Following the established precedent from past "30 Days" series, Day 28 was devoted to my top five complaints about Windows Phone 7. Today's 30 Days With Windows Phone 7 post is the counter to yesterday--my five favorite things about Windows Phone 7 "Mango".
It is a bit of a culture shock when you’re used to having apps for everything under the sun, but the Hub trumps the app in Windows Phone 7 and makes the core functions of the smartphone easier and more accessible. I still need apps for deeper functionality, and for things that aren't integrated into the hubs, but it is nice to just have commonly-used features seamlessly integrated together into the "Mango" platform itself.
2. Trial Apps
I can tell a lot about an app based on the ratings and reviews of those who came before me and took the time to share their opinions, but I am often interested in apps that don't have that kind of history, or I run into apps that may be great in and of themselves, but don't really fit my needs.
It is awesome to have a system in place that enables me to check out the app on a trial basis before committing to purchase it. It makes more sense than forcing developers to create two versions of every app--the "lite" ad-supported or trial version, and the real thing, and it keeps my device from getting cluttered up with a bunch of apps I am not even using.
I like the Threads aspect of the Messaging app. Granted, on my iPhone I can text, or instant message on multiple services as well, but I have to switch to each app and each segment of the conversation is its own little island.
It is cool to be able to switch between methods of messaging on the fly within the same message thread. It is another example of how Microsoft has shifted the smartphone culture from being app-centric to just being seamlessly integrated into the Windows Phone 7 experience.
4. Local Scout
This might just be my favorite feature of "Mango". When I travel I like to see local sites and try local restaurants, but figuring out where to go, or which restaurants are good versus which ones will give you food poisoning and kill you can be difficult when you're in unfamiliar territory.
Local Scout displays ratings and reviews and lets me tap on any of the listings to get more information like directions or hours of operation, and click the phone number to call them up right from within the Local Scout results. It's very handy.
5. Visual Search
It is cool to be able to search for music, books, and movies by just pointing the smartphone camera at the cover. I also like the built-in QR code and Microsoft Tag scanning. But, the most impressive part of the visual search capabilities in my opinion is the ability to scan and translate text. The translations aren't perfect, but if I am ever in a foreign country I'm sure I would appreciate having that ability.
There are a lot of other features of Windows Phone 7 "Mango" that I appreciate. I like the way Microsoft does multitasking--providing the net effect while conserving battery power and not needlessly running background processes. I am a fan of the voice interaction and commands, and the Find My Phone features available from the windowsphone.com site.
There is a lot to like about "Mango", but these are my top five. Check it out for yourself and let me know what your five favorite features of Windows Phone 7 "Mango" are.