Top 10 features of Windows Phone 7

Windows Phone 7 is out in Technical Preview form and being tested by a number of people. With over a week under my belt, there are several aspects that I appreciate and a few that are missing.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

I posted my in-depth Windows Phone 7 Technical Preview Guide three days ago and have now passed the one week mark with the phone serving as one of my primary devices. The phone is performing very well and I am already making current device purchase decisions to get myself into a position to buy one from T-Mobile. I wanted to go ahead and list the top 10 features and functions that I am enjoying on the Samsung Windows Phone 7 device while also listing those that could make the list at the time of release.

As you know from reading the various articles on Windows Phone 7, this Technical Preview is quite an improved version compared to what people have seen at trade shows earlier this year. Nearly every person who has used one of these developer phones has said that the OS is very good and looks promising. Microsoft has their work cut out for them to address copy-paste and multi-tasking while also spreading the word about their new mobile OS, which is something they have not been able to do in the past with Zune HD, Windows Mobile, and other technology. They do pretty well with the Xbox so should probably be looking at that team for help.

Here are my top 10 features and functions found in the current Technical Preview of Windows Phone 7:

10. Smooth transitional user interface 9. Informative lock screen and auto-hidden top status bar 8. Good Office integration and support 7. Bing search page and functionality 6. Easy setup for Google, Windows Live, Yahoo! Mail, and others 5. Functional QWERTY keyboard 4. Cool camera software 3. Tellme voice search 2. Powerful Outlook email, calendar, and contacts client 1. Zune HD functionality

Thoughts on numbers 6-10

I personally like using the Metro UI and the partial words lets me know there is more out there to look at. One glance at the lock screen and I can see the date and time, upcoming appointments, wireless network status, any notifications I need to address, and more. I like that I only see the clock up top unless I slide down to see a few more pieces of status data. Office is fairly well integrated and I look forward to testing out SharePoint support. Bing Search is a beautiful experience and I find the results to be well laid out and accurate.

Thoughts on numbers 1-5

Gmail and Google fans are going to be happy to know setting these services up on a WP7 device are as easy as a Google Android device, with support for even more services out of the box. I am able to FLY on the QWERTY keyboard and think it could get even better with some tap and hold number support. The camera software is quite functional and works "above the lock" so that you can grab your phone and take photos without every unlocking the display. Pictures you took appear in the same roll as you take photos so you can easily jump to a photo you just took or capture the next one. Tellme voice search is very accurate and a handy feature to have. Windows Mobile has always given you the best native Outlook support and this continues in Windows Phone 7 so it isn't all focused on the consumer. If you like the Zune HD (you will learn to like it if you buy a WP7 device) then you will love it on a WP7 device. There are some things lacking at this time (such as Smart DJ), but we still have a few months to wait until we see a shipping product.

What is still missing?

The two most obvious glaring issues are the lack of copy-paste and the limited multi-tasking. You can already select a word and use the cursor so it shouldn't be that much effort for Microsoft to get some developers locked into a room to figure out copy-paste on WP7

Just like the previous versions of the iPhone, you can have native apps running in the background so you could listen to Zune HD streaming content while surfing the web and receiving emails on the go.

There are several other areas that need work, such as the games in Xbox Live, Twitter support, 3rd party apps, and more. However, the OS is quite refined and consistent and I think people are going to be quite happy with it when it rolls out later this year.

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