I have had a several days to play with my new HTC 7 Mozart now and I must say overall I am really impressed. Having taken photos, emailed, used sms, used facebook, downloaded applications, watched video, listened to music, podcasts and the radio, used the maps app to get directions, used Bing to find content, booked a steak night in my Windows Live Calendar and so much more.
The Hardware (HTC 7 Mozart):
Model – T8679
CPU – 1 GHz
Platform – Windows Phone OS 7
Memory – 512 ROM and 576 RAM
Size and Weight – 119 x 60.2 x 11.9 mm, 130 grams
Display – 3.7-inch touch screen
GPS – Internal GPS antenna
- HSPA/WCDMA (850/2100 MHz)
- GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
- Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP
- Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g/h
- 3.5 mm stereo audio jack
- Standard micro-USB
- 8 megapixel colour camera with auto focus and Xenon flash
- 720p HD video recording
– note my camera really does not do this Justice
So what did I enjoy about my new Windows Phone 7 experience:
Well pretty much everything rocks, I don’t really go anywhere anymore without my phone and its only been 6 days
The whole Metro experience is definitely s3xy and slick the WP7 team have really done a fantastic job, if I ever met anyone of you then you would definitely receive a well deserved hug.
Nick + push notifications == love. At the moment I am just starting to see some third party apps out there starting to use them. The build in phone, SMS, email and people tiles are using Live Tiles to bring your Start screen to life keeping you informed e.g how many emails or SMS you have. Some applications are also using toast notifications e.g SMS when it comes in and also AlphaJax a turn by turn based game to notify me when its my turn. No picture could do the Start screen Live Tiles justice. I would recommend that you check them out in action here for yourself or get your hands on a device to play with.
The People hub == awesome. I can see whats going on with my Facebook, Windows Live and LinkedIn contacts, thats right I am watching you people, as well as post comment on their status. You can even Pin some of your contacts to your Start screen and you get a nice Live Tile of that person on there that will show their updates as they come through.
The Pictures Hub and Camera is pretty cool. You can easily setup Zune to sync your pictures bidirectionally between your phone/PC . Further you can configure your phone to upload the pictures you take to your windows Live Skydrive you can share your pics on facebook. For those of you a bit hesitant to have photos uploading to Skydrive directly keep in mind that you can configure the uploaded files to be private. Settings –> Applications pivot –> Pictures and camera — Auto upload to SkyDrive. When selecting this you it will give you options on how visible you want the photo e.g private, friends, public etc.
Music and Video Hub, using Zune I was able to sync down music from my personal collection buy a Video to watch on the device and also listen to the radio. Like the people hub you can pin items from here to your start screen as well.
Speech recognition and speech synthesis. If you press down on your Start button your phone will start listening for your commands. E.g “Call Adam Harris”, “Open Boom Baby” and if your not in Australia “Find local Pizza”. You can also set speech to work when in locked mode through Settings –> Speech –> Use Speech when in locked mode.
If your a big fan of gaming you will also love the XBox Live Integration and I also find the Location Map application using Bing Maps is really handy. One little know feature that i think is a good idea is the Find a Lost phone idea where you can lock your phone, see itslocation and even remote wipe it to see the full list of stuff you can do here check this out
So its been 6 days and I have had a good dig around through the Marketplace Hub, bought several apps and also used Trial mode on a few to see if i liked them. Her here some of the gems I have found.
- Couch to 5k – This is the first application I purchased. It is designed to help you move up to running 5km (which I have never been able to do) within 9 weeks. Will let you know how I go
- Yoink – is a really cool concept you can get stuff free and also give stuff away in your local area straight from your WP7 device
- Channel 9 – stream Channel 9 content
- Ted – looking for inspiration then Stream some TED content
- BoomBaby – Download if your a developer and after using it if you are thinking whats that about my question to you is – Where were you?
- Max and the Magic Marker – Awesome use of a physics engine. Seriously, download it and test it out in trial mode now.
- AlphaJax – A cool word game, sort of like comparable scrabble. You can play a random person or call out for a game to friends on facebook or twitter. The game also has an in application chat feature and is the first game where I have seen push notifications being used.
- Unite – Uses your phones accelerometer to move balls around obstacles with the goal of uniting them. Pretty cool actually.
- RocketRiot – good for a bit of rocket blasting and jetpack fun
- Helicopter – first application that I have come across with Ad Content within it. Still a fun application
- Krashlander – This was fun also, i liked the design of the control overlay on the screen. I think it will be interesting to see what the new updates to this game will have
Theres a lot more that I could go into that I liked but I could quite literally go on forever. In fact if you have read this far through I applaud you :), keep going
What could be refined and/or improved – in no particular order:
- While the phone has many features it seems like some extra cool features are available in the United States but are missing for us Australians :(. It would be great to see the following features available in Australia or I may just have to move to the United States:
- Music Purchase directly in phone, or direct on PC, from Zune Marketplace
- Music “Rental” i.e Zune Pass Marketplace – pay per month listen to as much music as you want and keep 10 at the end of each month.
- Location and Direction features
- Support Local Search results Bing result pivot
- Support Speech Find command
- Support Clickable addresses to Maps from emails and websites etc.
When we talk about developers its Developer Developers Developers, when you talk about a large proportion of consumers its not just Video it is also – Music Music Music. The Music and Video hub is great and Zune helps sync the movies you have purchased through Zune onto the device. As for music, currently in Australia you are unable to purchase music through Zune Marketplace or directly on the phone. For many consumers including the one non tech female I tested it on it was something expected as an essential feature. I assume that Zune Marketplace would open for music sometime in the future within Australia – lets hope its before everyone gets their new shiny device for Christmas – Anyone got any announcements about when this may happen?
- Improvements for Map Application that comes out of the box:
- Enable drag on waypoints within map directions for re-routing.
- Directions given by voice synthesis when driving
- Squeeze some more Battery Life – I have not had major problems e.g only recharge about every 24hrs and i do listen to the radio, check email, and stream Channel 9 and TED sessions daily. Here are some further small suggestions that could be made that would enable those who want to make the most of their battery to take it one step further:
- Vibration feedback on Back, Search and Start button press is not configurable – even when the battery level is critical. For me personally while the vibration feedback is cool, i would like to be able to turn off the vibrate for these virtual buttons through settings to help conserve battery.
- Zune Video Rentals – So this is available in Australia. Rent for 14days or 24hours after first play. Cost is about 350 credits – a bit steep…. well come on I don’t have a job :). As for an improvement with the rentals it would be cool if this too kept up with the always connected user experience. Example I rented a movie to my Device and then Synchronized the copy of the Video back onto my PC for watching through Zune. On attempting to watch through Zune it reports – “You have already used the maximum number of licenses for this item”. So the experience I would expect here is sure the rental rules above apply. But hey watch 1/2 on the desktop then go catch a train/bus/tram and watch the other half on your phone – This would rock :).
- So what movie did I watch – Crazy Heart, was pretty cool and I must say having never been to the US the landscape in the film is awesome. And if your not using the HTC HD7 with built in stand, you can improvise with a Windows Phone cap
- I want the music on here to be available in the ringtones –
The Developer Platform:
The developer platform for WP7 is world class and even better its free I recommend that you jump in and try it out yourself. Here is a link to a great starting place for getting your free developer tools – App Hub Downloads
In addition to these I recommend you check out
- Azure – I believe Azure is going to be an enabler for many great WP7 applications – got an application idea that needs to scale, process and/or store data in the cloud?
- OData SDK for WP7 – Makes easy work of consuming OData feeds.
- Sync Framework 4.o October 2010 CTP – enable data sync scenarios for WP7, iPhone, WM, Silverlight and more
- Silverlight Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 on Codeplex – a great bunch of controls for the UI.
Windows Phone 7 Rocks and is a huge leap forward for both consumers and developers – it is “My Preeeeciouous” (Gollem, Lord of the Rings)
Now back to development
Note: if you want to have a play around on my device please feel free to approach me at http://thesaug.org this Thursday night 25/11/2010.