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First Review of Windows Phone 7

by Suzanne Kantra on October 15, 2010

Microsoft set out to redefine the smartphone on Tuesday with the introduction of Windows Phone 7—and succeeded to a large degree. The phones were attractive and diverse, the Windows Phone 7 operating system handled all the smartphone basics well, and in some cases admirably. The apps were largely missing, though Microsoft assures us that there will be plenty at launch, though not the quantity of Apple’s iOS 4, Android or even Blackberry.

So leaving aside the questions regarding apps, what makes Windows Phone 7 different from its competition? It starts, appropriately enough, on the Start screen where the customizable app tiles contain usable information rather than just a pretty icon. And deeper in, it works to bubble up useful information and functions that cross app lines.

Windows Phone 7 anticipates your next move and provides an easy means of getting there. For instance, in the calendar you can move from an appointment to a map of the meeting location to driving directions without actively changing apps. When you look up a contact, you can see their latest status updates and even comment right there and have it post back to Facebook. And the camera is always one button push away—even when the phone is locked and in standby. After taking those spontaneous shots, you can share them right from the preview screen or set the phone to post all your photos to an online account automatically.

To learn more about what Windows Phone 7 (WP7) has to offer, check out our guided tours through each of the main features.

Start Screen

The Start screen isn't just a sea of static icons, it bubbles up useful information and serves as a reminder of what makes Windows Phone 7 different. Liz Sloan of Microsoft tells us more about the guiding principles behind the new operating system and show that manifests in the new phones.

The People "Hub" 

One Windows Phone 7 devices your contacts are found under “People.” Each listing integrates information from all of the accounts you set up on the phone, including Windows Live, Outlook, Yahoo! Mail, Google and other POP and IMAP accounts. Liz Sloan of Microsoft dives a little deeper here.


The calendar function in Windows Phone 7 works beautifully—especially if you keep your work and family calendars separate. Here's more with Liz Sloan of Microsoft.

OneNote: a Mobile Office App

Not surprisingly Windows Phone 7 also excels when it comes to support for viewing and editing Office documents, including Word, Excel, One Note and PowerPoint. Guy Gilbert of Microsoft steps us through how to use OneNote to create a dynamic shopping list.

The Music and Video "Hub"

Microsoft leverages its years of creating quality music and video players–Zune players–to deliver a feature-rich music and video experience. Brian Seitz of Microsoft takes us through more of the details.

The Games "Hub"

The XBox Live tile connects you to your Xbox Live avatar and friends, but also serves as a single destination for all games. Emily Blair of Microsoft fills us in on more of what you can expect.

The Pictures and Camera "Hub"

Under Pictures, you’ll find shots you’ve taken or synced with the device, as well as any pictures friends and family have posted on Facebook or Windows Live. Liz Sloan shows us more of what you'll find in this hub.


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