back to article Phone 7: Another Vista or another XP?

We've been playing with a Windows Phone 7 device for a week or so now, and have been surprisingly impressed with the detail, though sadly disappointed with the bigger picture. Microsoft has put a lot into Windows Phone 7, and plans to spend a fortune developing it, but while the interface and functionality has a host of …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Microsoft has spent a great deal of time....

    "Microsoft has spent a great deal of time making sure its baby gets everyone's attention"

    They sure have.....a FB 'friend' who works for MS change his status to ......really loves the new Windows Phone 7.

    (Yawn) More astro turfing?!

    Although an 'IT guru, take everything literally' friend added a comment giving his view on the subject, which I think the young and hip would call 'pwnd' :)

    Paris, because I wonder if you can get an app for her on the Win7fone??

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Ick

      There is nothing worse than someone blindly advertising for their employer.

      I have a friends who works for Rackspace. I swear if I hear the word "fanatical" again, I will go "fanatical" on them.

      1. whiteafrican
        Thumb Up

        ...except...

        Having owned one of these phones for about 24 hours now, I'm not altogether convinced that he is simply advertising for his employer. The phone (HTC Mozart) really is fantastic.

        The UI is awesome, buttery-smooth everywhere. And unlike the static icons approach, the active tiles feel much more fluid and alive to use.

        The games are excellent (seriously, go to a phone store and ask to play a demo of The Harvest).

        ZunePass gives you access to a vast catalogue of music, for a very low price (I own two ipods and I honestly can't think of a use of either of them any more). Email, texting, facebook etc. are all excellent.

        Office is pretty good too, although I haven't used it much yet.

        (and no, I don't work for MS or HTC - I just really appreciate a good phone when I find one).

  2. Paul Shirley
    Grenade

    It's so last year...

    Amazing. They copied all the bad bits from Apple but failed to notice Apple having to free up IOS4 a little to keep up with Android. Gotta love that lockin. So that's all the dozen or so Zune users sorted.

    The dynamic data in 'tiles' is hardly a new idea, my Android phone is quite happily showing all sorts of fun stuff on its home screens - from the 1x1 icon battery status widget to the nearly full screen Jorte calendar widget with a months calendar on display, passing through my Rugby RSS feed and SMS displays. So at least they stole one good bit from Android, but didn't do it very well.

    And is that a fugly interface or what?

    1. Chrome

      Lockin all over the world

      Just wanted to say that really...

      1. pan2008
        Go

        yes really

        Yes really, there are more than 3000 applications at launch and I can see all the big uk players, tesco, bbc, telegraph. I think will take me a while to check all these apps out.

        The interface is at par with iphone that's for sure. It's extremely smooth, nothing like andoid. I went to check it out today and it's really good. Interface is different I think, it is quite simplistic you can say but makes sense. Iphone is good but 40% have one in london I think, so that's my next phone just don't know the model. It's got excellent features, I agree that some things are not there, but cut and paste is coming in january and am sure microsoft have the bucks to make it even better. The storage shortcoming can be a problem, but syncs free with the internet and can save anything you want there. Upgrades will make more improvements. Zune and Xbox is unique to this phone.

        1. Law
          Gates Halo

          really?

          "It's extremely smooth, nothing like andoid"

          On my snapdragon android phone the menu's and transitions are smooth, and I'd seen my old iPhone 3g stagger a few times going through transitions before...

          The new htc wp7 phone looks good tho - I like the xbox Live integration too, if I wasn't 6 months into a 2 year contract I'd be rushing out giving it a whirl in the shops. Personally external storage shouldn't be an issue if they come with 16gb of memory - although it would suck not to have the storage show up as an ext drive, as that feature made my pen drive obsolete with android.

    2. Ammaross Danan
      FAIL

      Title

      The thing that gets me is the shear ugliness of their "start" screen. A HUGE swath of screen space is wasted because of a tiny right-arrow near the top of the screen. Such a waste! At least put a VERTICAL tile or something there. Perhaps like a vertical stock ticker! There's a thought. And I hope that ugly grey background can be set to a custom wallpaper.

    3. Matthew Barker
      Stop

      They don't get it, that's all

      It appears to be a worrying trend: Microsoft appears to be copying what someone else did rather than having any confidence in themselves and providing any real innovation or design leadership.

      The restrictions look like they're a slavish attempt to copy what Apple have done, but not what they're doing now.

      Likewise, their retail stores are s'posed to be locating themselves across from Apple's stores, including a renamed genius bar.

      The early developer releases of Vista even had Apple icons in them.

      This is starting to feel like the lovelorn babysitter who goes mad and dresses in the wife's clothing in a sad attempt to get the husband to notice her.

      Cutting her bonus isn't enough, I think we need to check her into a facility and hope they cure her for the baby's (shareholders') sake.

      1. Nat Pryce

        Hardly a new trend...

        "...a worrying trend: Microsoft appears to be copying what someone else did rather than having any confidence in themselves and providing any real innovation or design leadership"

        Worrying trend? Sounds like business as usual. MS' big successes have come from reproducing other companies' innovations. Their big failures from trying to innovate themselves.

  3. jonathanb Silver badge

    in a year or two Windows Phone 7 could be a very impressive platform

    In a year or two, all their customers will have jumped ship to Android and nobody will care.

    Apple could get away with having their version 1 iPhone a flop because they were creating a new market. Microsoft can't get away with it because there is now too much competition.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Nah

    It's pretty...but clunky. UI looks "strange" - I'd prefer my UI to be onscreen at all times, and just the data should "scroll". Agree with author - some stuff is confusing, or simply counter-intuiative.

    There are some clever touches though, and the interface is smooth enough. You can tell they've actually put a bit of effort into this.

    But I'm not sold. The bar has been raised, and if this was launched with or before iphone v1, they'd be onto something. But it's not enough for today's market.

    Is it vista or xp? Vista in my opinion. Lets hope SP1 is a bit more "windows 7".

  5. The BigYin

    Is this a fair summary?

    "Has some nice shiny things, looks like it could be as restricted as an iPhone, and is behind the curve. In two years Win7 will have caught up with 2010, and thus still be behind the curve."

  6. DrXym Silver badge

    It'll get there

    The problem I see with the device is it's like a patient who has just had brain surgery. The patient might be better off from the surgery, the doctor might assure you they'll make huge progress in time. But for the time the patient is woozy, glassy eyed and is sporting a partially shaved head and stitches.

    Windows Phone 7 is an obvious improvement on 6.5, but so much was removed to make it better that it's just not ready yet. I really would not like to plonk down a large amount of money for something which has such obvious shortcomings no matter what eye candy the think might have.

    Features like multitasking apps, cut & paste, as well as phone openness ARE important. I appreciate that MS probably had to shelve some things for time, but they have to come. Additionally, Microsoft appears to think that to play the game they have to follow Apple's tune and it's not the case at all. Ditch the crappy Zune software and ditch the attitude that 3rd party apps are 2nd class citizens.

    I hope Windows Phone remembers that when it starts to regain some of its faculties. Otherwise it will find itself stuck in division 2 competing with Bada, WebOS and other fringe players for the scraps that Android and iOS don't consume.

  7. Bunglebear
    Thumb Down

    Won't mount as an USB?

    One of the biggest downsides of buying into the Apple empire is the fat, bloated toad which is iTunes. Insisting on the use of Zune in the same capacity is a massive mistake in my opinion - you are not going to out-Apple Apple in the walled garden approach.

    Some interesting approaches Microsoft, but I think you are barking up the wrong tree and targeting a converted market. A shame really, more competition in the mobile OS market is always good.

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      and no removable memory either - Microsoft reckons it complicates things

      Another Apple walled garden approach. MS seems to be very jealous of Apples garden.

      1. Penguin herder
        Terminator

        To put it mildly

        "MS seems to be very jealous of Apples garden."

        It wasn't all that long ago that Microsoft "invested" in Apple. At the time, it was a $100M or so price tag to avoid Apple's demise and Microsoft's being pronounced a monopoly and quickly torn apart. At this rate, Jobs could be deciding whether to bail out Microsoft some years from now.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Already done it...

          Jobs and Woz essentially help Bill, Paul and Steve avoid liquidation in the 70's...

    2. Argh!
      Thumb Down

      I'm with you

      Locked to Zune? WHY???? iTunes is pretty much the worst thing about Apple. I wouldn't even have an iPod if I hadn't won one simpy because of that limitation.

      I always sort of liked Mobile 6.5 - despite the horrible slowness and clunkyness it was at least familiar to navigate and open enough to largely do what you wanted to.

      I was kind of looking forward to Mobile 7, but to find it's locked down in this way and MS are going for not sharing their toys except for "friends" of theirs... why would I buy into that? If that's what I wanted I'd buy an iPhone.

      Oh well, Android here I come I guess.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        I just had to download the activesync replacement

        ...so I could charge my ancient WinMob work phone on my Windows 7 machine. They all but gave me a "genuine" body cavity search to do that.

        So if work hands me one of these new 7 devices I have to install Zune... Just to charge my f'ing phone?

        Are they trying to be the anti-RIM? They might as well put up a billboard saying "we don't want any serious business users"

        1. Shades
          Troll

          (MS) Software to charge your phone?

          All phones that charge via USB can ALSO charge via a wall-socket charger (even using the same cable if the charger has a USB connection)... Do you have to install ActiveSync on a wall-socket charger before your phone will recognise it? Do you have to install ActiveSync on your car before using a car phone charger?

          Stop trolling fail troll.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Unhappy

            It Is A USB Scam

            OP is correct, even old Motorola RAZRs worked this way. You can charge any micro USB RAZR from a wall socket but I couldn't charge my KRZR on a work PC that could charge a RAZR without getting KRZR driver software on the PC despite the same wall charger working for either. And they tend to bundle the software with the cable so they can charge $29 for a micro USB cable you already have or can buy online for $5. The claim is that the drivers on the PC actually regulate the charge and prevent overcharging - but I'm not sure I believe it.

  8. Pirate Peter
    Paris Hilton

    nice review what about phone 7's advert serving functions?

    i notice nothing was said about phone 7's multiple ways to serve adverts to you, you know those little things that annoy people and invade privacy?? like the capablity for in-application adverts?

    are there any easy to use privacy functions? to limit data being shared without permission to advertisers?

    i assume due to the numerous restrictions on what software can do there will no option for programs like no script, flash block etc to protect owners from unscrupulous websites trying to gather personal information??

    is there any way like the iphone advertisers can read any unique id on the phone to help identify the owner

    these are questions that need answering before people part with hard cash for one of these little trinkets

    i also notice "with applications heavily integrated and tied (or locked) to cloud services from Microsoft and its partners" which translated means they want your data where they can see it

    anything interesting in the privacy section of the EULA regarding cloud services and how the data could be used?

    sorry for being synical, just how i have become after years of being abused by the likes of apple, google and microsoft when it comes to my data and privacy

    paris , because she knows when she is being shafted by the big boys

  9. jake Silver badge

    6 of one ...

    ... half dozen of the other. And all equally unpalatable.

    I'll stick to my ten year old Nokia 5185, TYVM. It makes phone calls, and it receives phone calls. Both of which are pretty much all I need or want a phone to do,

    1. Jack Ketch
      Troll

      There's always one...

      And what do you need or want a smartphone to do?

      Or are you simply not interested in smartphones?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Not interested.

        I have real portable computers. I have real digital cameras. I have real portable music.

        And I have a real phone. It has a strong transmitter, and a sensitive receiver. The Sonoma Valley here in Northern California is well known for it's "dead zones", where cell phones don't work. My old Nokia works just fine in these areas.

        I'll buy a so-called "smart" phone when I can carry on a conversation starting in Yountville, up the Oakville Grade, to Trinity, and down Cavedale to Sonoma, without once dropping the call. My old Nokia is up to the job. Is your "smart" phone? Do you still think it's all that "smart"?

        I'm an old UNIX[tm] hack ... many small tools, all of which do one thing well. All I want a phone to be is a phone.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Down

          wisdom doesn't come with age?

          could you please comment to the subject of article? if we're reading the comments is because WE are interested. If YOU are not interested bugger off.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Ioan

            Dissenting opinions on the subject at hand aren't allowed, in your mind?

            Does that mean that I have to purchase whatever the marketards are pushing? That would suck ... I might even have to come out of retirement to afford it all ...

            In other words, yes, wisdom does come with age ;-)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        My problem is

        That I want a camera. I want to be able to play some music. I want GPS.

        Seems that I then have the rest of the crap that goes with a "smart phone" forced on me, whether I like it or not.

        1. jake Silver badge

          @Thad: Let's analyze your "problem" ...

          "That I want a camera."

          The hydra with a plastic lens (or lenses) and yellow "flash" isn't exactly what I'd call a useful camera, consumer.

          "I want to be able to play some music."

          The compressed crap that comes out of that hydra is hardly music, consumer. Especially when you listen to it with ear-buds.

          "I want GPS."

          Why? Don't they teach Orienteering anymore? Enjoy your goat-track in Yorkshire and subsequent cliff, consumer.

          "Seems that I then have the rest of the crap that goes with a "smart phone" forced on me, whether I like it or not."

          That word "forced", I don't think it means what you think it means, consumer.

          From my perspective, your real problem is that you are a consumer who has bought into a line of bullshit that multi-national marketing companies, which only exist to make the share-holders happy, has managed to sell you as a supposed "individual". Enjoy your bliss.

          1. T-Unit
            WTF?

            Jake, stop being a nob

            You don't have all the answers and sound like a petulant, ignorant fool. The simple fact is that I do not want to carry around a dedicated camera for the odd opportunist photo of friends being silly, nor a music player for the stroll to work, a sat nav for visiting client sites, a games console for the odd moment I'm waiting for my girlfriend to try something on in a shop plus the plethora of other funky things I do with my Android phone every day.

            Of course convergent devices aren't as good as stand alone, but it's about convenience and compromising some quality for that. Considering that, the quality I get is more than adequate anyway

            1. jake Silver badge

              @T-Unit

              Paraphrased: "I need to be entertained, even for small values of entertainment, and I'm willing to give a multi-national corporation a portion of my paycheck for that cartoonish take on reality."

              Satnav, though, I have no idea about ... Why do you need it for visiting client sites? I've been visiting clients (on six continents, no less) for forty years, with no need of satnav. I've been given half a dozen of these thingies as gifts over the last couple years ... all of 'em are in the same box on the top shelf of the closet that my wife's "tried but rejected" so-called "smart" phones reside in.

              But whatever. Enjoy your bliss, consumer.

              1. Terry Ellis
                Flame

                Obvious troll is obvious

                Thanks for the kicks!

                1. jake Silver badge

                  @Terry Ellis

                  I'm not trolling. I'm stating a strong personal opinion. Although I must admit that my lizard hind brain is tickled by the emotional reactions :-)

                  1. Law
                    Unhappy

                    I very almost gave in and ranted at you...

                    .... but then I realised it was pointless to even try... well played sir... well played... *closes laptop, goes to bed*

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Dear me...

            Jake, you are a supercilious twit. End of.

            ""That I want a camera."

            The hydra with a plastic lens (or lenses) and yellow "flash" isn't exactly what I'd call a useful camera, consumer." - For most needs, it's fine, supercilious twit.

            ""I want to be able to play some music."

            The compressed crap that comes out of that hydra is hardly music, consumer. Especially when you listen to it with ear-buds." - So do you only listen to live music then, supercilious twit?

            ""I want GPS."

            Why? Don't they teach Orienteering anymore? Enjoy your goat-track in Yorkshire and subsequent cliff, consumer." - Maps are bulky, cumbersome and tend not to work in the dark, and unless you've got an up-to-date *set* of expensive OS maps, that particular deadtreeware has the same issues as GPS, supercilious twit. Of course if you're stupid enough to blindly follow either, evolution will kick in...

            "From my perspective, your real problem is that you are a consumer who has bought into a line of bullshit that multi-national marketing companies, which only exist to make the share-holders happy, has managed to sell you as a supposed "individual". Enjoy your bliss." - Why name the brand of you phone of choice then, you supercilious luddite...

          3. Subtilior

            Consumer?

            Surely the title 'consumer' is more appropriate for the fellow who spends way more cash on high specced cameras, music players, portable computers, and totes them about everywhere, rather than someone who just keeps a simple smartphone on them. What do you do, run around with a Batman utility belt on?

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Subtilior

              Where, exactly, did I claim to have all my hardware about my person at all times?

              There is a time & place for me to break out the CF-39 back on my Hasselblad, but that time and place is never directly related to my telephone ... When I want to take digital snapshots, I generally use one of our eight year old Canon A-series cameras, that's what they were designed for.

              Likewise, when I want to make or receive a phone call, I use my old Nokia.

              All-singing, all-dancing Hydras are a good way to drop your entire basket of eggs ... But if you feel it's a good idea to purchase a "256-piece tool kit" from your local mega-mart for $25, instead of spending $135 on the eight individual tools that you actually need from a more reputable manufacturer ... Well, who am I to tell you that you are wrong, consumer?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      Following Jake's example...

      I'm off now to comment on a website for cancer sufferers about how I don't care about radiotherapy.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Tony Chandler

        There is a rather large difference between real humans suffering, and sheeple buying into whatever the hardware marketards are pushing this month.

        Hopefully you accidentally hit the "Joke Alert" icon ... because what you posted wasn't funny, not by any stretch of the imagination.

        On the other hand, if you did think it funny ... Well, your commentary was low. Very low.

        1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Re: Tony Chandler

          Yes but don't use the 'word' 'sheeple' it sets my teeth on edge. Thanking you.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Fair enough.

            I'll refrain from using "sheeple". However, I have a question ...

            Do you have a better over-all descriptive term for any given shaman's congregation?

            Keep in mind that almost all shamans, world-wide (even of the hardware/OS variety), refer to the people who keep them with a roof overhead and in bread & butter as "flocks", and think of themselves as "shepherds" ... and most folks associate "congregation" with "religion", and pooh-pooh the religious aspect of the attitude of most fanbois. To me, "sheeple" is a very descriptive term, and an appropriate mutation of the English language.

            (Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, this is off-topic, but you brought it up ... I won't reply to this thread anymore, unless I can bring it back on-topic.)

            1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

              Re: Fair enough.

              It's an incredibly smug catch-all term which gives puns a bad name. It's easy enough to describe people who you think are slavish and mindless with such words as 'mindless' and 'slavish' without resorting to that kind of childishness. Ironically enough, it makes you vulnerable to accusation that you're the kind of person who slavishly and mindlessly follows convention.

              Charlie Brooker said it better than I did. Can't find that but ooh look, a relevant xckd!

              http://xkcd.com/610/

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    two years?

    In two years time, you say?

    They've already poured billions into development and advertising, I hardly think even Micrisoft can afford to keep spending money. I know, I know, it's the old adage, Microsoft always gets it right the third time, but even if that were true (and looking at previous versions of WinMo, that hardly seems likely nowadays), two years is a long time in mobile politics, and at the rate in which Apple and Google are trying to out-perform each other, with RIM hanging on for dear life, Microsoft can't afford to wait that long.

    If Nokia gets any traction in the market with their new models next year, maybe Microsoft should buy back Elop? Now that'd be a twist...

  11. martin burns
    Coat

    iPhone Catchup: FAIL

    So the summary is basically saying: in a couple of years, this will be where Apple were ~3 years ago?

    Yeah, thanks, the one with the better phone in the pocket. Which one you say? Oh, they *all* have iPhones?

    1. Jack Ketch
      Gates Halo

      The future is now

      No clipboard: Check

      Restricted third party background processes: Check

      Cannot mount as USB drive: Check

      No removable media: Check

      Tied into bloated desktop application: Check

      Just gotta work on getting rid of 3/4G and it'll be at least as good as the iPhone was 3 years ago.

      1. Monty Burns
        Thumb Up

        actually...

        HAS removable media = check

        SD cards (where phones allow them) ARE removable should you wish to upgrade them. You swap the memory out, hard reset the phone and hey presto ...... your 32gb card is ready to use! Now just resync and its job done :)

        What i didn't see in this review, which makes me question its usefullness, how many times was it rebooted during the week? How many individual program crashes were there? Were there any "slow downs" at all? How about simple things like, can I change the ringtone to anything I like?

        1. blackworx
          Boffin

          @Monty

          You may be advised to (Re?)RTFA, specifically the bit which says no external storage by order of the management.

          1. Monty Burns

            RTFM or use google for real world examples?

            and you may be advised to use google and do some research, i have as I'm half tempted to buy the Dell Venue which has a removable SD card where reviewers HAVE swapped out the cards. All you do is do a hard reset and the phone rebuilds itself using its new card. Job done.

            1. J 3
              Paris Hilton

              Damn, Monty...

              Some people... They are all talking about the frigging iPhone and Win7 phone in these comments. No one cares in this discussion about your or Google's or whomever examples of the myriad phones that have swappable cards. Wake the hell up.

              Gee... How hard of reading can someone be?

            2. blackworx

              Erm...

              Except we're not talking about other phones, or even other OS's. We're talking about Windows Phone 7.

            3. Neil Greatorex
              Pint

              Have you been RTwrongFA?

              There is no SD slot on this phone, there may be one on <insert any other handset manufacturer here> but this phone doesn't have one.

              "Hard reset" WTF??

              Have a pint.

              1. Monty Burns

                Why do people think this article is about a PHONE, its not! Its an OS!

                "There is no SD slot on this phone, there may be one on <insert any other handset manufacturer here> but this phone doesn't have one."?????

                Ehhh? What phone? Windows PHONE 7 is an OPERATING SYSTEM, not a phone.... this aritcles title, just in case you missed it:

                "Phone 7: Another Vista or another XP?"

                yeap thats right, its about the OPERATING SYSTEM, not a specific phone. The fact the O/S does have limiited support swapping memory cards is actually an important fact wouldn't you think?

                1. Ron Christian

                  Re: Why do people think this article is about a PHONE, its not! Its an OS!

                  From the actual article:

                  Manufacturers are allowed to add a keyboard, but that's about all the innovation that's permitted. No additional buttons, and no removable memory either - Microsoft reckons it complicates things - so any differentiation is going to have to be in software, and not a lot is allowed even there.

                  Yes Windows 7 is an OS. It's also a set of licensing requirements, including, according to the article, that the handset does not have removable memory.

  12. DaveTheRave
    FAIL

    No removable memory =

    Epic fail

  13. DaveTheRave
    FAIL

    No USB hard drive mount =

    Another epic fail

  14. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Usability?

    "Windows Phone 7 won't mount as a USB drive." Oh, so I can't just copy my daily backup of non-MS files with me to and from my locked-down non-admin PC at work. I will have to carry one or more pendrives beside my cell phone. No, thank you. Next!

    "No removable memory". Oh sorry, the first read-through I thought it had "no removable battery". All is not lost. Carry on. Well, since you don't mount as USB, you don't need removable memory anyways. It will take another software for ms-approved interface too. I thought Explorer (as in Windows XP explorer) should suffice, it does for everybody else. Great. Next!

  15. Paul Woodhouse

    and as always with M$

    The moral of the story is wait for Service Pack 1....

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: and as always with M$

      I think actually the moral of this story is to wait for version 3.1.

  16. graeme leggett

    sounds interesting

    But don't think I know anyone likely to get one, so this is as close as I'll probably get...

  17. Nigel 9
    Unhappy

    So in effect.....

    They've made the "MS iPhone"....

    - Apps locked out from running in background unless approved (sound familiar?)

    - Have to sync through Zune (iTunes?)

    - No external storage permitted

    "a camera button as well as a power button. The latter two are dual-function: tapping on power button either locks or wakes up the phone, half pressure on the camera button starts the camera focusing, while pressing fully takes a snap."

    WTF?!?! - Am I the only person who believes that this is a terrible idea, resulting in lots of "accidental" snaps as you tried to take a damn picture?

    Now , Im by no means an iPhone fan... but I cant help thinking that MS have taken the decision "You know what? Apples right..... people are stupid" and just locked out everything.

    Heres hoping 7.1 will add support for removable storage in V2 phones and iron out the kinks (and for the sake of balance, kudos for adding in XBox live and a getting the browser working well on a review phone)

    1. ChrisC
      WTF?

      Photos

      ""a camera button as well as a power button. The latter two are dual-function: tapping on power button either locks or wakes up the phone, half pressure on the camera button starts the camera focusing, while pressing fully takes a snap."

      WTF?!?! - Am I the only person who believes that this is a terrible idea, resulting in lots of "accidental" snaps as you tried to take a damn picture?"

      Yep, I think you probably are the only person, given that this is exactly how every non-fixed-focus standalone digital camera I've used in the last decade has operated. Being able to pre-focus like this on a camera which has no manual focus controls (or where the manual controls are a pain in the arse to use) often makes the difference between being able to take a clear photo and a blurry mess fit only for instant deletion.

      In this respect, I have to take my hat off to MS for making it a standard feature of 7 phones. However, considering how much of the good stuff from previous Windows phone OS's has been ripped out from 7, I then very quickly put it back on and wander off to look at Android handsets...

      1. JaimieV
        Thumb Down

        Standard button functionality, yes indeed

        but you don't tend to leave your camera powered on in your pocket, waiting to take pictures of your accumulated lint every time you sit down.

  18. Piers
    Thumb Up

    Microsoft innovating?

    Whoda thunk it! Nice to see them actually going for it. It'll be interesting to see if the general public take to it.

  19. Neil Greatorex
    FAIL

    Don't think I'll be considering this.

    As I neither twatter, facebook nor use Google for my data.

    PS Still can't see if anyone has addressed the "Can it make phone calls" yet.

    1. T-Unit
      Thumb Down

      Twatter?

      It's called Twitter. I'm sure you just made a typo or were misinformed rather than trying to make that tired, lazy joke to which even David bloody Cameron beat you

  20. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    AAAARRGGGGGHHH

    What the c***ing *uck are Microsoft thinking? I'm feeling a bit Ballamerish now... where's my chair?

    The device should mount as a USB Flash Drive so I can connect it to, say, a works computer. Or a client's computer. Or WHATEVER THE CLUCKING HELL ELSE I WANT TO CONNECT IT TO- IT'S MY PHONE. You know, keeping Phone 7 as a tool that can be used at work and for useful stuff- differentiating it from the iPhone (which is still widely taken to be a toy).

    You should have removable memory.

    Apps should be able to run in the background- they can in previous WinMos, so why not now? What's so terrible about the idea of update services running? How about making all background services run in a horribly limited sandbox so they can do very little to no harm and only allowing apps access to this sandbox when the user opens them?

    I used Windows Mobile (and Pocket PC- showing my age a bit there...) for about 5 years, then changed to Android for a change. I liked WinMo (if nothing else, you can quickly sling together apps in VB.Net for it, which saved my bacon at work on a couple of occasions. Oh, and Office doc support from the word "Go".) and really hoped that Phone7 could pull me back to it.

    Screw it, I'm sticking with Android 2.2 on my 2-year-old HTC Hero.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      The problem with removable memory

      Removable memory is essential but like most things Windows Phone 7, I expect Microsoft have cut some corners to push a release out. Removable media impacts on:

      a) Drivers. Memory cards from different manufacturers often behave differently, have different performance characteristics (latency, transfer rate etc.). Not including the slot means not having to test different cards or even write a driver.

      b) Removal / insertion behaviour. Users might pop cards in or out at any moment. Removing the slot means not having to worry how to fire those events, or how to mount drives at runtime, or how apps should deal with files which are suddenly removed.

      c) Purchased music / vids / apps etc. How do you secure these on insecure media? Simple answer is don't put a slot in and you don't have to worry about insecure media for a while.

      d) Zune software. How does Zune support the extra slot, syncing files etc? No slot means no need to worry about that.

      Yes it stinks. Microsoft chose to make their life easier. Removing the slot is a band aid and more to the point, just another sign how immature their new platform is despite Windows CE running somewhere in the middle of it.

      1. Charles Manning

        The problem ??

        a) Drivers.... only in a Windows world do you need a driver for every bit of kit. In the rest of the world they just work.

        b) Can do this like many phones. Interlock with the battery so that they can't be hot swapped.

        c) Encryption.

        d) Why make this Zune's problem? Why use Zune host software anyway? Surely library management can be done right on the phone via wifi etc?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nope...

    More like another Zune.....

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Would have considered - not anymore!

    I was thinking maybe Microsoft might have actually come to the party. But no. Their old colours prevail.

    Firstly - ugly interface. Ugly, ugly, ugly.

    Next - 3rd party applications can't run in the background? WTF?

    And again - doesn't mount as a USB drive on your PC? WTF?

    Same old same old. Apple are the worst. Microsoft are a close second. Neither phone OS would I touch with a barge pole seeing as those systems are mini-black holes from which one can't escape once sucked in. I prefer my freedom.

    So, come on Android manufacturers. Give me phones with keyboards. Now! I'm tired of waiting for HTC and Samsung and Motorola (for their 2nd iteration) to actually deliver.

    1. Funkstain

      HTC Desire Z

      ...has a keyboard.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: HTC Desire Z

        C'mon dummie - be serious - it should have been released a week ago in the UK but no-one still has a definitive release date for it. And when are the other manufacturers coming to the party with keyboarded Android phones??

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      Background running is probably a technical issue

      Android's app runtime has been designed from the ground up to be teeny tiny and support multiple instances all at once.

      Windows Phone's runtime for 3rd party apps is a .NET compact framework and my guess is that it sucks really badly at running multiple instances at once, either running out of memory, hogging cpu or whatever. So they shoved in a restriction that there is only one running instance at a time which means one 3rd party app at a time. Notably, the MS apps are not running .NET which lends credence to that idea. I suppose MS could loosen that restriction if the compact framework's footprint went down and it's ability to play nice went up. It's just another indicator how immature the platform is.

      1. Rattus Rattus
        FAIL

        3rd party framework is .NET?

        Wow, that's another big ol' pile of fail right there.

        1. DrXym Silver badge

          .NET isn't the problem

          I have absolutely no difficulty with it using .NET. After all, Android uses Dalvik which is a virtual machine (although devs can use a native dev kit with some restrictions), iOS uses LLVM. Using a VM is sound practice since most apps don't need raw speed and abstraction from the hardware is a good thing.

          What I suspect though is the actual .NET CLR used by Windows Phone 7 is simply crap, either too bloated, too resource intensive or it hogs the CPU. Maybe MS simply can't run more than one app at once or can't kill them effectively. Hence the 3rd party app restriction. I don't believe the issue is intractable but it shows how many corners have been cut to get this product out the door.

          1. Rattus Rattus

            Ah, you misunderstand me good sir

            I didn't mean to imply using a VM was the fail. I meant to imply, well, actually to state outright, that .NET itself is the big steaming pile of fail, just as it is on Windows too.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vista

    Definitely Vista.

  24. Pirate Peter

    battery life?

    no mention of battery life? is it that bad like all previous versions of win mobile they avoid telling people

    at work we are ditching win mobiles and going blackberry, (at last)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Crapberry email tax

      All Blackberry email is all right for a company but why does and individual have to pay the Crapberry email tax. Talk about apple tie ins, RIM is just as bad!

      Because mobile users are just another cash cow.

      1. Ron Christian

        BB enterprise server is not an "email tax".

        What Blackberry Enterprise Server offers is a clean, secure way into the company's intranet. Besides push email, you get seamless access to both the internet and corporate intranet. You *may* be able to do that with the iphone with a lot of fiddling. You can't do it at all on Android, because even if you could VPN in, there's no good proxy solution yet, so you can have intranet access, or internet access, but not both. In any case, you have to set that stuff up manually on all other platforms, and you get it "for free" with a BB as soon as you register it with the BB enterprise server.

        To be clear, with the BB Tour I can get to corporate applications that are only available for machines inside the firewall, and I can do it from anywhere in the world. And I could not do that without a corporate blackberry server.

        If you don't use all the features you can call it a tax if you want, but for BB power users, the BB server offers an experience that is difficult to impossible on any other handset.

        Mind you, I'm on Android now, for other reasons, and I REALLY miss being able to get to corporate resources from my phone. I'm hoping Android catches up some day.

        One problem is that if you have a private email account and use the universal mailbox, your private email goes through the corporate server, which, depending on your expectations of privacy, is not necessarily a good thing. So while I had a BB, I had separate applications for my other email accounts..

        Now, my daughter carried a BB Curve for over two years, and she didn't use a BB server at all. "gmail for blackberry" works fine without a blackberry server. You only need one if you need access to corporate push email and/or the corporate intranet.

        In summary, the BB server is not required, and offers features not otherwise available. It's not an email tax.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    No removable memory?

    No SD Flash card? That, like a camera, is a minimum requirement for a smartphone.

  26. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge
    Flame

    three buttons mandated

    I'm sure users are looking forward to many happy times pressing back-search-start on these machines.

  27. sazoo

    @Anon 16

    Android with a keyboard... on it's way - HTC Desire Z = Z hinge for fold-out qwerty... Details available on their website... Just waiting for my carrier to get stock, then I'm there!

  28. uhuznaa

    Curious ommission...

    in that article: Can you actually, like, make a phone call with the thing?

    Not that I'm one of those who think that phones are the end of all. I rather think a smartphone is a mini-tablet with a pre-installed phone app. Still, a review of a smartphone without a single word about the phone part seems a bit incomplete?

    1. Monty Burns

      you also forgot

      the much larger but much better (imo) Dell Venue Pro - think HD2 cross Blackberry

  29. Simon B
    FAIL

    No removable memory allowed? - Coffin nailed!

    No removable memory allowed? Oh well, that puts a nail in Win Phone 7 for me then. I WANT it and find it VERY useful and helpful to have removable memory. At least now I know what phone I'm having, microshaft has just removed 7 potential candidates for me! I now know to avoid all phones with Win Ph7 on. Wow!

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "another vista or another XP"

    The phone in its current state doesn't appeal to me, but saying that....does it really pain critics that much to admit that M$'s best received O/S is their current one?

    1. Tempest
      Pint

      " ... to admit that M$'s best received O/S is their current one?"

      Seems that a very great number of people still prefer XP over anything else MS offers.

      All our DOS systems are running 64-bit, and we continue to use it for sometime yet. You can keep your resource hungry visually pretty OS but you pay a lot for it,

  31. mmiied

    dos & windows

    I all ways thought one of the things that made them a suscess was there ability to easley run what ever anybaody programed for them so they cousl be USED for what pepol wanted MS seam to not think that

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      that reminded me.

      There's no mention of a built in spell-checker either.

      1. Andy Jones
        Coat

        Don't be mean!

        Don't be mean. He sent that post using Windows Phone 7.

        /Yep, already got my coat. Leaving now!

  32. Sleepy 3
    FAIL

    Not Vista

    I'm thinking more Windows ME. No removable memory or USB mounting - seriously? Doesn't anyone ever speak up in a Microsoft design meeting?

  33. copsewood
    Gates Horns

    Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely

    What we seem to be seeing here is last ditch efforts to prop up a sagging desktop, office software and proprietary server empire, by tying in as much as possible of what this phone does to older monopoly cash cows. What we are not seeing is these other Microsoft businesses (e.g. search, phones, game consoles) being enabled or allowed to innovate in ways which don't tie exclusively into previous monopoly products. So these products will all swim or sink together. Based on this review, they seem more likely to continue to sink until new management gives the Microsoft business and product divisions full product development and marketing independence from each other.

    It reminds me of the old Soviet Union, which was always behind on everything they did and eventually everything was too broken for them to be able to continue the pretence.

  34. Eponymous Cowherd
    FAIL

    FAIL: And here's some reasons why.....

    ***"And there's a lot to love, with applications heavily integrated and tied (or locked) to cloud services from Microsoft and its partners."***

    Errrm, and how is that a *good* thing? I'll decide what services I want to use on *my* phone, thank you very much.

    ***"and no removable memory either - Microsoft reckons it complicates things"***

    FAIL. Just FAIL. I suspect this has more to do with user lock-in than avoiding complication. If you can't whip out your SD card and copy files to it, you *have* to use the Zune interface.

    ***"Once you slide the lock out of the way you get to the home screen, which Microsoft insists on calling "Start""***

    So much for avoiding confusion, then.

    ***"Those tiles are supposed to be superior to icons, and not only because they're bigger. The idea is that they display contextual information based on the applications behind them"***

    Sort of like Android widgets, then? Except I can chose Widgets *or* icons.

    ***"Unlike its predecessors, Windows Phone 7 won't mount as a USB drive, taking its lead from the iPhone it will only integrate with Microsoft's desktop software, Zune."***

    Linking with the lack of removable memory, this binds Phone 7 users to the Windows Desktop and Zune. It also allows Microsoft to control/restrict which files can be copied to the phone.

    The whole thing is just too close to Apple-esque control-freakery for my liking. Phone 7 is clearly intended to be a competitor for the iPhone, rather than Android et al. In this it can only fail.

  35. stuartsmithuk
    Coat

    MS/Vodafone have dropped the ball on this one

    Just tried getting one from a Vodafone store in Central London, spent 20 mins playing with the device (it is very nice!) only to be told they can't give me one until tomorrow! I've developed a few apps and would have liked to deploy and test on a real device!

    The UI is very slick and smooth - even the guy in the store was surprised. Internet explorer functions well.

    No marketing and nobody in the store aware of it until told 'its the NEW Windows Phone, you know, the one you got delivered today' and now they can't even give you the device on the launch day. Overall a bad first experience!

    Mines the one without a WP7 device... :)

  36. There's a bee in my bot net

    The HTC 7 Pro

    looks nice and has a 5 row keyboard but can't it run Android?

  37. Ian K
    Coat

    "Every Windows Phone 7 must have three buttons on the front"

    Ctrl, Alt and Del

  38. sola
    Thumb Down

    It is a big big VISTA

    This is the biggest screwup I have ever seen!!!

    No mounting as USB drive??? In 2010??? Access only through Zune?

    If I wanted a complete lock-in, I would go to Apple. Their stuff at least looks good.

    No memory card slot? WTF ???

    And a fugly user interface. The ugliest, early Android versions looked better than this.

    I just cant imagine what they thought.

    1. Richard Willetts
      Thumb Up

      To each there own I guess but...

      The interface is much MUCH better than iOS and MUCH more attractive IMO!

      And frankly I don't give a rats rear end about mounting as a USB drive and the no removeable storage doesn't bother me much either! If it works and I can use it and I like the interface and user experience, which I do then I am happy!

  39. Tom Chiverton 1
    FAIL

    A lock that isn't

    So when the phone is locked in my pocket, the slightest press will still pause/start music ? That is not a lock.

    Fail.

  40. Ku...
    Unhappy

    May have a place...

    We may deploy Windows Phone 7 for our corporate users. The guys who don't get a choice of what phone they get. It its easy to manage, secure, remote wipe and all that then I can see the attraction as a fancy business phone. However I can see a lot being put off by the prominence of Facebook in there for this purpose...

    I've been keenly looking forward to seeing what MS can turn out for this as I know how much they have invested in it. I have to say I'm not feeling interested as a potential user. I'll stick with Android thanks.

    I'm not too fussed about removable storage, especially if there is a nice slick cloud available but inability to mount as a USB drive is just a big fat PHAIL and possibly the big deal breaker on there for me.

    1. Rattus Rattus

      Re: "for our corporate users"

      I've often wondered what I'd do if my work tried to give me a phone. Guaranteed, it'd be something shitty like a Windows phone.

      I couldn't stand having something like this as my only phone, and I wouldn't want to carry two phones. I think I'd have to divert calls on that number over to my personal mobile and leave the work phone switched off, in a drawer somewhere.

    2. Big-nosed Pengie
      Joke

      Secure????

      ROTFL

  41. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    For a "social" phone...

    ... not allowing things like Twitter feeds and news feeds to update in the background is a bit of an oversight. Surely the whole idea of these "tiles" is that they are dynamic and you can just look at the screen on the phone to see what is going on, rather than having to start an application...

    Well that's how it works on Android any way.....

  42. dogged
    Go

    I will laugh so hard

    if it's an enormous success. I really will.

    Just spend a worthwhile 2 minutes screenshotting all these comments just in case that happens.

    Christ, you kids are petty.

    1. asdf Silver badge
      Flame

      troll or parochial scared MSCE

      Enormous success generally assumes you invent a market or at least are able to have majority share. M$ has largely always been a me too company that was able to bury smaller more innovative competitors. Now Apple and Google are in M$ league money wise with more innovative cultures so its looking bleak in the smart phone space for the company that brought us Zune and the Kin.

  43. Monty Burns
    Stop

    before shouting NO REMOVABLE SD CARD WTF!!

    Try using google first ....

    The O/S DOES support removable cards so you can upgrade to whatever you like. It requires a hard reboot after inserting however.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Come on Reg, you been paid backhanders to big it up? Or were reporting restrictions in place?

    Two comments were of interest.

    "Microsoft doesn't like error messages." (my personal favourite and has cheered up my day)

    And

    "Only MS can be trusted to run them [background processes]"

    Do you actually use M$ products? You can only use some of them by the error messages that pop up, and MS can't be trusted to run anything, like the windows genuine disadvantage tool.

    What you are saying is that you now rely more on guess work and reboots, and on MS or who they want to let into the walled garden can play. Both truly horrible thoughts.

    However to me the 'kill it and die' features are

    1 - I like background / wall papers. Can you remove all those icons and access them in other ways, of just have a few instead of them all? How can you personalise such a locked down device?

    2 - No removable memory, that kills future proofing and makes the entire phone utterly locked in today only.

    3 - I don't tw@tter, facebook or google. So don't care about the tiles.

    4 - Camera comes on even when locked but can't take photos. (Yet chews up battery if left lying round in your handbag opening and closing the camera app at will - Genius)

    5 - Music. I do not want it controlled by a crap piece of software and puts in orders it thinks is right. Windows media player does that and it can't do that right, so why would I want an itunes clone.

    6 - Doesn't do flash or even their own silverlight. Apple hit the wall on that and too many websites need it.

    7 - Mail gets its own icon each? That is 6 email addresses for me then, 6 icons taken up on the front screen? That right, or will I get all personal, club and work emails in one big tile as a number of missed emails?

    8 - Also you don't make mention of it, but you touch one tile and they go landscape (office screenshot as an example), yet the main screen is portrait? Is there a lot of turning the handset or you just using PR screenshots from M$

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge
      Troll

      What?

      Don't you mean Bing?

    2. Argh!
      FAIL

      Maybe I'm missing something.....

      "The O/S DOES support removable cards so you can upgrade to whatever you like. It requires a hard reboot after inserting however."

      If you have to completely reset the phone after putting it in, that's not removable media, that's using SD memory as internal storage.

      Upgradable != removable

      Removable = portable = interoperable.

      1. Monty Burns

        sooo...

        if you don't remove your cards, how do you make it "portable"? You have to remove it!

        I agree with you its far from ideal however, if you get a phone that only has an 8gig card in it (as I might do) I can then whip that card out and insert the 32 I already have ......

        WHats not clear at the moment is if it stripes data over the internal and SD cards (not sure how this would work as they would be diferent sizes) or if it creates a link somehow that gives the illusion of one solid disk (we already know that which ever way it works, it creates the illusion of one solid disk anyway). If its the later you can damn sure someone will crack it and before you know it you'll be reading/writing in your PC's SD slot.

        Microsofts software and hardware (think Xbox and XBMC for example) always has been highly modable and can be hacked to shreds. This will be hacked up like all the other stuff they have done and I for one look forward to what happens over at XDA Devs in the next few weeks.

      2. Shades

        No maybe about it.

        SD card support? Check.

        SD card can be removed? Check

        Sounds like removable media to me... however it is used.

        As a complete guess I would suggest the problem will be Microsoft have probably done an "Apple" (lock-ins, no multitasking etc) further under the hood than this article would suggest. I bet WinPh 7 uses a database to index files before they can be "seen" by the OS. That is where the desktop Zune software comes in. Like iTunes, Zune will more than likely have to update the files databases on the phone before the OS will recognise that files exist. Hence copying files manually won't really work and so at a "consumer level" the fact that the memory card IS removable is being buried . It also wouldn't surprise me if the Zune software even copies your files over with seemingly random names (just to make things more difficult to manually copy over) JUST like Apple do.

        1. Argh!

          Removable? Really?

          I'll admit I could be getting the wrong end of the stick, but as I understand it, to swap out the SD card requires a HARD RESET of the phone. Every time I've done a hard rest of a phone it wipes all the data on it. Does this one not do that?

          If it does, then that's removable storage in the same way that the only hard drive in my PC is removable storage. Sure I can take it out, but then I lose not only the data that was on it but all my installed programs. And yes I guess I can re-sync my phone to my PC but then I could Ghost the contents of a hard drive back again too... does that suddenly make it removable?

          The point of "removable storage" is that you can add and remove it "on the fly" *while* the device is running. If you can't do that then it's not "removable storage", except in the strictly dictionary definition of the word "removable" that applies to every bit of storage ever.

  45. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    Silly

    Is it just me or all these smartphones just silly? I spent a long time on my personal computer making sure it couldn't connect to anything and everything whenever it felt like it, and any program that tries pops up all sorts of dire warnings to me. I spent a while isolating external IP networks from the device so that I could choose what it would do and when and how much data / bandwidth it would use at each point.

    Now this phone automatically updates from Facebook every time you go into the contacts list? And presumably sucks weather / news / etc. updates all the time too. I'm not so worried about the data usage cost (hell, if you can afford these phones, you can afford a decent amount of traffic, but be careful before you take it abroad!) but just the sheer constant access required to keep them running.

    I wonder how well this phone fares when it can pick up a GSM signal but not a GPRS/3G signal, seeing as it can "hang" while loading up your Facebook friend's new photos already.

    Sorry, but I'm an old fuddy-duddy. Gimme a phone that doesn't go on the Internet unless I specifically say so, that doesn't leave you open to all sorts of potential hacks because the data from things like Facebook hasn't been sanitised properly but is executed by default on your phone every time you access the address book, etc. that can actually ring people and tell you who's rung without you having to guess or go on the damn Internet again.

    I have absolutely no doubt that they are incredibly convenient. So is having a computer with no password on it, that's on an unfiltered Internet connection, when you just want to get online. Doesn't mean it's at all sensible, though.

    And it's a *phone*. That's quite a privileged bit of hardware. You can do some real damage by taking over that device with something malicious, whether it's recording every conversation (ever used phone banking or given you card number to a company you trust over the phone?), sucking up your home address and your GPS location, silently sending millions of texts, deliberately purchasing lots of things from the app stores to get commission on them, or even just making prank calls to the emergency services via your phone.

    You'll be safe for a few years, like most people were with Windows 95. And then you're going to spend your LIFE managing that damn device to stop it doing stupid and increasingly dangerous things that it was DESIGNED to do.

    I find it hilarious that MS can't design an OS that can allow background apps free access yet still reign them in if the user / phone requires it to stop them overwhelming the device, and instead has to resort to whitelisting apps. I thought they were supposed to have an *operating system* as one of their products?

    1. Shades
      Stop

      Fuddy-duddy? I'll say!

      "Sorry, but I'm an old fuddy-duddy. "

      Yes you are ;)

      "Gimme a phone that doesn't go on the Internet unless I specifically say so"

      I'm pretty sure most phones that are capable of accessing the internet can, unless they are particularly stupid, be set to not access the internet unless YOU want them to.

      "that doesn't leave you open to all sorts of potential hacks because the data from things like Facebook hasn't been sanitised properly but is executed by default on your phone every time you access the address book, etc"

      Why would your CHOSEN friends "hack" your phone via status updates on Facebook? (Not that I've EVER heard of such complete and utter nonsense happening in real life by and to anybody I know!)

      "that can actually ring people"

      I'm pretty sure all PHONES can, either that or you're getting your TVs remote control confused with a phone! ;)

      "tell you who's rung without you having to guess"

      I can't think of ANY phone (that has a display and phonebook) that DOESN'T display who is calling you if you ALREADY have their number... or do you expect your phone to be psychic too?

      "or go on the damn Internet again."

      Ahh yes, the well known "phone ringing makes it jump onto the internet" problem?!?!?!?

      "Now this phone automatically updates from Facebook every time you go into the contacts list? [...] the sheer constant access required to keep them running"

      Status and contact photo updates are no worse than receiving multi-part SMS or MMS in terms of actual data being flung to and from the phone, which can be minimised if the phone OS/software has the smarts to check if something actually needs updating first rather than updating blindly. Granted this does cost the user, unless on an unlimited data tariff, but it still shouldn't really be THAT much to worry about.

      "I wonder how well this phone fares when it can pick up a GSM signal but not a GPRS/3G signal"

      I can't vouch for WinPho 7 but I think, with my phone, if it doesn't have a GPRS signal as a minimum (and it will use if available GPRS, 3G, Edge and HSDPA) it doesn't attempt to transfer any data... (Does GSM even do data other than voice/SMS? I don't know, but would you really want to do it?) Besides, if I'm in a place that doesn't even have a GPRS signal (sound like a nice day out in the country to me!) I dare say someones inane drivel on Facebook would be the last thing on my mind.

      "And it's a *phone*. That's quite a privileged bit of hardware."

      Oh please, its 2010. Its. A. Phone.

      "You can do some real damage by taking over that device with something malicious, whether it's recording every conversation (ever used phone banking or given you card number to a company you trust over the phone?), sucking up your home address and your GPS location, silently sending millions of texts, deliberately purchasing lots of things from the app stores to get commission on them, or even just making prank calls to the emergency services via your phone."

      How often does this really, and I mean REALLY, happen? Its not happened to myself or a SINGLE other person I know. Come from under your tin-foil hat, its not all as bad as you think!

      "[ALL THE REST]"

      Loosing the will to live......................................................

      1. Shades
        Pint

        Laughing...

        ...at the down vote.

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      Your preconceptions are wrong

      Smart phones don't just wander off to the internet without your say so. You have to explicitly allow it by letting it use the mobile operator's network, or configure it to use a wifi hotspot. Without doing either of those things it's just a fancy phone with PIM functionality and other nice stuff. I can't speak of other phone operating systems but android lets you configure these things from a settings screen or by dragging & dropping wifi / internet on / off switches onto one of your desktop views.

      Also as far as Windows Phone is concerned, I don't think it is "whitelisting" apps so much as being broken. The built-in apps on the device are native apps, compiled to the device just as they've always been on Windows Mobile devices. 3rd party apps are untrusted and must be written with .NET which requires a runtime & interpretter / JIT compiler. The .NET runtime protects the phone from abuse, but it's probably too bloated at the moment to support more than one running app in a usable / reliable fashion. So MS have stuck the restriction in and probably intend to fix it at some later date.

  46. dogged
    Boffin

    c'mon guys

    Let's look at this sensibly, shall we?

    1. Ugly UI. Well, actually, I think what you mean is "UI that doesn't look like iOS or Android". Which is fine, you can like iOS and Android if that pleases you aesthetically. You just don't get to call it "ugly" though. Say what you mean. I kind of like the UI, it makes sense to me.

    2. No removable storage. Yeah, I'm not keen on that one either. Not that I've ever removed the microSD card from my current phone except to upgrade it, but I think it would be good to be able to. Is it a game breaker, though? Really? We're told in this very thread that all you need is to hard reset the device to upgrade the storage. That would be exactly what I've done so far.

    3. No mounting as a USB device. I tend to dislike the idea of being locked in to a single piece of software but to be honest, I doubt if that state of affairs will last. There'll be a WinAMP plugin within weeks.

    I don't work for Microsoft. This is not astroturf. I DID import a Zune and I found the software acceptable and the sound quality exceptionally good. I imported that because I had experienced iTunes on my (then) wife's laptop and been appalled at the quality of sound from her iPod and was determined never to support either.

    I think it's worth fooling around with before dismissing so abruptly, is all. Another mobile OS is clearly a good thing, competition's good for everyone. And hey, at least these phones seem to be able to make calls without needing to wear a condom.

  47. Rob

    I've been using MS Mobile for years, 6.5 at the moment, in regards to 7...

    ... ello Android, how u doin', I'll be with you real soon.

  48. Gary F
    Gates Horns

    I just ordered a new Android phone

    What can Windows Phone 7 RELEASE 1.0 do that Android can't? Asked the other way around I can draw up a long list. Therefore my money is going on a shiney new Android phone.

    Orange San Francisco, £99 on PAYG. All the hardware, good screen resolution, snappy processor and someone's cooked a Froyo 2.2. upgrade ROM for it. What more does one need?

    Dear Microsoft. I will visit you again in 12 months time where I hope you've made a quantum leap.

    1. Big-nosed Pengie
      Headmaster

      Quantum leap?

      Microsoft continually makes quantum leaps - in fact that's all they've every done. It's why all their progress to date wouldn't cover the width of an atomic nucleus.

  49. Al
    WTF?

    Sockets

    Why they decided to release a phone without access to a 'Socket' class is beyond me. Sure, many things will happily work over HTTP, but many things won't - VOIP being a good example. I want to love this phone as developing for it is easier and less painful that both iPhone and Android ... but I'll wait till v2 thanks.

  50. ForthIsNotDead
    FAIL

    Oh dear...

    From what I've read, it's a heap of shit :-(

    So...

    * You can't browse it like a hard disk any more via USB - you HAVE to dock with Microsoft's Zune software (so you're locked in like Apple users with iTunes). - a step backward

    * Software will NOT run in the background (only Microsoft code will multi-task - your code and my code won't) - a step backward

    * There is no 'contacts' - instead, it get's your contacts from FaceFuck. Which is fine, if you have a FF account. But what if you don't? (Like me) - and what if your friends don't publish their mobile numbers on their FaceFuck account? Does that mean you can't call them or SMS them? Does it mean you have to 'fuck' them, just to say hello? WTF?

    Sounds like a turd to me. A shame, because I've been a loyal Windows Mobile user for about 5 years now. Ah well, I've been coveting the HTC Desire with Android for a while. So that's me sorted. Note to self: Don't bother downloading the Windows Mobile 7 SDK.

  51. Gil Grissum

    Missing bits

    Why remove the bits from Windows Mobile 6.5 that worked, and placed Apple-like restrictions that make WP7 behind the times? No SD card slots? No Native apps that aren't Microsoft or partners, running in the background? And what's with the Facebook obsession to the exclusion of other social networks (Myspace, Linked IN, etc)? The tiles are ugly. Who did they do Usability testing with? And no Flash Support, while Android and soon, Web OS will have Flash support? Someone said it right- Copied all the bad bits from Apple and none of the good bits from anyone. I won't be standing in any line to get one of these. Looks like I'll be sticking with my Pre Plus for a while.

  52. Atonnis
    WTF?

    Hmm, fair?

    'Phone 7: Another Vista or another XP?'

    Erm...well, XP was absolutely dreadful when it was first released, and it took 2 service packs to make it livable.

    Vista was dreadful when it was released and it took only 1 service pack to make it livable (even if it's not that good overall).

    Isn't this a bit of an unfair comparison from the outset?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Vista Liveable?

      "Vista was dreadful when it was released and it took only 1 service pack to make it livable (even if it's not that good overall)."

      I bought a laptop which was quick enough, and had enough RAM to run with the included Vista.

      From day one it was a pile of crashy, bug-ridden shite.

      After months of fighting with it I installed a dodgy (but clean) fresh version.

      It was still crap. SP1 didn't help in the slightest.

      It's now running Win 7, and it's actually quite useable. Oh there are still plenty of things that break, or are a pain, but it works well enough for me and family to use, so it's staying.

      If Winmo7 is anything remotely like that - it's going to be at least a couple more iterations until it's even worth considering as a day to day phone.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I just saw a TV ad for Phone 7, with a "Use responsibly" tagline

    oh dear…

    Show us what it does. Show us how it's useful to us. Show us how it improves our lives. Show us why we should choose it over a rival.

    Don't show me people being so immersed in their phones that they've lost all touch with the outside world. And, most importantly, don't show me a man dropping his phone into a urinal.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Ho-hum

    Usual ragbag of half-baked and ill thought through ideas that characterises all of the products MS makes (as opposed to acquires by takeover).

    And what is the point of the little arrow in a circle on the home screen? All that screen estate to what purpose exactly? How long will it take the phone owner to learn what its pointing at? So its there for what? Casual users? So much for care in design.....

  55. Wibble

    No mention of curity features

    OK, someone with a Facebook fetish isn't concerned about security. However, as someone who eschews social networking as a future scourge that will blight careers, I'm interested in its security features.

    1- what's the lock like; is there a pin or password; limited number of guesses, then what?

    2- wiping data? Does it allow remote wiping? Does it wipe after 'x' failures?

    3- how's the data stored? Encrypted?

    4- backing up? Is this automatic from mTunes? Recovery?

    5- locate my MPhone?

    All of these points are missing from the article and are very important considering how much info one carries around in the average smartphone.

  56. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
    Gates Halo

    Thank you Microsoft!

    The missus was pondering a WP7 handheld, but you have saved me this nightmare! She's no fan of iTunes...and the reviews for WP7 are quite simply a joke. Now instead we have "his and hers smartphones." One device model - easier to support - easier to share accessories. The model? Oh, why it’s just a simple HTC…

    ...DESIRE.

    Cheers!

    1. dogged

      I hate to ruin your day, but...

      Assuming the Zune software is the same-ish as that for the ZuneHD, you only need one tiny registery hack and it's totally browsable via USB.

      And also available for backup like any other disk.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        @Dogged

        What does that have to do with anything I said again?

  57. mt1

    imap

    Why not turn imap on in gmail?

    hold on that would make thing easier cant have that

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not happy with the details?

    Of course you are not happy with the details. How else would MS sell you the next version, and the next, and the next, and the next, and the next.

    That is their business model.

    1. Ron Christian

      That business model worked in the past

      ...when Microsoft was the only game in town. They're not anymore.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    do we really need

    another walled garden? (and how large is the manure pile)

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    How about this

    How about a fucking phone that works everywhere, using either GPRS or 802.11? All I want is a quality phone that's mobile, that will make use of the most efficient and least expensive method to stay connected to "the network".

    I don't know what the general experience is for the typical UK or European cellular user is but in the States, every carrier sucks. Yes, AT&T covers 99% of the country, but it does so poorly! Verizon, Alltel (et. al.) aren't any better. And you could have the coolest phone with all the latest bells and whistles, but if you have worse than marginal coverage, what good is it?

  61. Ron Christian
    FAIL

    A couple of things

    This strikes me as the biggest disadvantages of the iphone -- no SD slots, no mass storage mode, no flash -- with the disadvantages of Windows Mobile -- a Start button, what sounds like a new graphical representation of cascading menus, and big areas of screen that don't convey useful information. Plus a few new wrinkles -- lack of backwards code compatibility, (probably necessary, but it will rankle) lack of background processes (on which even Apple finally relented) and an app store an order of magnitude less populated than either apple or google. As someone said recently "it's not even worth shooting".

    We know why mass storage access is forbidden -- MS is trying to capture the locked-down media market that Apple has had exclusively for so long. But they're doing this precisely at a time when the issue is being rendered irrelevant by the increasing availability of DRM-free content.

    Microsoft's biggest selling points -- Activesync compatibility, MS Office compatibility, are shared by most other smartphone platforms these days. (Or by corporate BB server in the case of Blackberry.) Winders compatibility is no longer an issue and for MS to continue to harp on this makes them sound foolish.

    "in a year or two it could be an impressive platform" -- does Microsoft really have a year or two? What advances will the competition make during that time? It's a race, and Microsoft spent the first few laps running the wrong direction. I think they have too much to make up, and in some cases they're trying to imitate the early mistakes of other companies, not realizing that they're really not features.

    Somewhat parenthetically, have we ever seen Balmer, Sculley, Berman, and Eisner in the same place at the same time? (And could we release a crocodile into the room? (Sorry, did I say that out loud?)) I wonder sometimes if they're all the same person.

  62. towerhil
    FAIL

    Well, we all seem to agree.

    @Matthew Barker- brilliant analogy! Are Microsoft the only people who don't realise Microsoft is dissembling, dissolving and imploding? I think it's fascinating that we've been around to watch the rise and fall of this company. I mean, this is the beginning of end isn't it. It's surely the end of their customers tether. I feel like the mother of a 30 yr old heroin addict who's promising me yet again that he'll quit.

    Microsoft actually want me to spend my data package downloading random facebook pictures and disregard the minor matter that I can't read my email? And they want me to plug my phone into the computer rather than use a memory card? I'd love to, but for reasons best known to itself, my Vista PC disconnects its wifi card if you plug a windows phone into it, and only sometimes updates the phone via activesync.

    And what frickin use is a smooth-flowing touchscreen if it's not taking me to the programmes I want to run? I would have to be out of my mind to buy this phone. And so would you!

    Maybe the only people who buy this will be people who've not had a windows phone before and get talked into it by a man called Lee at the Carphone Warehouse one Saturday afternoon. How could they show it off to their mates though? "Yeah, it's got all the latest restrictions" or "Man you gotta hear my new song. Do you have Zune? OK, you'll need download Zune." "The clever thing about the camera feature is its constantly taking pictures of the inside of my trouser pocket".

  63. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Advantage over Android is updates!

    Amazing how many people on here are saying the same old things about lack of USB mass storage support and so on.

    Here's a tip: don't buy it!

    Nobody has mentioned the one very big advantage with this platform, Microsoft updates the software via on-air updates. So you're no longer at the mercy of HTC and others to release the upgrades.

    Of course, I'm sure you'll not get updates for life. You'll probably still have to get another phone to move between WP7 and whatever is released next. It's not quite as good as Apple who give you about two major upgrades.

  64. Garibaldi
    Linux

    Pardon my unspoken french.

    Biggest problem with Microsoft -- as well as with other smartphone -- is that it doesn't have nice clean and easy sync apps. We need something simple, and easy like iTune.

    Fancy phone is no longer enough, it's how it communicates with computer that what we really need to know.

    I am a Linux user, I am not likely to buy this since Microsoft have insulted my community.

  65. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Flame

    Fischer Price phone for muppets!

    MS is dying a very, very slow painful death, this is just another nail in the coffin!

    It looks like something an 15 year-old design student at school would mock up for course work, the first thing that springs to mind, "My First Fischer Price Smart Phone".

    Android and iOS are the only players in the game. MS needs to stop arsing about and take stock, before someone starts paying less for their stock and they end up like DEC!

    I have my flame-retardant underwear, bring it on!

  66. bytesoup
    Joke

    Does it work with my linux PC?

    ... well someone had to ask... :-P

  67. Eddie Johnson
    Unhappy

    Comment #10001

    Needing a 100+ page document to explain why it's good tells you everything.

    If it was actually good, you would just pick it up and experience it.

    Kind of like how you've never even seen the online help for applications that are actually well written and intuitive.

  68. Mark Fenton
    FAIL

    I was going to buy one...

    ...but no. I don't want a toy phone. I want to be able to mount as USB drive on any computer I go to, I want to sync with Exchange and I don't have a Facebook account. I don't want a "social phone" I want a smartphone that I can use to do the tasks that I want it to...

    I had high hopes for Mobile 7, but this really blows.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    This is what happened

    Again, this is typical MS.

    I can't even stick up for them and say "Well, they realized too late that once again they've been left behind in the innovation department."

    They've simply "copied" others ideas, business models, and concepts, thrown them together into a new "Phone OS", and released a product "just to keep them in the race".

    break it down, typical MS, someone else spends mucho time and money coming up with some great things, and MS steals it, slaps some crap together, and calls it "their own".

    I think it's quite clear what's going on at MS, it has been for some time now.

  70. D. M
    WTF?

    target market?

    Did anyone at MS ever thought who would be the target market?

    Let's look at the current market, MS have three major competitors:

    Apple - people who buy iThingy are not going to buy anything else, regardless how much better other may offer, or broken their iToy might be.

    Google - Android have been raising star. Give it some time, it will only get better.

    RIM - BB is the king of business smart phone.

    So which market does MS have any chance to win? Even you are not Steve worshiper, you'd agree that Apple is untouchable in its own target market. RIM offers some of the best for business users, MS has no chance. With much retarded restrictions, do they really think they can fight Google?

    With the current market, MS doesn't have couple of years, they are already too far behind.

  71. Tempest
    Pint

    Better lean and mean XP that bloated Win 7

    Cute visuals cost in terms of performance and portable units require function more than pretty.

    Perhaps the answer would be allow users to select their preferred mode of operation which equates to minimal graphics but fast or slow and graphically rich.

  72. Jeff 38
    Thumb Down

    It's not XP or Vista.

    It's more like WinME.

  73. Ian 55
    FAIL

    So, nice UI but fail elsewhere

    Needs me to run Zune in order to talk to it? Game over.

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