In talking to different people about why they should own a Windows Phone, I did some research and have found that no one has written a post on this topic.
First, however, I want to clear up some common misconceptions that I hear in the marketplace.
- Windows Phone is NOT Windows Mobile. These are two completely different mobile operating systems, and Windows Phone has been redesigned from the ground up.
- Windows Phone can’t be any good because it doesn’t have as many apps as iPhone or Android. If you’re rating an entire platform solely based on the number of apps in its marketplace, you’re doing it wrong. All the platforms have really good apps and all the platforms have those apps that are full of epic fail.
- Don’t pay attention to what the sales reps at the carriers say. They don’t know of which they speak. I visited 10 T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon stores here in Phoenix, and only one guy from one carrier even knew what Windows Phone was and knew correct factual information about it.
Second, set aside all preconceived notions about a) Windows Phone and b) Microsoft.
Alright, now that the disclaimers are out of the way, let’s move on to the fun stuff.
So, what is Windows Phone 7? Here’s the answer. Windows Phone 7 is Microsoft’s new mobile operating system. Redesigned from the ground up with all new features and an innovative user interface, Windows Phone 7 is the newest entry in the ever expanding smartphone market.
Windows Phone 7 features a UI called “Metro.” Metro is designed to be a glance and go interface. By bringing the information that matters the most (unread emails, missed calls, unread text messages) to the forefront, users don’t have to spend a lot of time searching for information. A key part of Metro, is Live Tiles. Live Tiles take the tile for an application on the home screen and provide always update information. Some examples of this usage are The Weather Channel app which provides the current temperature on its tile and Beezz which will show you the number of unread tweets in your timeline. If you really want to dive in and learn more about Metro, I highly recommend reading Microsoft’s UI Design and Interaction Guide for Windows Phone 7 document. It goes into a lot of detail about what Metro is.
What sets Windows Phone 7 apart from the pack are its features. Let’s look at those now.
- Zune integration – Every Windows Phone is a Zune and has the ability to connect to Microsoft’s Zune Pass service. Unlimited music across your phone (on Wi-Fi and 3G), your computer, and Xbox 360. How cool is that?
- Xbox Live integration – Many games available for Windows Phone tie into Xbox Live. This means that things like achievements, avatars, leaderboards, messaging and more are available directly in Windows Phone.
- Cloud integration – Windows Phone integrates with Facebook, Google, Windows Live services like Hotmail and SkyDrive, and coming in the fall is integration with Facebook chat, Windows Live Messenger and Twitter. Contacts are automatically synced to Windows Live or Google, and pictures can be sent to SkyDrive as they are being taken.
- Bing integration – Every Windows Phone is required to have a dedicated search button. This search button connects to Bing and provides an awesome search experience. Using the built-in GPS, Bing provides local search and can then provide driving directions to your destination. Bing also provides web and news searches as well.
- Office integration – Windows Phone features native Office integration. Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote, and Outlook are all available on Windows Phone. This provides native support for viewing and editing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations on the go. For those in enterprise environments, access to SharePoint document libraries is also integrated.
- Voice Search – With Windows Phone, you can use voice search commands to call someone, locate a business in your neighborhood, or open applications. My favorite part about this is that when you want to locate a business in neighborhood all you have to say is “Find a McDonalds in Phoenix” and it will open Bing directly to the local pane and show a map of the McDonalds near you. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s simple.
Microsoft has done a lot of things right with Windows Phone 7. They’ve provided deep rich integration with the services we all use on a daily basis, designed an innovative user experience, and with today’s announcement of what is coming in the next release of Windows Phone (available for all Windows Phone devices), have upped their game even further.
I strongly recommend that you visit your local cell phone provider and get hands on with a Windows Phone.
Microsoft’s Windows Phone website – http://www.windowsphone.com