In July, I finally gave in and won a bid on eBay. I rarely win bids on eBay, apart from the ‘buy it now’ variety, but that just equates to online shopping. I had been bidding on Windows Phone 7 devices, not thinking my bid would actually be considered good enough to actually win the goods. Of course I won the goods and had to pay up. I became the proud owner of an HTC HD7, two batteries, a desktop dock, car cradle, a carry case and a clean install of Windows Phone 7 (build 7392).
Moving to Windows Phone 7 has been an excellent move. I feel more organised, at least when I’m on the move (I can’t say that my primary e-mail inbox is anything to gauge that statement on!) The device integrates itself with Facebook. Some folks say that’s a bad thing, it certainly hasn’t proven to be a problem for me. Being able to “link” contact records between the Facebook and any number of e-mail accounts is a real boon. Couple that with the de-duplication feature in Windows Live, no longer do I have to see multiple contact records for the same person.
Windows Phone 7 also lends itself to getting your contacts sorted out, once and for all. I had contacts in Outlook (both at home and at work) and on a Nokia handset. After “some” effort, I was able to get all of my contacts into my Windows Live account. Most of the hassle that I had during this process was down to the Nokia PC Suite software – a product I will never need to see again, ever. After a little bit of tweaking, I was able to get my personal Outlook calendar and contacts synchronising with the phone. Importantly, I was also able to get my corporate Outlook calendar synchronising too.
Prior to the HTC HD7, for corporate use, I had been using a couple of Nokia devices, a 6021 and a 7230. Both were “candy bar” style devices, one was a traditional black’n’white device, the other had a colour screen with a slide out numeric keypad. For personal use, I was using a Palm Treo running Windows Mobile 6.1. Now that I am running the HTC device as my personal phone, the Nokia devices have been retired…the corporate SIM card is in the Palm Treo. The Palm Treo is used as a phone and for managing my corporate inbox, although I do use the HTC device for this purpose too.
I am very impressed with the operating system and the device itself; here are my seven favourite Windows Phone 7 features, so far:
- I never need to see a duplicate contact card again
- The Metro styled user interface is very clean
- Live Tiles – active content, such as “number of unread e-mail items” or “number of unread text messages”
- Next appointment, date, time, unread e-mails, voicemails and missed calls “on top of the curtain” (when the phone is turned on, the curtain is down – the screenshot on the right demonstrates the curtain)
- There is a camera button on the phone. This is great for getting the camera application running without having to power on then tap on a couple of icons to get to the camera.
- It’s fast. Very fast. What with all the animations that are going on, you might expect some drag. I find the whole phone experience very snappy.
- Its simplicity and its wealth of configuration options. Each of the tiles that you see in the screenshot above (the curtain is up) can be turned on or off. Applications and ‘people’ can be pinned to the home screen as a tile. Pinning family members to the home screen is particularly useful, two taps and I can be sending a text or returning my wife’s calls.
So I am a convert, I’ve joined the smartphone fraternity. I am pleased that I resisted the temptation to jump on the “i” or the “‘droid” or the “‘berry” bandwagon. If you’re in the market for a new device, I would urge you to go to your local store, push past the array of “other smartphones” and hunt out a Windows Phone 7 device. I’m so enthused by the device that I’ve signed up for the developer programme – I’ll be taking my .net development experience from the desktop and the web over to Windows Phone, apps coming soon!
All of this Windows Phone 7 “goodness”, gets even better with the Mango update that should be shipping during “the fall” of 2011.