Windows Phone Mobile Operating System Put to The Test

The Windows Phone platform has not gotten its fair share of attention thanks to the likes of Apple and Android but we'll give you the inside scoop on Windows smartphones. Let's not waste any time and get right into the heart of things.

This operating system is definitely different than what you're used to and this can be good or bad depending on your outlook. We have all heard apps, apps and more apps but not with Windows mobile smartphones.

Instead get used to having your tasks displayed as tiles on your smartphone which are arranged into hubs. No app icons to be found.

Tiles and Not Apps

These tiles do make life easier. They are pretty large buttons found on the home screen and actually convey a lot of information to you without having to do anything. For instance, get updates on unread emails, your Facebook activity stream, or call information without having to run any apps. This is brillant.

Microsoft thought out the user experience fully where most individuals would prefer to have their main data and content sent to them without having to launch a program to figure out what is going on. Remember the whole purpose of a smartphone is to have accessibility 24/7 and you definitely get this when using a Windows phone.

Also you'll be surprised to see how Microsoft promotes their Windows mobile operating system. You'd think they would want you to spend more time on your handheld, but this is not the case. The goal is to have you spend less time on your smartphone and get back to your life! Which explains why everything is designed to show information at a glance.

We Lied There Are Apps

If you are in love with apps then unfortunately this is not going to be the smartphone for you.

But before going any farther there are two extremes when it comes to apps and your operating system:

  • Open e.g. Google Android
  • Closed e.g. Apple iOS

And it is not a surprise that Microsoft falls squarely in the middle where not completely open like Android and yet not like Apple which runs their iOS as though there's a prison riot and must resort to lock down mode.

Okay, perhaps not the best analogy but you get the point.

Windows 7 is fairly new to the scene and this shows up in the number of apps currently available. You have some slim pickings which places it closer on the scale towards Research in Motion in this regard. Definitely will not see the huge numbers of apps such as found with Apple and Android.

Just know your apps must be purchased through the Windows app store.

Features and All That Good Stuff

Let's be clear this is a Windows operating system so expect to see heavy integration/compatibility with Microsoft's core suite of products.

Multi-touch is central to any Windows phone allowing you to pinch and zoom or scroll to your heart's content. This will make your web browsing experience quite remarkable as you navigate using a version of Internet Explorer Mobile. One advantage is that you'll have the ability to maintain a list of favorite web pages and tiles linking to those web pages from the Start screen.

Email is essential in todays day and age. You'll have access to Hotmail, Outlook (of course), Yahoo! Mail, Gmail and support for many other services through POP and IMAP protocols (not even sure exactly what these last two categories mean but just know it works and you'll receive your emails).

Many options when it comes to messaging. But on a Windows phone we're talking about "threads." This means you can stay in touch with your contacts through Windows Live Messenger and Facebook Chat as well as traditional text messaging. But if you hate tapping away at a screen to send your messages there is voice recognition allowing your speech to be converted into a text message. Probably something we'd recommend while driving.

Gamers are gonna love Windows smartphones. There is Xbox Live on Windows Phone which is going to bring a console-like gaming experience to your smartphone. You'll be able to display your avatar in 3D fashion and through the Games hub interact at some many levels including:

  • gamerscore and leaderboards
  • message Xbox Live friends
  • and Spotlight

So we're not exactly gamers and not exactly sure what all of that means but it definitely sounds exciting!

Let's not forget know music, video and pictures.

There are two hubs available for your entertainment pleasure:

  1. Music & Video
  2. Pictures.

If you're not aware Microsoft had a competitor to the ipod called the Zune and this has somewhat found its way back into the windows mobile software. Zune for Windows Phone is an application that links between your PC and smartphone.

Did you grow up in a Microsoft world?

If you answered yes then you'll really appreciate the Office hub which organizes all of the Microsoft Office apps and documents:

  • Word Mobile
  • Excel Mobile
  • PowerPoint Mobile
  • OneNote Mobile
  • SharePoint Workspace Mobile

You probably get the hint that these are the mobile versions but they are linked between your Windows phone and the desktop version of Microsoft Office.

Our Round Up

Clearly if you live and breath Microsoft this would be a no brainer to be using the Windows phone operating system. But even if not there were not too many drawbacks that were encountered.

You'll just have to get used to the fact that you can't pretend to be busy on a Windows smartphone because they'll send you new information so you only have to glance at the phone. Sorry all you folks who constantly need to check your smartphone, but now it will be just a glance here and there because the goal is to live life and not be tethered to your Windows mobile smartphone.

Each mobile operating system will have its fair share of flaws and exceptional benefits but overall we like what Microsoft has developed.

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