So yesterday I was finally able to pick up my Windows Phone 7 phone. As I posted recently, Avanade Netherlands was the first company within the Netherlands to integrally move to this new mobile OS.
Avanade Netherlands has chosen the HTC Trophy 7 to be the first phone 7 phone for all employees. There are more models, but we will have to do with this one for now. And what a phone!
Obviously, we as a Microsoft consulting company are a bit biassed towards anything that comes from Microsoft, but also as real techies one of the more critical consumers. Because many of the services are not available in the Netherlands for the time being, we have pulled some tricks to be able to use the US based services, like the Marketplace, Zune and Bing.
I have to hand it to Redmond; they have outperformed themselves with this first release of this new OS. Yes, features are missing (like the most blogged tethering and copy and paste), but the overall experience I had when switching on the phone was WOW. Initial setup only took a minute (with some preparation like a US based live ID), but after that, all worked pretty smooth.
What first hit me was the speed. The phone is fast. Did I say it was fast? I mean it was fast! No lag experienced at any time. Secondly, the mail interface is great. It connected to my company exchange server without a problem and synchronized all mail, contacts and agenda items really fast. The Peoples Hub also picked up on their Facebook and Twitter accounts and this integration is pretty awesome.
Started the marketplace and the number of apps is reasonable. Yes, it does not have the amount of apps that the AppStore or Android market have to offer, but quantity does not tell the whole story. Like with the AppStore, there are 300.000 apps of which you do not want to have 298.567 on your phone. They are crap. In time, I am guessing this will also be valid for the marketplace, but for now, there are already pretty useful apps in the store, even when you’re residing in the Netherlands. The Dutch marketplace is not expected until summer 2011. Facebook, Twitter, Nu.nl, IMDB and many more are there.
The Metro interface looks crisp and finally something different. Most of the phones features are that intuitive that even my youngest daughter could use it (well, matter of speaking, she’s 6).
The best part for me came from the Zune integration. I never used the Zune software, as the Zune and the Zune marketplace never made it to the Netherlands, but man, that’s a quality piece of software. The Zune client software is used like the iTunes for the iPhone. It can synchronize content to your phone and delivers the updates. Syncing music on the phone was as easy as drawing an album from the collection and drop it on the phone. I did not even know where that album was stored on my home network. The phone (or maybe the zune software) than captures all the folder and album images for that particular album, much like XBMC does it. But once on the phone, selecting an artist also delivers more content related to that artist, without me loading anything on the phone. Pretty cool.
I also created an XBox Live account, although I have am XBox 360 for years already (besides the XBox 1 and Wii), but never played online. Games from the marketplace looked cool and I downloaded the Bejeweled game right away (much obligated to do so ;-)). But also a game like the Sims 3 is available.
Downsides to the phone are already known and most will be covered in a next update shortly, like the tethering and the copy and paste. Other things that I found missing was the smart dialing for example. So just start typing the name on the phone pad where it also filters the contact list. You can use the search integration, but the smart dialing was faster. Also like not being able to put on custom apps (well, at least not until I unlock it) and the Dutch language support. But all that are just minor things that will be corrected shortly.
I think the Windows Phone 7 is very well positioned to take its fair share in the market among the smartphones. For me, it is very promising.