On November 2, 2010 I was able to attend the Windows Phone 7 Executive Briefing Event held at the Microsoft facility in downtown Los Angeles. I arrived at 8:30 and opened the netbook, ready to write down all I could about Windows Phone 7. Read on to find out more about the Windows Phone 7.
I took a vacation day from work and rode the Metro downtown to the Wells Fargo Center. 33rd floor. Very nice. Seriously.
Arriving at the Microsoft Los Angeles location, I was greeted by crisp signage and smiling faces. I was early so the phones were not out and I would have to wait to get my chance to review the new Windows Phone 7. I sat in a conference room with 50 other people waiting for the festivities to begin.
The Microsoft Mobility Specialist, Toni Abrusia Bollinger, was the first to speak and tell us about Windows Phone 7. She told us to forget everything we knew about Windows Mobile. Toni started talking about hubs. Hubs?
Windows Phone 7 has hubs. According to Toni, these six hubs (and the associated facts) are environments labeled as:
- People – Contacts are integrated with applications such as Outlook and Facebook
- Games – Xbox type games
- Pictures – Camera usage is the second highest rated activity on mobile phones
- Music – Includes Zune Music, TV and Movies
- Office – Office Hub beats any other experience and integrates SharePoint.
- Marketplace – 1,000 Apps ready now, 10,000 supposed to be ready by June 2011
Note: Great conference room. Crappy cell service. Even the T-Mobile reps were only getting 2G service.
The new Windows Phone 7 interface is very clean and classy.
Contacts are merged from sources like your Outlook and Facebook profiles.
You take a picture with your phone and then you look at it. You can send it too.
Outlook + Office Mobile
Outlook Mobile integrated with Exchange
- Additional email accounts can be managed through it too.
- OneNote – Documents – SharePoint
- Word Mobile 2010 is included - New Outline View
- Excel 2010 is included. Basic changes and similar outline view
- PPT Mobile – Edit text and speaker notes. Browse slides and get broadcasts.
The Dell model had a nice screen. You are not going to be doing pivot tables on this one though…
XNA builds for Xbox Live on Windows Phone 7 (WP7). Over 50% of Apple Apps downloaded are games. Games in development for WP7 only coming soon.
Did I mention that they have 1,000 Apps ready now and 10,000 supposed to be ready by June 2011.
Music and Videos
Rent movies or stream Zune Pass songs over the phone. The phone will Sync with the Zune client on your PC for HD content from Zune.
The memory for phones should start at 8GB and go up to 32GB in the first releases. Since the media card is not replaceable we will have to see how any future upgrades are implemented. Yes, the media cards are a part of the phone and not usable outside the phone. There is no way to get data from phone. Everything is over the cell network.
The Dell phone in my hand was light and easy to use. My left thumb could do most of the navigating without any worry about dropping the phone.
Windows Phone 7 Devices
Microsoft controls the whole phone OS. Each vendor has to leave the WP7 OS alone and not make different versions.
There were two T-Mobile phones that they presented at the Briefing:
T-Mobile launches the HTC HD7
The T-Mobile HTC HD7 has:
- 16GB of memory
- 720 HD video recorder
- Netflix support
- Slacker Radio
- Outlook and Office
Dell Launches the Venue Pro
The Dell Venue Pro has:
- 4.1 touch screen
- QWERTY keyboard
- Gorilla glass
- Slim form factor
- Only available from Dell directly, not T-Mobile stores
Windows Phone 7 Demo
Rajiv Thairani (sp?) started the demo, had his phone connected to the laptop and then projecting. Once he unlocked his phone (all Windows Phone 7 have password protection) we were ready to go. The phone seems nice. It scrolls up and down and left and right.
He showed us his contacts. WP7 merges the contact data from multiple sources like Windows Live, Facebook, Outlook, Exchange accts, Gmail, Twitter, Hotmail and up to 20 total sources. The new People hub ties it together for you.
He did a Gizmodo site demo over 2G connections was pretty good in this low signal room. There is no Hot Spot coverage support at this time. Boo!
Zune, Netflix, Games and Bing Features
Rent movies and stream Zune Pass over the phone.
T-Mobile 3G and 4G will support HD video with Netflix. T-Mobile even provides a Netflix app for you!
XNA builds for Xbox Live on Windows Phone 7. Over 50% of Apple Apps downloaded are games. Games in development for WP7 only coming soon.
- 300,000 SDK downloads so far. 1,000 apps so far such as Yelp, FB etc. MS control quality.
- No side loading of applications.
It has Bing of course. Bing offers searches through its decision engine. Yup.
SharePoint – Workspace Mobile 2010
SharePoint is supported on Windows Phone 7.
- Visits through links
- View lists and libraries
- Sync documents offline
The reps said Exchange is ready for Windows Phone 7 (WP7) . WP7 is Exchange ActiveSync compliant, has auto-discovery and multiple business and personal email accounts. Other features include remote wipe and SSL encryption.
Business Round Table Panel and Q & A
The Q & A had a few questions about the third party apps and no laptop-telephone tethering at launch. There was also a company that was there as part of the round table selling BPOS. The T-Mobile representatives were also a part of the panel. They gave a little sales pitch and then touted WP7.
The Microsoft partner, Limotta IT, talked about BPOS and WP7. They answered questions about the use case of how Google is free and BPOS is a fee ranging from $2-$10 per month per user. If you are interested in BPOS check out Limotta.
On a lighter not, the Dell Venue Pro Windows Phone 7 is light and thin.
WP7 in a Tablet?
No tablets until possibly FY11. WP7 is just for phones. You think they would hide the old kiosk. Seriously.
My Windows Phone 6
If you want to get one of the prior versions of Windows 6 Phones then you might want to call AT&T or Verizon soon. I know I plan on keeping my work phone for the six months or so.
For more information on Windows Phone 7, you can check out the Microsoft press release at:
The new Windows Phone 7 has some great qualities, and should be a good phone eventually, but there are a few serious drawbacks you need to be aware of that will not be fixed by release next week.
These issues are:
- Windows Phone does not support Flash at release. Working with Adobe to get it working.
- There is no Copy and Paste at release. Microsoft working it for 2011.
- No PC Tethering or Bluetooth support at release.
- Phone is locked to vendor. Cannot switch companies later with phone.
- UMA is not supported at release.
- No built-in Windows Media Center support. Boo!
- No front facing camera.
- Only EFIGS languages supported at release.
These issues may take a while to get fixed. I would suggest checking back with Microsoft to see how these issues are solved before purchasing Windows Phone 7.
For businesses that do not care about multi-media, or non-cell communications, the phone might be something to consider at the release next week.