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Nokia's Windows comeback: Great but what's next?

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Reviewer's Notebook Back in February, people muttered that Nokia's new CEO Stephen Elop was a Trojan Horse sent to destroy the company and deliver the remains of the chopped up cadaver to Microsoft. Those mutterings continue. But having used Nokia's new Windows phone (here's my review) it doesn't look quite like that. Microsoft's software has given Nokia a quick and vital competitive advantage.

If it feels strange reading that – imagine how strange it is writing it. Microsoft steps in to make Nokia competitive. Let's let that sink in for a moment.

Nokia loyalists in recent years have had to put up with a lot of grief, as the once promising Symbian OS was bound up in spaghetti code, mired in Nokia's bureaucracy and had custard pie thrown at it in the form of poorly written applications. Nokia never shipped a competitive email client with the S60, and made do with memory-guzzling and barely functional widgets for its social media story.

Windows Phone really excels at both. The Office functionality is better than anything cobbled together by QuickOffice. Photos and videos are handled as well or better than before. And the user interface is clean fast and functional.

Windows Phone is not only one of the most original pieces of design Microsoft has done – perhaps the best – it has executed it really well. This is a strong candidate for the best piece of technology Microsoft has ever produced. The platform also has an ace up its sleeve: the remarkable People application.

Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phone 7.5 Mango handset

I'm most certainly not the target audience for a social networking-based app. Perhaps you're not either. Yet, even so, while writing the review, I found a lot of utility from a piece of software that united contacts with their recent communications with me.

I don't need to see all of someone's Facebook Wall; to be honest, I don't need to see any of it. But a record of SMSes and recent emails and prior meetings is useful when you're about to call them and catch up. There's huge value here if your online social networking is just the obligatory professional presence on LinkedIn. Or even if you don't use any social network at all.

No, this isn't an original idea and applications from Act! (24 years old this year) to SalesForce take the same idea and build on it. This is simply so well done, it's useful right away.

So all in all, you can't really see Mango as anything other than a huge step up.

So what now?

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