Windows Phone 7 is Here…Finally

by Matt Klassen on November 9, 2010

Since Microsoft unveiled its new mobile operating system back in February of this year, the intervening months have been a gruelling act of patience as the tech community has waited with bated breath to finally get its hands on a Windows Phone 7 (WP7) device. But the wait is officially over as WP7 was released into the wild this week.

Microsoft kicked off the official rollout of Windows Phone 7 enabled devices with three unique offerings: the Samsung Focus, the HTC Surround, and the HTC HD7. All three are certainly capable mobile devices, but in the modern mobile market that’s hardly enough.

The question really is, do any of these devices offer any added or unique functionality, user interface, or features that users won’t find on the iPhone or any of the more popular Android phones? Lamentably, it looks like two of the three phones are a bust, offering users little more than bulky feature phones, while one stands out as a feature rich innovative competitor to the mobile market incumbents.

If Microsoft has officially kicked off the launch of Windows Phone 7 with what it considers to be the strongest of its upcoming line up of devices, I think Microsoft is in trouble. Of the three phones it seems only the Samsung Focus has the mobile chops to compete with the big boys, with both HTC devices coming up significantly short.

Despite the shortcomings of these devices, however, the WP7 operating system itself remains a viable option. Not only has it bridge the corporate/consumer gap, it sports currently unrivalled gaming options and its user interface is straightforward and incredibly easy to use. But without further ado, here’s a quick look at the first WinPho7 devices.

Samsung Focus

While many analysts are complaining that the game speeds on the Samsung Focus are incredibly slow and cumbersome, the phone itself seems to be the only offering of note at the time of writing.

Offering users a brilliantly bright AMOLED screen, a speedy processor, incredibly clear call quality and great performance from its notably inferior 5mp camera, and the ever growing number of available apps on Microsoft’s Marketplace, it’s a perfect consumer oriented device. Add to that its ability to seamlessly sync with Office and other Microsoft programs for your PC and you’ve also got the perfect business device as well. As most initial reports will tell you, this may be WP7’s best seller.

HTC Surround

In my mind there’s little market for feature smartphones, especially when that ‘feature’ is music. The draw of the HTC Surround is its built-in speakers, offering users a portable music platform that comes complete with a kickstand to hold it up when that impromptu street corner party inevitably pops up. While it does sport the industry standard hardware and it looks the best of the bunch, the fact that the speakers add significant weight and it offers less functionality than the Samsung means that its already second best in this bunch.


Much like its other HTC WP7 brethren the Surround, the HTC HD7 looks great, sporting the largest screen of the bunch. But aside from that, however, the HD7 really doesn’t impress. For a phone that’s all about having the biggest screen one would reasonably expect it to be a good screen, but with terrible viewing angles the HD7 fails to deliver. Had HTC done better with the HD7 it would be the WP7 to get, but for now it comes in a distant third in this WP7 competition.

So what have we learned today? If you’re in the market for a WP7 enabled phone right now there’s really only one choice, the Samsung Focus. But I would guess that we’ll see even better devices before Christmas, at least I hope we do.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

UC Change Agent November 9, 2010 at 8:13 am

You may also wish to check out the LG Optimus 7 (exclusive to Telus) as well. I think it’s Speech-to-Text feature is excellent.

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