WP7 First Release - Good but ...
With WP7 my impression is that MS did a very good job on the first release but it was lacking in several aspects compared to the more mature iOS and even Android. MS hit the nail on the head by pursuing a truly different look and feel. MS's WP7 offering is truly differentiated out there. It's clean, it has elegance and it has a sophisticated feel to it. I was really curious to know what Tony thought of the new and upcoming release; here are the notes from our conversation.
WP7 Mango Release, It's Going to be Wicked Competition Out There
Fred: Hey Tony, let's talk Mango release, what's new?
Tony: Hey Fred, MS has made some great progress with Mango, both from OS internal services and from Applications. We still have the very slick user interface with the tile metaphor front and center. They have built more in the background and hooked it up with more services. WP7 tiles are really about getting more information that matters to you right away and no one out there does it as well as they do. Android and iOS will tell you how many emails you have. WP7, by adding a tile to the front screen, will tell you if you have missed a call or how many emails you have from that contact. I can no longer say I missed an email from my wife; it's right there on the front screen. They deliver on that better than anyone. This is not new in Mango but well worth mentioning again and they have made improvements to it.
Fred: Great - better access to the information you need now. Now when you say the additional services, how does this hook with the tiles and the overall platform?
Tony: Take the me tile for example - the one about me on my phone. With LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Windows Live now baked in the basic services, you can send status updates from there on various networks. It allows for simple, simple multi-network posts. And this is where you also go to get your what's nearby, what's around you.
Fred: So the phone itself is now plugged in the fire hose and presenting the information in its own design language.
Fred: What about the contacts of those new networks - are they making their way into the phone now?
Tony: I haven't checked. The Facebook integration has it. I would suspect Twitter and LinkedIn will be the same. This is really good. It reduces the amount of work I have to do to have all the contacts information in one place. The phone is now taking care of bringing that information to me. Not new or first by any means as WebOS had this padded done years ago, but very useful anyhow.
Fred: Basic interaction wise - anything worth mentioning?
Tony: Well YEAH! The biggest change is the ability to access other tasks. In the previous version, the navigation to other apps was pretty limited - too limited. Now, MS has implemented a way to switch to your opened applications very easily. This is the biggest interaction change they have done so far. It's very well done. You have a quick glance at all applications running. The animation switching is very well done.
Tony: Oh and another thing - if you have a few threads going in txt/msn, you can switch between them quickly; they are represented by unique screens you can switch to. This is with WP7. The design language is easy to understand and permeates all applications.
Fred: What about browsing?
Tony: Day and night. IE9 is so much better. It's more reliable and faster than the previous browser.
Fred: Any downsides you have experienced so far?
Tony: Maps for example seems to have taken a step backward - but again this is beta stuff so I would not hold it against them. Pictures - we still do not have the option to view per location; this is very useful and available on iOS for example.
Fred: So Tony what's the verdict?
Tony: I think MS is continuing on the right path with a much more capable Windows Phone in Mango and it will be a good addition to the competitive landscape with more phones available. The user experience is elegant and simple.
Fred: Thanks for all the fish @randomfishies!
Tony: No problem, my pleasure!