With the technical preview of Windows Phone 7 being announced and developers to be receiving their devices shortly, early press reviews of Windows Phone 7 are out. For the most part, the early reviews are positive, which is a huge mark for Microsoft as it moves away from Windows Mobile and into its new Windows Phone platform development.
Matthew Miller of ZDNet says that “Microsoft is focused on thinking about tasks differently and recognizing the “explosion of more”” in his review of Windows Phone 7. Miller is impressed with Microsoft’s progress towards re-designing Windows Phone 7 to be more people-centric rather than app-centric; according to him, Windows Phone 7 “is centered on helping you interact with the people you want to and complete the tasks you need to complete with apps mainly working in the background or having other technologies (like Bing Search) do better at meeting your needs without more apps. The current experience is amazingly stable and fluid and I am quite impressed with what they have done.”
With a nascent platform, we still have yet to see what will come out of the development community, though that shouldn’t be a worry for too long as Microsoft has been pretty aggressive with developers. We’ll see how the company’s more integrative approach in leveraging other owned assets–mainly Silverlight and Xbox–will pay off as a whole, but it seems smart to utilize existing resources and pursue them in app development. Additionally, with Microsoft giving out early hardware to developers to test their apps and experience the “explosion of more” that Windows Phone 7 hopes to deliver, we would probably see a number of apps by launch, which is a concern of Boy Genius Report at this time, who takes a different look at WP7 than Miller does: “There is no killer application on Windows Phone 7.”
Other concerns that are being expressed by the Engadget crew is the lack of cut, copy and paste and no system-wide multitasking. It seems like the minimum hardware specs required by Microsoft should make the implementation of those features viable as a software upgrade package in the future, which would come as an OTA update. Windows Phone 7 already has a strong baseline for hardware requirements, and it should be feasible for Microsoft to implement those features for the future.
On the business side, Windows Phone 7 continues to excel in its Office integration, Exchange Active Sync support, and email capabilities. The mobile browser seems good from early reviews, and the Metro UI continues to dazzle in that it is “centered on helping you interact with the people you want to and complete the tasks you need to complete.”
For now though, as we head into launch towards the end of the year, it looks like Microsoft has reached a huge hurdle with Windows Phone 7 and the company is hoping to prove that with its in-time for the holidays release with hopefully some strong sales numbers. With the company focused on Windows Phone 7 and rolling its Kin team into Windows Phone 7 development, we should see a healthy dose of consumer and business-centric features in this emerging platform. A lot can change between now and launch, and Microsoft has some time to fine tune things, but this looks to be a promising start for a new OS experience that is different than what we’ve seen from iOS, Android, and webOS.