Home' LAPTOP Magazine : December 2010 Contents Microsoft
Much improved browser and overall performance
Camera button wakes up phones
Xbox Live games and Zune integration
Good (but limited) selection of launch apps
Office Mobile lets you view and edit documents,
syncs with cloud
Third-party apps can't run in background
Web address bar, Maps app don't support
No copy and paste (yet)
Lacks universal search and threaded messaging
e-mails at once, just tap to the left of a message
and checkboxes will appear. You can also flag
e-mails and easily swipe between All, Flagged,
Unread, and Urgent messages.
Microsoft bundles the full Office suite, including
Excel Mobile, PowerPoint Mobile, and Word Mobile.
Businesses that use SharePoint will appreciate
SharePoint Workspace Mobile for accessing
your device with the cloud.
Windows Phone 7 lets you do a lot from the
web using a central hub. At windowsphone.live.
com, you can find your phone on a map, call it,
lock it, or erase it. This site also displays synced
OneNote notes and Windows Liv
you have them), and you can
add events so that they appear
on your phone's calendar.
and voice recognition.
When you fire up Bing on your
WP 7 phone, you'll see the
name of the city that you're in.
This mobile-optimized engine is
pretty smart. For example, if you
type in "pizza," Bing will assume
that you're looking for local result
those first on a map. From there yo
the right to see News and general web results. If
you search for weather, Bing will return a five-day
forecast almost immediately.
Windows Phone 7 makes searching via voice
relatively simple: Just press and hold the Windows
key. Voice recognition can also be used for open-
ing apps and calling contacts. However, this OS
doesn't go as far as Google's Voice Actions, which
lets you dictate text messages, listen to specific
artists, and get directions.
and a pretty
At a time when
Android is playing
catch-up with iOS in
the games depart-
already has an ace
up its sleeve with
Xbox Live. Within
the Games Hub you
can download quality titles such as Rocket Riot, Star
Wars: Battle for Hoth, and The Sims 3, with more
top-shelf games on the way. For now, gameplay is
turn-based and not real-time multiplayer.
Elegant media player + Zune Pass
for all-you-can-eat tunes.
From the start, Windows Phone 7 is a better platform
than Android phones for music lovers. The player
looks more polished, and you can easily sync music
using the Zune desktop software. If you sign up
for a Zune Pass (for $15 per month on top of your
data plan), you can download all the music you
want and keep ten songs per month. The Music
and Videos hub also integrates FM radio, podcasts,
and TV shows and movie downloads.
Surprisingly good app selection.
At the time of this review, Microsoft expected to
have more than 1,000 apps available at launch.
That pales in com-
so for iOS. Still, we re
pleasantly surprised by some of the top-shelf apps
already appearing in the Marketplace, including
eBay, Foursquare, OpenTable, Seesmic, Slacker, and
a preview version of Twitter. Most of these apps look
better than their Android counterparts, and we like
that you can add apps to your phone bill instead of
having to set up a separate account.
Given that every other smart phone platform touts
multitasking as a hallmark feature, it's surprising
that Windows Phone 7 doesn't let third-party apps
run while you perform other tasks. It was jarring to
hear Slacker playback stop when we tried to open
the browser. Yes, Microsoft's own apps work in the
background, but these days that's not enough.
(We expect an update to address this issue, but
Microsoft couldn't comment on timing.)
Limited support for landscape.
We were pretty shocked when we opened the
maps application and the orientation didn't change
when we switched our phone from portrait to
landscape mode. E-mail does landscape, along
with the calendar and the web, but hubs and other
apps are stuck in portrait mode. That includes
the main menu. Additionally, the IE Mobile ad-
dress bar doesn't appear in landscape mode---a
major oversight considering that surfing the web
in landscape mode allows you to see more of the
page without zooming in.
Copy and paste coming later.
Microsoft has already shown us how this very basic
functionality will work when it arrives early next
year, but that's a long time to wait for a feature that
every other mobile OS offers. In the meantime, you
can take solace in the fact that Windows Phone
7 at least hyperlinks addresses, phone numbers,
and e-mail addresses.
If we had to give Windows Phone 7 a
grade right now, it would have to be a
solid B. The OS looks wonderful; its highly
customizable Home Screen saves you time;
and it's got plenty of speed. We also have
high hopes for gaming on this platform
as more titles roll out, and suspect that
a lot of people who have never heard of
Zune will enjoy using Windows Phone 7
devices as media players.
On the other hand, looking at many of
the things missing from Windows Phone
urrent state, one could argue that this OS
an Incomplete grade. Glaring omissions
such as multitasking for third-party apps, cut-and-
paste, and limited landscape mode are all signs
that this product was rushed to market in time for
the critical holiday shopping season. You also don't
get mobile hotspot functionality.
We think Windows Phone 7 could have
benefited from more time in the oven, but on
many levels it succeeds already. Those new to
smart phones will be dazzled by everything this
platform packages. Early adopters and current
smart phone owners, however, may want to hold
off until expected improvements make this OS a
more formidable competitor to Android and iOS.
LAPTOP | December 2010
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