Feeds

Phone 7: Another Vista or another XP?

We scratch beneath the surface and find a bit of both

High performance access to file storage

Review 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 beautiful touches - from the dots that fly around the place showing activity, to the elegant animations bringing a minimalist interface to life - the whole fails to satisfy entirely and one can't help feeling there's still a lot of work to be done.

Microsoft WinPho 7

Microsoft has spent a great deal of time making sure its baby gets everyone's attention; reviewers were required to attend a half-day briefing to ensure they understood the motivation behind every nuance of the interface. Just in case they dozed off, MS helpfully provided a 107-page reviewers' guide. One can hardly fault a company for providing dedicated support, but it's indicative of how important it is to Redmond that Windows Mobile 7 is loved by all.

And there's a lot to love, with applications heavily integrated and tied (or locked) to cloud services from Microsoft and its partners. But before we get into the interface and what's behind it, we'll start with the hardware, which is mandated on every Windows Phone 7 device.

The Hardware

Every Windows Phone 7 must have three buttons on the front, providing Back, Search and Start (which means Home, but Microsoft insists on calling it "Start"). Back and Search are context-sensitive, but Start always takes you back to the tiled home screen.

On the side are a couple of volume keys and 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.

Microsoft WinPho 7

Microsoft makes much play of the camera button; every phone will have at least five megapixels and a flash, and pressing the hardware button at at any point causes the camera to jump into life regardless of what else is going on - even if the phone has been PIN locked, though you'll have to unlock it before you can save the photograph.

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.

High performance access to file storage

Next page: Step into my world

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.