XDA Exclusive: Hands on With Windows Phone 7

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As the launch date for Windows Phone 7 approaches, many of us are getting excited about the new OS Microsoft is bringing to the table. For this  story, we were able to get our hands on a Windows Phone 7 Test Device, thanks to our source. We will cover many topics such as Features, Speeds, and what to expect from Microsoft’s New Mobile OS.

Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 Platform brings faster speeds to your phone due to the better hardware availability and the new requirements in app development. First of all, Microsoft now has a speed requirement, apps must open within five seconds of the launching of the app, and it must be user interactive by 20 seconds. This speed requirement promises better app development down the road. As for the version of the OS, what we are running on the device is not the final build. Although not the RTM build (pardon my language but) it is “fast as hell”. Compared to other phones we have used, we have not experienced such responsiveness and quick load times for all components. The UI is very snappy and every move you make on the phone’s screen is very fluid. We have only seen examples of this type of responsiveness on some very high-end Android Devices. After running multiple apps (browser, Zune, Excel, Word), the phone is still very responsive and moving between the apps is a breeze.

If you are familiar with Android, when you switch between apps that are multitasked, the speed it takes to switch is about the same speed as opening a new app. They act as if they have already been running for a while. As for specs

and performance, our test device is running with a Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor and what looks to be 256MB of RAM. Now, since this is a test device and will not be released, specifications may change.

What we like:

  • UI Experience
  • Speed
  • Visually Appealing
  • Built in Office Suite
  • Browsing Experience
  • Simplicity
  • Media rich apps

What we are unsure of:

  • Developer Presence
  • Lack of features in certain aspects
  • Lack of settings for certain apps
  • Openness to apps with different UI layout

Many people have been against the new Windows Phone OS since they think apps will not be developed and that the entertainment factor on the device is minimal. After spending some time with the device (although no 3rd party apps were tested), and especially the Zune part of it, we can see development and entertainment down the road with this OS to be very cool. Although it has a great chance of being a “playful” phone, the device will be primarily marketed to business users. The device features a suite of business oriented apps designed with the business person in mind. Apps such as the Calendar and the Office suite have been redesigned and look clean and sharp on the device as shown in the picture.

As for things like the mobile browsing experience, we were very pleased with the layout and unobtrusive buttons to perform different tasks within the browser. As of this build, there is no flash support built into the browser although that could be prone to change. The video playback is also quite well done. We saw little frames dropped in the playback and it was pretty high quality. We hope the developers can take advantage of this media enhancement. Windows Mobile in the past has been stricken with this lack of visual eye candy and we think with this new installment, people will be pleased with the UI overall.

We will see in the coming weeks what this platform means for us developers. We hope this OS will be a great addition to the mobile world and will lead to great advancements in Microsoft’s mobile presence

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