Windows Phone 7 a month later; HD7, WP7 OS, and top 10 apps

Windows Phone 7 a month later; HD7, WP7 OS, and top 10 apps

Summary: Windows Phone 7 has been out for just over a month and I take a look back at the HTC HD7, Windows Phone 7 OS, and my favorite 10 apps from the 2,815 available at this time.


It has been just about a month since I first started using a T-Mobile HTC HD7 (first week with an eval unit and then my own) and I thought it would be helpful to post more thoughts on the device, Windows Phone 7, and my top 10 apps. Microsoft was very focused on developers and launched in the U.S. on 8 November with more than 1,000 apps in the Marketplace. Today, we see over 2,815 apps in the Marketplace which is something that was never achieved in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile store (looks to be about 1,400 apps there).

T-Mobile HTC HD7

The T-Mobile HTC HD7 appears to be very similar to the hardware of the HTC HD2 and from talking with local T-Mobile store representatives this may be causing people to hesitate with an HD7 purchase. The HTC HD2 was a great piece of hardware, but after a few weeks the issues with WM 6.5 overcame the hardware and turned the HD2 into a device that people avoided in many cases.

The HD7 is a decent quality device, but is not as good as it could be. My back kickstand piece is offset a bit, the volume rocker button fits loosely in the opening and rattles a bit, there looks to be two stereo speakers on the front above and below the display but this is just a visual effect with only a mono speaker on the device, there is only 16GB available with no memory expansion capability, the camera suffers from the pink tint problem, and battery life is pretty poor.

The display looks great even though it is older TFT LCD technology (viewable in sunlight too), the HD7 feels great in your hand with a slim form factor, and the internals and OS allow it to be extremely snappy. It seems that HTC took an existing device and tweaked it just a bit to run Windows Phone 7 rather than really focusing on creating an outstanding original Windows Phone 7 device for T-Mobile. I was able to pick mine up for $200 and for this price I am pleased with the HD7.

Windows Phone 7

This newest operating system from Microsoft may not have everything you want or need to convince you to leave iOS or Android, but it is pretty amazing and a huge surprise coming from Microsoft. Everyone I have showed it to has been impressed by the snappiness and responsiveness of the menus, animations, and touch sensitivity of the display. I have been testing versions of Windows Phone 7 for months now and it has been very stable and reliable. The only issue I have seen with the stability of the OS is the freezing of the Marketplace where you need to turn off the device and back on again to access and use the Marketplace.

Pleasures of WP7: I love the speed of the operating system, ability to pin items to the Start screen, ability to launch the camera with the button when the device is locked, and the Zune integration. Email is awesome on Windows Phone 7 and IMHO I find the email experience on Windows Phone 7 to be better than what I have experienced on every other mobile platform. The web browser is quite good and meets my needs.

Frustrations with WP7: I find the lack of true multitasking to be a bit of a pain, primarily with Twitter where the app refreshes whenever you come back to it after leaving to do something else. I would prefer to see better Twitter integration, similar to Facebook, or support for multitasking of apps. I also find the lack of copy & paste to be a weakness that we already know will be addressed in a future update. Other areas that I would like to see addressed include custom ringtones, ability to download podcasts without needing to connect to a PC or Mac, and turn-by-turn directions in Bing Maps.

I doubt these functions are coming to Windows Phone 7, but I would like to see a way to organize the list of apps not on the Start screen in a way I want them to be shown with the possibility of support for folders and subfolders.

It seems that many people will find Windows Phone 7 acceptable for their needs while power users may still want more out of their devices at this time. I find myself bouncing my SIM between my HD7 and Nokia N8 and with a solid update from Microsoft I am sure I would be happy with Windows Phone 7 as a daily driver.

What are you happy with and frustrated with on Windows Phone 7?

My top 10 Windows Phone 7 apps

I have been tracking the number and type of apps available for Windows Phone 7 devices and for most of this month there were more apps in the UK and other countries where Windows Phone 7 launched first. We now see there are more apps in the USA, currently the Bing Visual Search site shows 2,815 apps in the US.

Looking through my HTC HD7, I see I now have installed over 45 apps and keep finding new apps to try every few days. Some of the apps are from HTC, many are games (12), and several I have paid for (6). While there are some very high quality games and apps, I have seen a whole lot more 3rd party apps from independent developers rather than higher end apps from major software publishers. I am actually quite satisfied with the current selection and there are only a few apps I am really looking forward to and missing on my HD7. Microsoft and developers have addressed most all of my needs and desires with the current crop of apps.

Here are my current top 10 Windows Phone 7 apps, in no particular order:

  • Twitter: Twitter client
  • Flowerz: Addictive puzzle game to play in line
  • Wonder Reader: Best Google Reader RSS app I have found
  • Weatherbug: Good weather app with Live Tile
  • Poynt: Good app for finding places, movie times, and lowest gas prices
  • Star Wars: Battle for Hoth: Good tower defense game for the Star Wars fan like myself
  • Slacker/ Decent streaming alternatives to integrated Zune player
  • Need for Speed Undercover: Enjoyable racing game
  • Endomondo: Used to track my jogging
  • GoVoice: Google Voice app I use primarily for my voicemail

And here are apps I look for every few days and hope to see soon on Windows Phone 7:

  • Evernote
  • Kindle
  • Nook
  • Angry Birds

What are your favorite apps and what apps are you looking forward to on WP7?

Topics: Software, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Windows

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  • RE: Windows Phone 7 a month later; HD7, WP7 OS, and top 10 apps

    • Custom Ring Tones?

      One of the plusses for Wp7 is no custom ring tones. I can only hope the practice will spread so I can be spared the late night ads for stupid ring tones.<br><br>I mean you have around 200 to choose from, do you really need to embarass yourself by what you think is the latest cool ringtone?<br><br>Really happy with the phone, gives me info at a glance, seamlessly integrates with Exchange, Shared Docs, Windows Live and Facebook etc. It's also the most elegant and easy to use UI around.
  • RE: Windows Phone 7 a month later; HD7, WP7 OS, and top 10 apps

    The HD7 is not the best of WP7. Nor is any of HTC's offerings.
    People should consider the
    Samsung Focus,
    LG Optimus 7
    or with hardware keyboard
    LG Quantum
    Dell Venue (as soon as they put aout a bug free version)
    • Infuriating shortcomings

      @IE9 - Many of those phones have bugs, not just the Dell.<br><br>There's an alarm clock bug that crashes the phone when you try to disable the alarm (the issue is well covered in the media). Not enough testing time was given.<br><br>Infuriating features: Emails in WP7 don't automatically download. Instead, it only brings in the first 50 kilobytes.<br><br>Why is there no 'Weekly' view in Calendar? Why is there no Missed call list (instead you get a combined list of inbound / outbound / missed, which you can't separate).<br><br>Windows Phone 7 is troublesome connecting to WiFi networks - you can't connect to a static IP (my WiFI uses static IP), or to any hotspot with a hidden name (SSID).<br><br>The range of Windows Phone 7 apps isn't there. 3rd party apps can't use gyroscopes or compass, so you don't get the myriad of geolocating Augmented Reality apps that you see on Android and iPhone.
      • RE: Windows Phone 7 a month later; HD7, WP7 OS, and top 10 apps

        So what? That's an HTC bug and I see many Android phones with issues.

        Troll like you should go away.
  • WP7 issues and its promotion

    According to <a href=>this article</a>, rumor has it that the next WP7 update will be massive, and should address just about all of your concerns. Notwithstanding the above, apps reloading every time you go back to them, sounds more like deficiencies with the programs, not with the OS.

    I must say I'm uncomfortable with the WP7 ad campaign. I think it's a bit too cute. I believe MS should be promoting WP7's many facets - e.g. it has the best app model in the way of hubs; it has the best business user experience, the best gaming experience, the best entertainment experience, the best overall design, the most intuitive design, etc. Also MS really should show off the beautiful interfaces of the devices' OS and apps. The general appeal of MS products, is that they have many facets that appeal to a broad range of people. WP7 ads should reflect this fact. Also, why is T-Mobile not advertising any WP7 phones on TV? Why doesn't MS strike a deal with T-Mobile to do something like subsidize the promotion of its WP7 phones over Android phones? Also MS could do ads showing ordinary people reacting surprised and positively when using WP7 phones. I largely agree with <a href=>this article</a>, that MS may not have taken the best approach emphasizing the "glance and go" aspect of WP7. I believe MS should just say that WP7 has the best smartphone experience overall and in many particular areas, and I believe MS should simply show off the OS' beautiful interface in its commercials.
    P. Douglas
    • Reading anecdotal evidence that doesn't bode well

      @P. Douglas <br>I've read some comments to a couple stories on other sites of WP7 customers walking in to an AT&T or T-Mobile store, asking to see a WP7, and having the clerk literally try to talk them out of it and to buy an iPhone or Android phone instead.<br><br>It is funny because it reminds me of the major complaint that Apple zealots had about Macs languishing in some corner of CompUSA where people come in to buy a Mac only to have the salesperson try to convince them that a Windows PC was better.<br><br>MS needs to take some of the money that they've set aside for WP7 and close this hole fast. All the TV and print commercials won't do you a lick of good if the person at the cash register starts pushing your customers to the competition.
      • RE: Windows Phone 7 a month later; HD7, WP7 OS, and top 10 apps

        @NonZealot The funny thing is, this is only one experience, but the first person that came up to help me when I came into an AT&T Store pushed me towards the Windows Phone or the iPhone because the Android "lacks the polish of those options"

        A very minor experience, but actually it is noticeable in store. But also, on the original remark about the TV ads, keep in mind their campaigns come in series, such as the evolution of the Bing ads, which now have more content over "Search overload" pushes, and Windows shifting from "I'm a PC and I'm not a stereotype" to "Windows 7 was my idea" to now the Windows 7 cloud stuff.

        Give them time, and I'm sure some focus on the actual phone could come.
      • RE: Windows Phone 7 a month later; HD7, WP7 OS, and top 10 apps

        @NonZealot - I've seen completely the opposite. I've been into several AT&T stores over the last few weeks and also to the new Microsoft store in Bellevue, WA. Most of the AT&T stores are reporting that they can't keep the phones on the shelves and they're selling in considerable quantities. When I visited the Microsoft store, I counted at least 40-50 Samsung Focuses being sold in a 10 minute period and I know lots of other phones were being sold while I was there.

        We'll have to wait to see what kinds of real numbers are eventually published, but I do not expect them to be disappointing. They won't be out-selling Android or iPhone yet ... but they'll be respectable.
      • RE: Windows Phone 7 a month later; HD7, WP7 OS, and top 10 apps

        There are a lot of inexperienced people working in phone stores. They lack credibility.
        Schoolboy Bob
      • RE: Windows Phone 7 a month later; HD7, WP7 OS, and top 10 apps

        @NonZealot *and* all the respondents.

        Been in a couple of different AT&T stores, at one store the people were less than enthsuiastic (had one guy actually tell me "We expect WP7 to fail and be pulled from the shelves.") and in another store the people were quite willing to help with whatever questions I had with regard to WP7.

        It's the people in the stores, not the devices that are failing.
      • Odd.. I haven't had that experience.

        I've stopped by a number of T-Mo and AT&T stores/kiosks to take a look at the phones and at no point did the clerk in question try to steer me away from them.

        There was ONE exception - Radio Shack. I stopped by there while waiting for a perscription to get filled at the pharmacy near by. They didn't have ANY Win Phone 7 units on display. The clerk said they have yet to get the dummy phones in the store. Gotta wonder what phones they would remove from active display given there wasn't much free space on the display for one phone, let alone four new ones. The clerk was quite helpful - he was more than happy to drag one out from the back IF I was interested enough to buy one. Maybe there's a bit of corporate bias there...?

        At every store, the clerks have reported the sales have been brisk. They didn't give me exact numbers, but they did say they were selling quite well.
  • RE: Windows Phone 7 a month later; HD7, WP7 OS, and top 10 apps

    I'm a huge fan of Need for Speed. My most recent WP7 app favorite is Cocktail Flow.
  • Moving up from the BlackBerry Bold 9700

    I upgraded to the HD7 from the BB Bold 9700 and I couldn't be happier. As a .NET developer I'm VERY happy with the API, especially for action based games, and am about to upload my first game to the marketplace after only about 5-6 days of coding. WP7 definitely has a bright future.

    I do agree that the advertising campaign has been pretty weak thus far though. We need an advertising campaign worthy of such an excellent device!
  • RE: Windows Phone 7 a month later; HD7, WP7 OS, and top 10 apps

    I have an HD7 and I am very happy with it...With future updates that are suppose to be coming in January will have me with just about everything I need...If what suppose to be coming is true. I would like to see a nice messenger app and sports app such as espn.
    • RE: Windows Phone 7 a month later; HD7, WP7 OS, and top 10 apps

      @chet1960 We definitely could use a true Microsoft version of Windows Live Messenger. I'm sure that's coming soon.
      • Live Messenger

        @Tiggster Isn't it odd that they released a Messenger app for Zune HD but not WP7? I wonder if they're beta testing the app on Zune users :P
      • RE: Windows Phone 7 a month later; HD7, WP7 OS, and top 10 apps

        @ericesque It will come. Just hasn't happened yet.
      • RE: Windows Phone 7 a month later; HD7, WP7 OS, and top 10 apps

        @Tiggster WLM system has become a mess. They should give it a fresh restart and redesign the whole system for mobile use (just like BBm or Whatsapp) instead.
    • RE: Windows Phone 7 a month later; HD7, WP7 OS, and top 10 apps

      HD7 owner as well. Totally agree with you.