City News gives the scoop on the latest iPhone rival—the new Windows Phone 7 operating system.
|PHOTOCOURTESY OF WINDOWS PHONE, MICROSOFT|
The year 2010 is rounding up as quite the techie’s year, with the launch of the iPhone 4 and the iPad, two of the must-have gadgets for the perennially plugged-in and on-the-go. By now, most would have heard about the Windows Phone 7 operating system which hit the market last Thursday on Oct. 21. But just how much does it give the smart phone-of-the-moment, the iPhone, a run for its money?
MORE PHONE MODELS
Unlike the iPhone, the Windows Phone 7 operating system runs on several different phone models, namely the LG Optimus 7, which is already in the market, and four other handsets from HTC and Samsung, to be released over the next few weeks.
For those strong enough to resist iPhone dominance, this will afford the luxury of handset choices. All phones are touch screen models, light and aesthetically pleasing. Prices range between S$798 (HTC Trophy) and S$998 (Samsung’s Omnia 7 and HTC HD7).
DYNAMIC LIVE TILES
While the iPhone home screen is highly application-centric, populated by applications, Internet shortcuts and folders, the Windows Phone 7 promises a more dynamic home screen experience. In place of application icons, it has Live Tiles, featuring real-time updates such as calendar news, emails and status updates. Without having to click on each application, users can take in their social and work lives at a glance.
Additional Live Tiles can also be created from other applications, web sites, photos or music, bringing personalization of the home screen to a higher level.
INTEGRATION OF SOCIAL MEDIA UPDATES
Unlike the regular contact list, your contacts on the Windows Phone 7 will have live updates all attached to it. One click of a contact will bring up his or her Facebook updates, Windows Live updates and picture updates—you can even select your favourite people to be “pinned” to your home page so you can get immediate updates just by clicking on a tile.
GREAT FOR GAMERS
The Windows Phone 7 also carries the Xbox LIVE, a first for any phone. Hardcore fans need not fear the dilution of the Xbox experience, however—Windows Phone 7 automatically syncs up the Xbox LIVE gamer tag, scores and wins with the phone, allowing for a greater level of consistency and interaction with other players. The Marketplace tab allows for gamers to purchase new games, but this is what we like best—its try-before-you-buy demos, which allows for free trials before making a purchase.
WHAT WE DON’T LIKE
Certain applications are only available for certain users, and that would be fine by us, if it wasn’t for one key app—the Singtel Xplorer, a GPS system that tracks where you are and helps you find directions to wherever you’re going. This highly practical app works for both drivers and pedestrians, and we especially like its navigation active search function—type in “coffee” and you will be shown all the nearby coffee shops. Looks great, works great, only trouble is that it is offered for Singtel users only.
Could the Windows Phone 7 kill off the iPhone? Probably not, but it does bring something new to the table, in terms of utility and dynamism.
All three operators, SingTel, StarHub and M1, carry Windows 7 phones.