WINDOWS Phone 7 Sneak Peek @ Microsoft Singapore

Posted on June 24, 2010

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Windows Phone 7 Sneak Peek event.
Date: 24th June, 2010 (Thursday)
Time: 7:30 PM
Location: Microsoft Singapore (Level 21)

This sneek peek was organized by Mobinauts ( http://www.mobinauts.com , a Spore PDA group )  with Microsoft S’pore.
About 70 people attended the event which commenced at  740 pm and end about 9 pm. Chris Ismael ( Microsoft Developer Evangelist ) was the presenter and he highlighted that since this was a non-official initiative all members of the press were requested not to report about it. However, any PDA forum member and bloggers were welcome to report and discuss it on the web. Some developers  stay back to have further discussions with Chris Ismael. Developers were encouraged by Chris to submit their apps for testing on the new phone ( Microsoft Spore has 2 units )

Highlights of the event :
– Main features of Windows Phone 7 which was demo on the phone itself
– Examples of apps developed ( some by Chris ) with emphasis on Silverlight for the phone
– The phone itself,  attendees were allowed to test it : it is from Korea,  LG brand  with built-in slider keyboard
– Developers invited to http://innovativesingapore.com to follow the progress of developing apps for the new phone
– Q & A session

Chris highlighted that all the presentation details and the phone were still in prototype stage. For those who’d been following the progress of the Windows Phone 7 on the web, there was nothing really new. The evening’s presentation only confirm what I already knew. The new phone will be available in S’pore by end Nov/December this year.

I noted most of the attendees were tech savvy with their phones and had already customized it through HSPL , USPL unlocking, flashing custom roms, theme-ing etc. For such users, last night Windows Phone 7 presentation only confirmed their worst fears – the apparent lack of customization that will be available in the new phone. This is however still early to be judge as there are always enthusiasts eg forum XDA guys who will attempt to break this limitation once the official release is available.
Without customization, I find the new UI unattractive, boring and “minimalistic” ( as quote by Microsoft ) . The new built-in features must be outstandingly good  to wow a lot of potential users to cross over from present WM6.1, WM6.5, WM6.5x  and steal share from the the new released iPhone 4 and Androids smartphones. The sheer minimalism of the interface is striking, and I feel that Microsoft is taking a big risk here – trying to be different , trying to revive and be another “Apple” ???

Microsoft has done what would have been unthinkable for the company – it started from scratch. At least, that’s how things look and feel with Windows Phone 7. All previous apps/programs on the WM5,6 platforms can no longer be used as the new phone entail a new way of program installation, all through the Marketplace.

Quote by a Engadget reviewer :
Start screen: the Start experience is completely revamped, now focusing on sets of tiles which represent links to applications or contacts. It’s a completely contextual experience which can be customized both by users and carriers, and allows people to “promote” items higher up in the list. To the right of this screen is a long, vertical list of all your apps for quick jumps. It will take some time getting used to this layout; one or two tiles per line, and that long list which goes up and down rather than left and right, but honestly — this does have some advantages. Things seems less out of reach in this configuration, and Microsoft swears that they’ll be working closely with developers to build widgets that make use of the concept.
General phone navigation: If you’ve used the Zune HD, you know what this is like. Lots of bold text on the device, lists with text cut off on the sides of the phone, and additional screens to the left and right driven by arrows pointing you in either direction. For the most part this works, though in instances like email, it feels like there’s a bit of wasted space. Everything else is super stripped down — the calendar app looks like vector line art (and weirdly one of our favorite parts of the phone), the browser seems to be using the bare minimum to show its content (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), and the phone application is essentially monochromatic. On the other hand, you’ve got a beautiful and robust photo app (with pinch to zoom, as in the browser), and the Zune end of things is perfectly integrated.

Looking at the bright side, for the first time in a long time, Microsoft is launching a new and brave attempt to be different . It was only a few days ago Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer said “we will win in the mobile space”.  If Microsoft  can deliver on the promises of 7 Series, this could change the current landscape of the smartphone market… but that’s a lot to deliver on. Hold tight, because things are really starting to get interesting.

Microsoft official video :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlJ_fLPpmdM&feature=player_embedded

Video of the phone Microsoft used – same phone we saw lastnight : a Korean LG make – in the beginning part of the video only , rest are news about other stuffs

A comprehensive review of Windows Phone 7 can be found here :
http://www.engadget.com/2010/02/15/windows-phone-7-series-hands-on-and-impressions/
http://www.engadget.com/2010/02/17/windows-phone-7-series-everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know/