Windows Phone 7 Preview Early Word: Cautiously Optimistic

by Pedro Hernandez on July 19, 2010 · 0 comments

This Fall, Microsoft is about to jump into the competitive smartphone waters with Windows Phone 7. Once a leader in the space, the software giant has seen its market share erode, thanks mostly to aging software that failed to keep pace with Apple’s iPhone, RIM’s BlackBerry and the expanding Android handset universe.

Needless to say, as smartphones shoulder more and more of the consumer and business computing burden, grabbing and maintaining a healthy slice of this market is crucial for the software maker. In short, Windows 7 must deliver.

Luckily, early previews indicate that Microsoft is mostly on the right track. Sure, there are some maddening shortcomings (no multitasking, cut and paste…), but the ghosts of its lackluster Windows Mobile efforts seem largely exorcised.

For instance, Joshua Topolsky of Engadget digs on the zippy responsiveness of the mobile OS, logical arrangement of UI elements, a good software keyboard and the uniquely minimalist UI with subdued yet inspired use motion. Cnet’s Bonnie Cha finds a lot to like about its “hubs” organizational layout and its social networking prowess but worries that it might all be too little too late to catch up with rivals.

Boy Genius Report is encouraged by its Microsoft Office and Exchange integration, though its lack of remote email search is an appalling oversight. Music and multimedia also get a passing grade.

Of course, not everyone is smitten. Whereas many reviewers think the new UI is a breath of fresh air and generally a pleasure to use (though its got its quirks), InfoWorld’s Galen Gruman writes that “Windows Phone 7 is a waste of time and money,” UI and all. Arguing that since its saddled with so much old technology, it ought be taken out back and shot. Ouch!

Update: How could I forget Gizmodo?! The bottom line from reviewer Matt Buchanan is that “Windows Phone 7 is good. Really good.”

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