The McDev Blog

Kevin McKelvin's perspective of the Ruby world.

Windows Phone - a Few Months Later

(Update: I’ve switched to Android now with a Samsung Galaxy S.  Read more here - Android vs WP7)

At the end of February I took a leap of faith and bought an HTC Trophy - Windows Phone 7 device.  This was largely thanks to the likes of Rudi Grobler, Rob MacLean and Darrel Schreyer going on and on about how great WP7 is :)

So it’s been just short of three months, let’s take a look at real usability of the device.  I’m going to keep this one short and try avoid going into too much detail about the OS.

As I said before I got the HTC Trophy (GSMArena link).

First up it’s a delight to hold, it feels solid but it’s not bulky.  I’ve found phones with larger screens like the Desire HD with its 4.3” screen to be uncomfortable to use.  The 3.8” face of the Trophy is a perfect fit.  I suppose one gets used to the feel of the larger phones though.

Software wise the OS is solid.  It’s extremely smooth and responsive - Microsoft has spent a lot of time putting little transitions and animation effects in that just make the phone a joy to use on a day-to-day basis.  Internet Explorer and Outlook are both deeply entrenched in the device and are both a joy to use.  IE uses the same Trident rendering engine found in IE7 on PC and with the next update we’ll get the latest IE9 rendering engine (which means HTML5 support on the device - including audio and video).

Outlook is superb.  Mails viewed on the device look roughly the same as when viewed on a PC - which is a great plus.  Fonts and images are rendered accurately and with the high resolution 480x800 screen it’s crisp and clear.

The last update (NoDo) fixed the problems I was having with bing maps not loading on mobile data connections - though the included bing maps application is very weak compared to Google Maps (gMaps application in the Marketplace).

There are a few things still missing on the platform.  The lack of socket support (which is coming with the Mango update) means that we haven’t got a decent instant messenger yet.  Skype has been promised now that socket support is on its way.  I have hopes that WhatsApp will make its way to WP7 soon as well.

Overall I’m happy with the choice to go with WP7.  The phone is just as capable as any iPhone or Android device and here in South Africa cost me less than half as much as an iPhone 4.  The platform is still growing but with due patience I believe Microsoft has a viable competitor to the iPhone and Android markets.