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

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.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributor writer on

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/Last.fm: 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?


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