7 Most Impressive Features of Windows Phone 7

By soumitra, Gaea News Network
Saturday, February 27, 2010

Windows Mobile is almost dead now. But it seems that Windows Phone 7 will keep alive the hope of Microsoft to enter the smartphone OS market arena. The Windows Phone 7 series, codenamed “Photon” was revealed during the Mobile World Congress 2010 in Barcelona. The new mobile OS is nothing like the old Windows Mobile and it seems that they have done it starting from the scratch and it must be said that the company has learned from its mistakes. Though it still needs some polishing to be done on the interface and some other things, there some basic features of the system that caught our eye. Here are 7 features of Windows Phone 7 that impresses me most.


1. Unique Hub based Interface Design

Let’s admit it. We are tired of seeing the grid based app icon layout. Apple pioneered it at first. Then everyone copied it from them. Even Google is not an exception of that. But there are some certain problems with the grid-of-apps layout. When the number of apps increase and it becomes necessary to create multiple pages to accommodate all the apps, it becomes a bit tiresome to find the desired app.

Rather than following the proven design to organize the apps, Microsoft created its own Metro Interface which seems to be a basic permutation of the existing Zune HD interface. There are six hubs, namely, People, Pictures, Games, Music + Videos, Marketplace and Office. Though you might argue that this is not ‘unique’ as this makes use of the old tried and tested hierarchical organization with sections and subsection, but I must say that this is certainly not a copy-paste job following what others are doing. I can’t help but love the panoramic menu system.

2. Xbox Live

Microsoft has understood that today mobile phones are vastly used as gaming devices and currently there is almost no market for a separate handheld gaming device. Gaming is perhaps one of the most important factors behind the iPhone’s success. With the introduction of Xbox Live, it is clear that Microsoft has big plans for the phones to be used as gaming devices. The Xbox Live integration will allow your phone to be tied to your Xbox Live account. You can earn achievements, link up with friends and multiplayer turn based games. You can also retain your avatar using the platform. There are still no specific title but the platform surely has the potential to do good.

3. Music Player

The Music and Video Hub acts as a Zune HD within the phone. The Zune HD owners will feel at home with its interface and Windows Phone 7 just follows every feature of the player. There are quick access to music, video, radio, podcasts and the Zune marketplace. The homepage makes an automated history of the most played contents and there are even the apps for music.

4. Multitouch

Yeah, Microsoft has joined the trend at last. Currently, every standard mobile OS such as Apple iPhone OS, Google Android or Palm WebOS have it. Microsoft is late to the party bit it is always better to be late than never. The Windows Phone 7 now offers true multi touch support for best browsing experience. There is the much needed pinch to zoom capability that adds fluidity in navigating the pages that are not explicitly built to be viewed in mobile.

5. Start Screen

The start screen of the Windows Phone 7 will offer shortcuts of the most frequently used apps and there will phone dialer and text messaging to individual contacts. The pictures will change with your most recent facebook photos. This new feature is named by Microsoft as ‘live tiles’.

6. Strict Hardware Recommendation

The earlier versions of Windows Mobile were available for almost every manufactured device. If you want a Windows Mobile license, it was as easy as abc. Due to this reason, there are some phones available on the market that cannot handle Windows Mobile properly because of their underpowered processors. But this is not the case for Windows Phone 7. Microsoft has set a strict hardware restriction on every mobile devices that chooses to run Windows Phone 7. This measure will ensure that only the phones bearing Windows Phone 7 can handle it properly. There also some other ‘must have’s for Windows Phone 7. This includes dedicated hardware buttons for home, search and back; 800 X 400 pixels 4 point capacitive screen for multitouch support; compass, accelerometer and even an FM Radio.

7. App Development

The Windows Phone 7 applications will be based on Silverlight, XNA and .NET Compact framework. The primary tools that will be used for development is Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2010 and the Expression Blend.

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