this OS!