@Steve Davies 3
the point is that it isn't an app as such.
Its a setting in a submenu. You can add as many accounts to the phone as you like, from any of the supported services. and because of the way that this is integrated, should a new service become popular then you don't need to add an app - you just get an option added and it integrates into the existing model. But if you don't use it, then you'll never really see it.
so when i got my phone, i went to settings > account > add and chose from what was availible. at launch, this was gmail, hotmail, facebook and outlook / exchange (plus "other") (from memory). so you add in those accounts and when you want to find out what bob is up to you click on bob and see all of his feeds in one place.
When i upgraded to Mango, it added linkedIN as an account type. so, back to settings, put in my username and password and hey presto, bob's linkedIN feed appears along with his other ones. i think that this is the difference between WP7 and other systems... WP7 organises news feed by person and not by the source of the data. which makes sense if you want to find out what bob is up to, but doesn't make sense if you are facebook. it's an interesting take on the way to do this kind of functionality whch reflects the motivations of the software developer in question.
so there is no app as such. Sure MS still need to decide which services to include, but there is no bloat there as such - certainly not like there would be if they shipped the phone with 10 different social media clients - it's just different account options.
Downloadable apps for everything (the Apple model) is not the only way. Think Different, as was once said....
1) Obviously, there is a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes to get all this data into the same place. but you aren't really aware of it and that is kinda how it should be.
2) this is probably not the first phone system that can do this (insert reference to random android app here) but it is the first that i have used.
3) there are a load of filtering options to give you some granularity over what is updated where and when, and you can still see everything in one place if you want
4) no, not every single possible network will be on here. but you are still able to download seperate apps for those more niche ones, giving you the same functionality as on other phones. shoud they ever become mainstream, then maybe they get integrated. this makes it pretty easy for non-techy users.
5) yes, i know the iPhone does a lot out of the box, but a lot of functionality is added by apps. PLUS i know that this is not unique to the iPhone, with app stores for all phones adding features
6) Maybe this approach isn't for everyone and there is nothing wrong with questioning either the current "standard" or a new way. Try some stuff and see what you like.