Thursday, February 10, 2011

Windows Phone 7 (WP7); where ya at?

Title says it all. So where is Windows Phone 7? We have yet to see any announcements in regards to Microsoft porting WP7 to a more tablet friendly device and yet to see the first update to fix some major (in my opinion) bugs and missing features.

Back in November 2010, T-Mobile released the first WP7 in the USA with the HTC HD7.  I was very curious to see what WP7 was all about and snatched up an HD7 on T-Mobile (being I'm a current off-contract T-Mobile customer).

The hardware was excellent, as with all HTC phones. However the software lacked some major features that I would consider to be mandatory items: custom ringtones and adding of non-broadcasted SSID WiFi networks being the top two.  The latest rumors point to a March 2011 date for the update to WP7.

Google's release/update cycles for Android really has spoiled users like me.  However, the fact that they have modified Android in Honeycomb for a tablet interface is key.  It shows 2 of the top 3 mobile OS's seeing the failings of Microsoft in its past OS offerings for tablet form factors (iOS and Android, and now even WebOS in the TouchPad).

Microsoft's metro UI for WP7 could really be cool on a tablet given they expanded the tile functionality and possible a widget type desktop.  Windows 7 is a great desktop and laptop OS but still can't compete with Apple's iOS for the iPad or the upcoming Honeycomb for Android tablets.   Microsoft should really just suck it up and go through on the Courier concept.  I would consider such a device for its precise notetaking abilities.  Capacitive touch screens just can't do a stylus or replace a paper notepad and pen for accuracy and speed in notetaking.

So Microsoft... are you finally going to enter the hardware market and make us a nice Courier device? Here's what I say:

1. Port WP7 as the base OS.

2. Stick with the base metro UI and tile design for the homescreens but make them bigger and allow more info to be shown within them (widget like but more standard in design, consistent look on all homescreens.

3. Try something totally different in perhaps a Pinch gesture to allow actual full OS skins based on functions.  IE, Courier mode = the full Courier concept GUI and app.  Perhaps  Media Center mode = Windows 7 MCE Interface to use for Recorded TV playback and music, photo viewing, Modder mode = fully customizable homescreen with Tile design.

I guess we'll see what Microsoft has up its sleeve. Hopefully its more than just some Windows 7 tablets.