Recapitulation

Microsoft MIX 2010 has drawn to a close, and with it comes our concluding wrap-up of everything that there is to discuss about Windows Phone 7 Series (henceforth WP7S).

Let's start at the beginning - WP7S does away completely with everything Windows Mobile. That means Windows Mobile applications won't run on WP7S, hardware running Windows Mobile won't run WP7S (including HTC's HD2), and Windows Mobile is no longer being actively developed. Existing hardware will get support for corporate clients, and the developer tools will remain, but they won't be actively developed. Consider Windows Mobile officially banished from the Microsoft kingdom, and you get the perspective. To give you an example of just how banished Windows Mobile is, there was virtually no discussion of porting applications from Windows Mobile to WP7S - this is a completely different platform. Microsoft wants developers to forget about Windows Mobile and immediately start thinking WP7S. The sense of urgency is because Windows Phone 7 Series will ship before the end of the year ("Holiday 2010").

Microsoft has tossed out the Windows CE-derived, aging UI of Windows Mobile. In its place, it has created a typographically-driven "user experience" that takes taken nods from Windows Media Center, the Xbox Dashboard, Zune HD interface, and urban signage. It calls this style "metro."


Metro - "It's about content and typography"

Instead of standalone application icons, WP7S uses "tiles." In practice, these are almost the same thing, except developers can both change the icon and dominant text to notify the user at-a-glance of status changes or updates. Tiles are supposed to be animated and dynamic. Tiles then launch into sessions and pages. The user interface bleeds off the sides - Microsoft wants people to navigate right to left across a page, teasing the user with elements from neighboring sections. Tiles are rearranged on start page much the same way they are on iPhone OS - pressing and holding levitates a tile, from which point you can either delete the tile (by clicking a broken heart) or drag and rearrange.


Tiles have feelings too...

Optionally, you can launch applications from a comprehensive list view as well.

The UI can be loosely customized, but right now it boils down to four different "accent" colors - which are the tile and UI highlighting colors - and "light" or "dark" for an either black text on white, or white text on black experience. Part of this customization is to leverage the battery-saving properties of AMOLED screens which consume far less power with white text on a black background.

Next are what Microsoft is calling "hubs." These are usually double-wide tiles, and serve as sort of an application for organizing your applications. For example, instead of having a lot of standalone applications which edit or modify photos spread throughout the launcher, you can optionally also launch them through the photo hub right alongside where you view pictures. Another example would be the way apps like Last.fm can themselves be launched from within the music + video hub, right alongside your Zune collection and play history. So far, there are hubs for people, pictures, office, music + video (Zune), marketplace, and games.


Note "apps" to the right. Microsoft is hip.

What each of the hubs do is pretty self explanatory. People is where you'll find all your exchange and local contacts, Pictures is for albums and slideshows, Office includes Excel, Word, and OneNote documents, and Music + Video bundles Zune music and videos alongside other media on WP7S. Marketplace is WP7S' take on an application store, and Games has tight integration with Microsoft's cloud services, including Xbox LIVE. More on that later.

Platform Architecture, Multitasking, and User Experience
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  • glynor - Monday, March 22, 2010 - link

    I don't know... I'm no Apple fanboy but I've never understood why people get all excited about the supposedly superior Nexus One hardware:

    1. Crappy 6-bit dithered screen with horrible super-saturated color reproduction.
    2. Multitouch broken in hardware.
    3. 512MB of onboard Flash memory all that's available for applications.

    Yes, it does have a really nice main processor, but that's really about all it has going for it hardware wise. The rest is at best equal to the much-earlier iPhone 3GS, and at worst isn't even up to that level.

    Don't get me wrong... I love the open nature of the platform. But I really don't like MANY of the choices that both HTC and Motorola made in these current iterations.
    Reply
  • n0nsense - Sunday, March 21, 2010 - link

    LOL :)
    iPhone is a gadget. It has tons of apps, but has to be tweaked to be a powerful tool.
    As for crap hardware, Nexus is one step ahead of iPhone, while many others on pair. Of course there are tons of cheaper (crappier)devices, but they are good for market share. More devices, more developers.
    Don't get me wrong, I prefer plain Linux on my mobile (something like MeeGo), but if i had to choose, iPhone and Winmo sharing the last place.
    Reply
  • bupkus - Sunday, March 21, 2010 - link

    I'm sitting here with my Palm Treo Pro with Windows Mobile 6.1 and while understanding the douse and flame approach I'm wondering why just because my desktop Windows gets service releases I had imagined my phone would receive the same?
    Silly me.
    Reply
  • gnesterenko - Sunday, March 21, 2010 - link

    Droid for me. Thanks for clarifying. Reply
  • kanabalize - Monday, March 22, 2010 - link

    unless android has lotsa eyecandy(icon style, chic GUI design) like iphoneOS, its going to be dead....

    Remember the real consumer is the non-technological savvy users not people who reads alot of reviews and familiar with the technology...

    when people have to choose between iphone and other android phone they aren't really care about what is behind the OS but what is right there in front of their eyes....
    Reply
  • dhaoracle - Sunday, March 28, 2010 - link

    I'm mad that this world is still naive idiots when it comes to things of any such. I might do that with a nice piece of ass but i will at least to get to know whats her name and what she's doing here(wherever).
    And why is anyone talking about Windows Mobile 6.5. stop hating and do your research. Google is nothing but eye-candy nothing else but a pretty balloon with lots of helium and pastry at the bottom. thats it nothing more nothing less.I would go with iPhone before Android and i hate iPhone...
    Reply
  • darwinosx - Sunday, March 21, 2010 - link

    Looks like the juvenile Droid ads found a sucker. Reply
  • CSMR - Sunday, March 21, 2010 - link

    It makes sense. Android is competitive or almost competitive with WM6.5. Now WM has lost most of its features while android will only improve. Reply
  • deputc26 - Sunday, March 21, 2010 - link

    Seriously why no Android review? It is the most power-user friendly mobile platform. 2.1 is far superior to WinMo 6.5. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Sunday, March 21, 2010 - link

    I'm working on a review of the AT&T Nexus One :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply

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