Coffeehouse Thread

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First few weeks with WP7

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  • User profile image
    Ray7

     

    Some shared thoughts.

    The hardware is a HTC Trophy. I don't know much about HTC phones even though I have probably owned one and not realised it. Can't fault the hardware: sturdy, great screen (very bright) and if the battery runs down I can change it. There is an advantage in being able to pick the hardware that suits you rather than having to make do with something that perhaps doesn't meet your needs (probably a geek perspective). The camera is okay but nothing to get really excited about. It's a 5MP shooter with a flash; the pictures are a little grainy, but they're okay for Facebook, Twitter etc. I'm still of the opinion that if you want to take decent pictures or videos then you should really buy a camera. 

    I really like the haptic feedback on the buttons. Some folk don't, but I didn't have a problem with them,

    Now, on to the operating system.

    Well, it's different and from a UI perspective, I think it's brilliant. It's clean, minimalist and the font (what is that font?) is the best I've seen on any device. The 'window on a really wide screen' paradigm works very well: I scroll across and I can tell what's coming next, or what screen I was in before. I remember a lot of sniggering over the Zune interface because folk reckoned that MS was cutting off words because they wouldn't fit on the screen. Well, that was very much deliberate and it works just as well on the phone. And icons? Who needs 'em?

    Is it better than the iPhone/Android interface? It's horses for courses really. For me, yes.

    Speaking of the Zune interface, in my humble opinion it beats the music player on the iPhone/iPod Touch in terms of usability. Nice big controls and it just looks so good when it's on screen. Well done. Incidentally, the sound quality of my HTC Trophy is far superior to that of my iPod Touch. Go figure.

    The whole Hub thing works for me. Having all your people in one place really does save a lot of time…or does it? The thing is that I didn't really do a lot of twitter or Facebook until I got this bloody phone! Now I go into the People Hub and I can see who's doing what and who's saying what, and who's just had a kid… All of a sudden, I'm a social network freak! Can't blame MS for that though. Anyway, the Hub thing works, and I can just glance at the phone and see straight away if I need to drill down any further. Yes, live tiles are the future.

    Okay, so what don't I like: plenty.

    I don't have a problem with the unused black strip that runs down the right side of the main screen. The tiles are large so it's nice to have an area you can scroll across without launching into your email…but what you scroll into is an epic epic EPIC fail. 

    Yes, it's the application list. 

    To whom it may concern:

    Mate, as history should have beaten into you time and time again, the desktop app menu does not work on a phone. It doesn't matter how you animate it or how you bend it – it doesn't work. Read it again:

    It

    Doesn't

    Work

    So let's stop being childish and put it in a grid (a square grid, not a honeycomb just to be hip and different). And while you're at it, let's have folders so you can categorise your applications. Seriously, 'desktop squeezed on to a phone' is dead and starting to smell a bit funny; it's time to let it go.

    The rest of the problems I have with the phone seem to be rather bizarre omissions which should not have been left out of the first cut. To start with, there is no way to find the MAC address of the phone. Oddly, MS reckons that there is nothing wrong with leaving this out on a phone that has to support WIFI. The only way to do it is open up your router so it can tell you what the address of your phone is! How weird is that?

    Still in the WIFI arena, there is no quick way to turn the WIFI receiver on and off: you have to drill down through the setting to do it which is annoying given how much the WIFI drains the phone on this model. What is needed is a one-touch menu to turn the WIFI (and Bluetooth) on and off. Better yet, how about something that uses the location function to switch on the WIFI as soon as you enter the house?

    Gripe Number Three: I like to lock the phone when I'm not using it, but if I switch it on again after twenty seconds, then I don't think I should have to put the passcode in again. How about an extra option on the security screen that says, 'Lock the phone after X minutes'?

    Applications are still very thin on the ground (if you call 4,000 apps 'thin') and the quality is still pretty ropey as far as I can tell. I'm not sure how much this is going to improve to be honest: Microsoft is coming in at the ground without the windows hegemony to draw developers (how many Silverlight applications have you seen?). Google went with Java (of sorts) and Apple has the numbers to raise the demand for ObjectiveC expertise. The other problem is that MS has been beaten back from supporting consumers which will also affect the popularity of Windows Phone 7.  The Mac has more personal finance apps now, and more iOS apps to connect to them. There are a few simple personal finance apps for Windows Phone, but nothing to connect them to.

    I don't think MS will catch up with Android and iOS in terms of application numbers, but then I don't really think I'll ever need half a million apps loaded onto my phone either.

    The connection to the Cloud is adequate. The phone links seamlessly to Windows Live, which unfortunately has a crappy user interface when compared to Google and Apple's offerings. Windows Live Contacts has a placeholder for a contact's picture, but no way to actually add it. WTF?? Still, it is usable, and I haven't come across any of the reliability problems so far: everything seems to get synced within about ten minutes.

    So would I recommend the phone?

    It does lack polish, and I wouldn't recommend the phone based on what may and may not be fixed in the future, so if this is a problem then it would be best to stick with Android or the iPhone.

    If you're a social network animal who doesn't need a whole load of apps and can live with the quirks then it is definitely worth a look. The UK networks have some good deals for WP7 phones so trying it out as a 'smartphone starter' is pretty cheap. 

    Overal mark: 7/10

     

     

     

  • User profile image
    EBv2010

    I got my HTC 7 Throphy a week or 2 ago and I've been never as happy with a phone as I am with this one. In chronological order I've supported Blackberry's from '04 to '05, I've had a WM 6.0 and a Nokia 5800 (Symbian 5), I've supported an iPhone and ran into other smartphones for short periods.

    In my country I don't have access to the marketplace yet, however I don't plan to get a lot, if any, of them. Possibly a Twitter app, a PDF reader, maybe Office centric apps if they provide extra value and a navigation app (altough I must say an online route planner and the GPS+map does all I need to have it doing). I wasn't planning on buying apps straight away. Having learned from previous smartphones, I first want to thoroughly go through the basis functionality to see if I need anything else.

    I like the phone and it caters to my specific needs. To me it's a 9/10 because of that.

  • User profile image
    Bas

    Interesting read, but I do wonder how the application list is a desktop paradigm. If anything, I'd imagine that a vertical list of applications is more suited to portrait-oriented phones than it is to landscape-oriented desktops.

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    @Bas:

    , Bas wrote

    Interesting read, but I do wonder how the application list is a desktop paradigm. If anything, I'd imagine that a vertical list of applications is more suited to portrait-oriented phones than it is to landscape-oriented desktops.

     

    Good question. The vertical list looks like a desperate homage to the Windows Start Menu: a long list of scrolling apps that don't seem to be arranged with regard to usability. In WP7 they're fixed in alphanumeric order (which explains why Vodafone has called their app '360 Web': this puts it right at the top of the menu even though it's the one built-in app that I've never used). If I had as many apps on my HTC as I have on my iPod Touch then this would be pretty much unusable.

    When it comes to a small screen (portrait or landscape) grid is king; it's about time Microsoft learned that instead of trying to convince folk that they had it right the first time round.

    Now that I think about it, you're right. The vertical menu is not a desktop paradigm: it's a Microsoft desktop paradigm. There is no equivalent on MacOSX, and I have to say I'm rather glad about that (I don't tend to use the Start Menu, preferring to just have shortcuts where I can find them quickly).

  • User profile image
    Bas

    I see, I had assumed you'd be able to at least move items around in the list yourself, or have it sorted by frequency of use or something. I'd be fine with that, I'd just attach the couple of apps I use frequently to the home screen or whatever it's called and then occasionally go into that list.

    Not sure if grids are so great, though. They take up lots of space, which is a scarce commodity on phones. Also in a list there's more room for titles rather than icons.

     But a static alphabetical list? Ugh.

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    , EBv2010 wrote

    I got my HTC 7 Throphy a week or 2 ago and I've been never as happy with a phone as I am with this one. In chronological order I've supported Blackberry's from '04 to '05, I've had a WM 6.0 and a Nokia 5800 (Symbian 5), I've supported an iPhone and ran into other smartphones for short periods.

    In my country I don't have access to the marketplace yet, however I don't plan to get a lot, if any, of them. Possibly a Twitter app, a PDF reader, maybe Office centric apps if they provide extra value and a navigation app (altough I must say an online route planner and the GPS+map does all I need to have it doing). I wasn't planning on buying apps straight away. Having learned from previous smartphones, I first want to thoroughly go through the basis functionality to see if I need anything else.

    I like the phone and it caters to my specific needs. To me it's a 9/10 because of that.

    Yes, despite the grumbles and gripes, I have to say that, technically, this is a remarkable piece of work. I just hope MS finishes it.

     

  • User profile image
    Dr Herbie

    , Bas wrote

    I see, I had assumed you'd be able to at least move items around in the list yourself, or have it sorted by frequency of use or something. I'd be fine with that, I'd just attach the couple of apps I use frequently to the home screen or whatever it's called and then occasionally go into that list.

    Not sure if grids are so great, though. They take up lots of space, which is a scarce commodity on phones. Also in a list there's more room for titles rather than icons.

     But a static alphabetical list? Ugh.

    In mitigation of this poor list design, you pin your favourite apps to the home page tiles where you can order them however you like -- I have my favoutrites at the top of the tile list where they stay.

     

    My experiance so far :

    I've had my Samsung Omnia 7 since launch and I'm happy with it.  I've never owned a smartphone before, never having done much actual phoning or texting on previous phones, so I don't have much to compare against.

    I love the tile screen especially being able to pin apps and IE shortcuts to it where ever I want them.  Currently my topmost apps are my three email accounts, Twitter and Facebook -- I am also falling into the trap of social networking being so simple.

    As yet I have not paid for any apps (reverting to my Scottish stereotype), but then I haven't seen anything that I think I must have.  I've tried a couple of game demos and while they're fun I think I would lose interest pretty quickly as I'm not much of a gamer.

    Generally the WP7 UI suites me well -- no fuss, just a nice, clean interface.  The phone does what I want -- occasional phone calls, occasional SMS texts, email, Twitter, Facebook all in one place, Calendar alerts (from Windows Live, Google and my office Outlook for work), BBC News app to give me the headlines that I would normally check on their front page, Bing maps to find things when I'm out and about (saved me major grief twice in the last two weeks).  That's pretty much all I need or want at the moment.

     

    As a developer, I'm really enjoying the development experiance for WP7 when I get the time.  I still haven't finished my app for the marketplace but that's my own fault, not the tools Smiley

    Herbie

  • User profile image
    rhm

    I got the HTC HD7 as I've mentioned before. The phone has one manufacturing fault (a bulge in the back of the phone prevents the battery cover from sitting flush all the way round) and since I bought it on ebay there's not much I can do about it. Not too bothered though as there's zero chance of it becoming my main phone given it's other failings and the state of WP7.

    The three capacitive buttons on the front were a bad idea. The dedicated search button is just making up the numbers, lets be honest here, so the decision on buttons is: should it have one button like the iPhone or more? Well, it's nice having a dedicated back button - it saves screen space and works well without WP7's support for history cascading through multiple apps - but the decision to have multiple buttons seems to have influenced the decision to use capacitive buttons instead of real 'pressy' ones. This was a huge mistake. If you don't believe me, trying playing a game on a WP7 phone where you are holding it in landscape orientation. One tiny accidental brush on one of those buttons and BOOM, your game is tombstoned - gone effectively. That's compounded by the fact that no user-mode multi-tasking means the game has to be loaded again from scratch and the performance of XNA means that takes FOREVER.

    WP7 is not a gamers phone in the way the iPhone is, and it will never be unless they get rid of the capacitive buttons and allow native code.

    The other problem with those capacitive buttons is that you can't wake the phone up using them. With the iPhone you can press the home button and then swipe to unlock. With WP7 you have to press the fiddly power button on the top edge every frickin' time.

    The WP7 user interface style sucks big time, but I've gone on about that since they first showed it off on Channel9 so I'll spare you that again Smiley

    The software development story is a worry also. I think Microsoft's strategy here seems to be that "we have lots of Windows developers so if we make WP7 easy to program in Visual Studio, we'll have a ready-made army of developers for our mobile platform". Which again, I think is the wrong way to go about it. Yes there are lots of Windows developers, but not that many who develop using Silverlight and hardly any at all that do XNA game development. And how many have experience of developing for phones? Meanwhile, by making an environment completely unlike any other mobile platform, they've shut out legions of iPhone and Android developers who would have been happy to port apps across.

     

  • User profile image
    Typhoon87

    I have had the HTC Surround since the 19th and I do like it but the biggest issues most of the have been stated already but here goes anyway :

    No easy way to get the MAC address from the phone,  No custom ringtones, No way to delete a contact from the phone without also deleteing them from windows live/live messenger, very limted user customizations, the hitting a button by accident and going out of a game is annoying, need a higher setting for activsync email 1 hour is the highest needs like a 3 hour setting, no call times screen to see total time for incoming and outgoing calls I had this option litearlly 4 phones (about 7 years) ago.

    lastly no copy/paste but I know this is coming in fact if you already have a delevoper device you can get the beta update with this functionality.

    App store is not a major compaint for number of apps curretnly according to http://wp7applist.com/stats/ there are 4878 applications avaiable that is not awful given the platform has been out for 6 weeks.

     

    I do like how baked in the social networking feels, I do love the XBOX live and Zune integeration.

    Overall the phone is nice but needs updates at a reasonable time table to get compitive.

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    rhm wrote

    I got the HTC HD7 as I've mentioned before. The phone has one manufacturing fault (a bulge in the back of the phone prevents the battery cover from sitting flush all the way round) and since I bought it on ebay there's not much I can do about it. Not too bothered though as there's zero chance of it becoming my main phone given it's other failings and the state of WP7.

    Mmm. Fair enough, but not sure that 's really a problem with HTC or Microsoft. Are you sure that this is a design fault and not a phone that has been dropped on the floor before it was dropped on eBay?

    The three capacitive buttons on the front were a bad idea. The dedicated search button is just making up the numbers, lets be honest here, so the decision on buttons is: should it have one button like the iPhone or more? Well, it's nice having a dedicated back button - it saves screen space and works well without WP7's support for history cascading through multiple apps - but the decision to have multiple buttons seems to have influenced the decision to use capacitive buttons instead of real 'pressy' ones. This was a huge mistake. If you don't believe me, trying playing a game on a WP7 phone where you are holding it in landscape orientation. One tiny accidental brush on one of those buttons and BOOM, your game is tombstoned - gone effectively. That's compounded by the fact that no user-mode multi-tasking means the game has to be loaded again from scratch and the performance of XNA means that takes FOREVER.

    WP7 is not a gamers phone in the way the iPhone is, and it will never be unless they get rid of the capacitive buttons and allow native code.

    The other problem with those capacitive buttons is that you can't wake the phone up using them. With the iPhone you can press the home button and then swipe to unlock. With WP7 you have to press the fiddly power button on the top edge every frickin' time.

    Again, I think the problem here is not WP7, but you buying the wrong phone. If you wanted real buttons then you should have looked at the LG Optimus 7.  You seem to be under the impression that Microsoft has specified capacitive buttons; this is clearly not the case.

    The other problem with those capacitive buttons is that you can't wake the phone up using them. With the iPhone you can press the home button and then swipe to unlock. With WP7 you have to press the fiddly power button on the top edge every frickin' time.

    See above. I actually don't mind pressing the power button as it means I'm less likely to switch the phone on by accident. This is a personal preference of course.

    The WP7 user interface style sucks big time, but I've gone on about that since they first showed it off on Channel9 so I'll spare you that again Smiley

    Thanks!

    The software development story is a worry also. I think Microsoft's strategy here seems to be that "we have lots of Windows developers so if we make WP7 easy to program in Visual Studio, we'll have a ready-made army of developers for our mobile platform". Which again, I think is the wrong way to go about it. Yes there are lots of Windows developers, but not that many who develop using Silverlight and hardly any at all that do XNA game development. And how many have experience of developing for phones? Meanwhile, by making an environment completely unlike any other mobile platform, they've shut out legions of iPhone and Android developers who would have been happy to port apps across.

     

    This is about the only point I agree with.  Google is tapping into a huge pool of Java developers and has the numbers. Apple has the numbers to keep attracting folk to their archaic development environment. But there aren't that many WP7 phones and not that many Silverlight developers. This points to a pretty uphill struggle.  

  • User profile image
    rhm

    , Ray7 wrote

    *snip*

    Mmm. Fair enough, but not sure that 's really a problem with HTC or Microsoft. Are you sure that this is a design fault and not a phone that has been dropped on the floor before it was dropped on eBay?

    It's not a design fault. It is, as I said, a manufacturing fault. If I was willing to take the phone apart I could probably get whatever bit isn't fitting properly inside the casing to fit properly, but it's only out my a couple of mm so I think I'll live with it. It just gives a bad impression.

    *snip*

    Again, I think the problem here is not WP7, but you buying the wrong phone. If you wanted real buttons then you should have looked at the LG Optimus 7.  You seem to be under the impression that Microsoft has specified capacitive buttons; this is clearly not the case.

    Fair enough. Strike two against HTC then.

    *snip*

    See above. I actually don't mind pressing the power button as it means I'm less likely to switch the phone on by accident. This is a personal preference of course.

    You're wrong there, although I guess you haven't owned an iPhone, but having the home button wake the phone is perfect because it has the "swipe to unlock" feature. Which curiously WP7 also has, so having the phone wake for a few seconds and wait for a swipe on the screen wouldn't be a problem on phones that have real physical buttons.

     

  • User profile image
    Fredrik70

    I love my new Omnia 7, it compares to Windows Mobile 6.5 like heaven to hell.

    For me, the three things that bother me the most at the moment are:
    - as a small business owner, I have 700+ contactats. But the Contact search is pretty useless: you cannot search on company name or anything else but first name and last name. About 50% of my contacts I remember by Company name, but now I have to wade through a massive amount of contacts before finding the right one. Hotmail does it right, Windows Live desktop mail does it right, Outlook does it right, but the Windows Phone team obviously decided to reinvent the wheel and made the contact search logic from scratch.
    - When scheduling meetings, week numbers are pretty important to me, and now there is no way of adding them to the calendar, no option for it and no way to subscribe to a calendar from the phone. And the calendar app badly needs search and week view or better month view as well.
    - Bing in Europe is just awful, no businesses listed at all, search results are abysmal.

  • User profile image
    MasterPi

    I've had the Samsung Focus for a month now. It's a really nice phone. Very light, decent sound quality.

    What I don't like so much about the hardware is that the main buttons (back, win, search) aren't physical, so when I jam part of my palm into them as I type stuff, the current application changes.

    The OS: Absolutely love the simplicity. No jarring gradients or bevels. Very consistent. I especially love being able to not only customize the colors of the tiles on the home screen through theming but to also rearrange the tiles. Simply tap and hold a tile, all the other tiles fade out into the distance, then drag the tile to the new position. Very simple.

    I also really like the back button...it always does what I want. If I wanted to go to the screen I was at 3 apps ago, I can keep hitting back. If I was in some settings page and wanted to go back to the main app...back! It works great for the 3rd party apps that I have installed. I was also surprised that some apps can make use of the phone's search button to pull up their own search.

    Other nifty things...If I watch a video on youtube, the video will show up in my music/video hub history so that I can get one touch access to it if I wanted to watch it again. IE address bar autocomplete. Typing messages...can just touch buttons quickly without worrying about accuracy...most of the time the autofix fixes my words and for those words that need fixing, it's simple enough to just choose the correct word from the list.

    Issues:

    Getting the MAC address...I was able to get it by acquiring the Diagnosis app. ( In phone dialing mode, enter "##634#" ). The commands for the diagnosis app vary between manufacturers, but for me, I just had to enter *#1234# in the Diagnosis app to get a listing of different info for my phone, including the MAC address. Still, this should be easily accessible. Sad

    The app list...not a big deal for me since I don't have a ton of applications and do not anticipate installing more than 20. It's just one to two flicks and I can scroll to the middle or bottom of the list easily. However, it would be nice in a future update to have some categorization metro style. I wouldn't really want to dig into folders, but something simple like going left and right to switch between categories would be nice.

    I don't know if it's just accelerometers in general, but it takes a little longer than I'd want for the phone to recognize that I am holding it on its side vs upright...the screen doesn't rotate instantly. Maybe an update for the driver is needed?

    I'm also confused about how to use Office...where do I (as a consumer without access to Sharepoint) put documents so that I can access them on my phone?

    Turning on/off wifi needs to be one click also...maybe have it so that when you tap the top border of the screen to reveal status icons, tapping the wifi icon toggles it?

    Overall, I very much enjoy my WP7 phone.

    One of my friends recently purchased an iPhone and we got to do a side-by-side comparison. TO be short, he was sort of jealous. Smiley The same app (IMDB) looked horrible on his iPhone compared to on my WP7. It's much nicer to have the entire phone screen to occupy and not have to worry about some OS defined border that might clash with your app's style or color scheme. Though, at the same time, I am very much jealous at the moment that he has apps that make greater use of the phone's camera...a panorama creator that lets you take subsequent photos, stitches them on the fly. Also, being able to see on a map where you took pictures... I can't wait until WP7 gets updated.

  • User profile image
    MasterPi

    @Ray7:

    You can go into Settings>lock & wallpaper to adjust the lock time...unless that's not what you were looking for.

  • User profile image
    Dr Herbie

    Several people have mentioned wanting the MAC address of their phones -- why? What do you need it for?  Just out of curiosity.

    Herbie

  • User profile image
    magicalclick

    Thanks for the feedback. I am in the process of getting an HTC WP7 as well. I agree, there should be some kind of folder system. It gets confusing when I have 20 tiles. But, then, again, MS probably think a lot of apps should just register to people hub instead of stand alone app.

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
    Last modified
  • User profile image
    MasterPi

    @Dr Herbie: At least for me, my university requires you to submit the MAC addresses of any devices needing wifi connectivity or just any device that cannot pull up a web browser to enter into some network registration for wired or wireless. For example, XBOX owners have to submit their XBOX MAC address to get it connected on wired. Access is done via MAC addresses only...we don't get the key and the access isn't public either.

  • User profile image
    ZippyV

    @MasterPie: Can't you find the mac address on a sticker on the box?

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