Okay writing a blog post after around 18 months ! I guess i just have been very lazy, infact this alone took a week of lazy writing :). Anyway now to the post.
Have been reading several details on Windows Phone 7 Series lately. Here's my take on it. First of all it's a completely revamped UI, unlike any other windows phone. From the first impressions it seems visually stunning. It's minimal UI (like zune's), with just icons ('tiles' as they call them) on the home screen. Here is what i think are the goods and the bads about it.
1) Tiles - It's kind of icons which can be anything - shortcut to apps, playlist, contact, bookmark, widget or hubs (see 2) or just about anything. This is highly configurable which is great. Tiles are arranged in vertical order. There can be either 2 small tiles in 1 row or a single big tile in a row. All in all a really exciting concept.
2) Hubs - This is probably the most interesting concept in WMP7 series. Hubs as Microsoft describes it is 'an app that makes sense of your apps'. There are hubs for people, pictures, games, music/video, marketplace etc. Hubs have horizontal scrolling interface with scrollable data streams. Like the 'people' hub has updates of your contacts on gmail, exchange, facebook, twitter, live etc. Fairly similar to motoblur. 'pictures' hub gathers images from various sources local/live/cloud/other galleries. Where things get more interesting is that MS has allowed 3rd party apps to integrate with these hubs. So like you can have a image editor 'plugin' installed in the pictures hub to edit any image. Fairly cool feature that.
3) Fast processor, DirectX 9 support - It uses 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 256MB+ RAM and supports DirectX 9, good for gaming.
4) Nice integration with Xbox Live - WMP7 has been neatly integrated with Xbox Live. You can play Xbox Live games over it, earn achievement points for your Xbox Live acct, see notifications to play your turn in 'Turn based games' in games hub.
5) Interesting push notification system - Like iPhone, WMP7 is not going to support general multitasking so it provides a similar notification system instead where apps can pop up notifications of certain events. With an interesting addition of allowing even the foreground apps to do notification of events instead of doing refresh every few seconds (to save battery)
6) DivX support - It supports playback of DivX videos which is great.
7) Limited hardware specs - Microsoft has standardized the hardware specs on which WMP7 can be run (See details specs in the engadget link at the end). This is a good thing IMO as they would be able to push WMP7 updates quicker to all phones, unlike Android platform where it takes several months for an update to be available for a particular android phone.
1) No flash - Really ? Well atleast not initially, lets hope they add it soon.
2) No expandable memory - This might be a deal breaker for people who watch movies/videos extensively.
3) No marketplace - There's just app store like Apple's. I just hope it doesn't have same 'random' app rejections as we saw for iPhone apps. We are told they won't reject any app for duplication.
4) No copy paste - Why ! Just why ? No we don't buy the idea that copy paste is useless just because iPhone sold several million units without it.
5) No real multitasking - Again another imitation of Apple policies. Similar substitute in push notifications. Atleast we are told they will allow streaming apps to run in background, i sure hope that's the case !
6) Customization - It's unsure how many customization options it will have. Like to change theme, blocking updates of some select contacts in people hubs, or to have static tiles (to preserve battery)
After looking at this i am pretty impressed but i don't think i am going to fall for a WMP7 in near future atleast. Few reasons:
1) With all these live tiles and their background updates i am very skeptical about its battery life.
2) It's still several months away, and it's not sure how developers are going to embrace it. Let's see the kind of apps that come up for it.
3) Having used iPhone for almost 2 years i am tired to Apple's evilness and stubbornness to add basic stuff like flash, copy-paste. By the looks of it MSFT are thinking if it worked for Apple it can work for us too. Well atleast i am not in mood to go through same cycle again. I'll probably just grab an Android :)
4) Because this is a Microsoft thing ?
5) Last but not the least, infact the biggest reason for skipping WMP7 is the upcoming HTC EVO 4G !! Sensational specs, really looking forward to it.
Most of my review was based upon this engadget article. Hopefully i will be lot more regular in blogging in future :)