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Windows Phone 7: Hands-On

Interface T-Mobile AT&T HTC 7 Pro Liveblog Comments  33  

Oct 11, 2010, 8:40 AM   by Eric M. Zeman & Rich Brome   @phonescooper
updated Oct 11, 2010, 1:53 PM

Hands-on with the full range of Microsoft Windows Phone 7 devices announced this week, including the HTC HD7 and Surround, LG Quantum, Samsung Focus, and Dell Venue Pro.

Windows Phone 7 is a wholly new user interface from Microsoft. It is based on tiles, hubs, and constantly-adjusting content that makes up the home screen. Users can change the layout of the home screen to suit their needs, and populate it with any number of tiles, each with its own application, shortcut or live information. In fact, Microsoft calls them "Live Tiles."

The tiles are laid out two-by-two in a lengthy column that stretches down the screen. Flicking up or down sends the home screen zipping in either direction. Swiping the main menu to the left opens a single-file list view of all the applications and settings. It is a long list, but you can scroll up and down quickly.

Pressing any of the tiles, and the whole UI folds over to the left and offers rich images/graphics, usually with a large-font text list. It's animation heavy; not everyone will like it.

Some of the apps let you continue to swipe sideways to access more content and menus.

The Hubs are the major organizational themes of WP7, such as People, Office, Pictures, Music & Video. Each of these is a department unto itself wherein lies all the associated apps, settings, and content related to that feature.

The bottom bar contains up to three icons with your primary controls / option buttons. These could be key actions like "reply" or "new". Sometimes the icons are cyptic. In some apps, there will be also be three little dots that appear in the bottom right corner, for additional options.

One really odd thing we noticed is that the screen only rotates to landscape view in some of the applications, but not nearly all. For example, the home screen works in portrait orientation only. Sometimes, apps will rotate only on the deepest screen, but not at the top level. For example, lists of media work only in portrait, but viewing photos and video can rotate. That's somewhat expects. However, oddly, this applies to apps like People as well. The contact list works only in portrait, although individual contact cards can rotate to landscape. It's a bit inconsistent and weird. This is something I hope Microsoft fixes.

The browser (based IE 7) performed well enough. Double-tap to zoom in or zoom out, and multi-touch (pinch-to-zoom) is supported. Scrolling, zooming, and animations are all smooth. However, if you reorient the phone from portrait to landscape, you lose the all the navigation controls for the browser, which makes it less functional.

The Windows Phone Marketplace was active on the devices, but the pre-launch offerings were bare. Microsoft has said that there will be apps when the platform becomes available to general consumers. Navigating the games, apps, utilities, etc, though, was easy enough.

Native apps - the Tiles and Hubs - all worked and loaded almost instantly. They were extremely quick to jump to life and there were no delays. Third-party apps, however, were a lot slower. The demo Twitter client, and demo Fandago apps, for example, took nearly 30 seconds to open. Things were fast once the app started, but the launch delay was painful.

In sum, the new UI feels slick and polished. The architecture and layout is completely different from the old Windows Mobile, and that's a good thing. What's most absent is list after list after list of folders, and files to interact with. It's based heavily on graphics, and larger, easy-to-digest groupings. That's all good.

Will it be a good competitor to iOS and Android? Well, it easily surpasses the usability of Symbian, though webOS and RIM OS users might have enough available to them to prevent them from switching.

Windows Phone 7 UI  

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Comments

This forum is closed.

This forum is closed.

Dizzle1

Oct 18, 2010, 1:26 PM

Data Plans

With this phone constantly updating and AT&T not having unlimited internet, I wonder how they are going to handle this phone. I think it will be better on TMO or Sprint.
bkw79

Oct 11, 2010, 8:57 PM

I can't take Windows Phone 7 Seriously.....Yet

No multitasking, and no copy and paste? What year is this again? Didn't we already have to go through that kind of crap with the Iphone since 2007? And here it is, the end of 2010, and you do this?
Copy and paste is coming in early 2011.

This is a whole new OS from the ground up. Frankly, it has more features than I expected. Android was not this well-rounded and feature-complete in version 1.0, or even 1.5, for that matter.

I'm not saying...
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...
bkw79 said:
No multitasking, and no copy and paste? What year is this again? Didn't we already have to go through that kind of crap with the Iphone since 2007? And here it is, the end of 2010, and you do this?


I ...
(continues)
...
Yes, copy paste is important, but it's also on the way. Android has copy paste but it's hardly the best implementation of it. (I wouldn't say apple's is either.. it asks me to copy things FAR too often)

More important (at least when it comes to a...
(continues)
...
Didn't we already have to go through that kind of crap with the Iphone since 2007


#correction;

We had to go through that crap IN 2007, not SINCE 2007. Using the word "since" implies that the iPhone still does not have co...
(continues)
...
Jackswiffy

Oct 13, 2010, 12:30 PM

Windows Phone 7 on T-Mobile HD2

Does anyone know if 7 will be available for HD2? I am thinking about putting Android on it, but want to wait to see what 7 brings to the HD2.
Thanks.
I dont believe they are going to put it on the HD2.
Well, yes and no. The Windows Phone 7 version of the HD2 is called the HD7. You'll have to buy a new phone.

(Although if you're feeling adventurous and want to void your warranty & risk bricking your phone... the hacking community may whip up some ...
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dmystic1

Oct 15, 2010, 10:03 PM

HTC 7 Pro = Yuck!!

OK so I have Sprint and want to try a Win 7 Phone, and from reports the HTC 7 Pro goes to Sprint. Not only do I have to wait till sometime next year, but it does not look that appealing to me. Now I'm leaning toward jumping ship to att for the Samsung Focus. Crying or Very sad
Jonathanlc2005

Oct 14, 2010, 8:43 PM

no video?

i need to see the UI in a video
Carpe_Everything_baby

Oct 11, 2010, 5:10 PM

What is up with this information??????

16 gb internal for the HTC surround, what about the other 2 ATT phones? no info on that?

No front facing camera on any ATT phone, really?
Carpe_Everything_baby said:
16 gb internal for the HTC surround, what about the other 2 ATT phones? no info on that?

No front facing camera on any ATT phone, really?


iPhone 4
...
Carpe_Everything_baby said:
16 gb internal for the HTC surround, what about the other 2 ATT phones? no info on that?

No front facing camera on any ATT phone, really?


They have the iPhone 4
muchdrama

Oct 11, 2010, 4:42 PM

Wow!

Dynamite coverage, guys.

My contract can't end fast enough...
muchdrama said:
Dynamite coverage, guys.

My contract can't end fast enough...


Yeah, I was thinking about an Epic when my upgrade comes around, but I'm impressed with WinMo7. Depending on how it turns out, I may ...
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PaulAlcohol

Oct 13, 2010, 5:16 PM

The Way I see it

Windows is trying. For that I tip my hat ... problem is I'm not wearing a hat. This entire idea of another market to compete with Android and Apple ... nobody needs it. Maybe it'll be a contender in the future, but considering their choice to not include "cut and paste" (though it will arrive shortly) seems like a red flag at the business they're running.

Before I can totally bash this, however, I will need to play around with the different phones, see if I like them or if I'm going to stick with Android.

Anyways, that's my two cents.
Tyro1

Oct 12, 2010, 2:01 PM

Samsung Focus w/QSD8250??

This appears to be a fantastic device and I would purchase it in a heartbeat, if it weren't for one thing; a QSD8250 Snapdragon processor? WTH? Not that a 1ghz processor is anything to scoff at, but come on, a first gen. Snapdragon that was released in late 2008! This would also mean that the GPU would be the Adreno 200, which if I understand correctly, has only a fraction of be processing power of the SGX535 found in the iPhone 3GS for example. The Galaxy S Captivate running Samsung's Hummingbird has the SGX540 GPU which out performs even the iPhone 4. The fact that Samsung would use a relatively antiquated processor/gpu in a device with so much potential, running such a highly anticipated spanking new OS, is just mind boggling and for me ...
(continues)
I agree that they COULD put a better processor in it, but from what I've seen of these phones the 1GHZ processor works very very well with this OS, as well as keeping a processor that works well, rather than one that may be overkill will keep the pric...
(continues)
Janet55

Oct 11, 2010, 10:47 PM

love iphone

Far more phones in the market I would like to choos iPhone, I love my iPhone, I think no one can exceed it, and many are after Apple, design, time...As so many ones have got the iPhones, and totally sucked in it(at least Im sucked in its movies and videos watching on the go with the help of iFunia Video Converter, and Facetime with my friends), the others come into the market one by one.
And no one cares. If you're not going to comment on the story at hand, don't bother posting.

I'm glad you have a device you like, but keep it to the iphone news topics
 
 
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