Microsoft Open House | Windows Phone 7

I stand tall and proud next to my HTC Touch Pro 2 – it’s not the thinnest, sexiest, nor the newest on the market but it has Windows and that’s all I need. My first smart phone was the HTC Mogul – way back in 2007, and since then I haven’t been able to fall for another phone. I tried catching on to the blackberry tour that was spreading like wild fire amongst my Facebook friends, as they all posted their BBMs on their statuses, but there was just something about the 5+ minute startups that just did it to me. It drove me nuts and it didn’t last more than 2 months in my possession. It did take nice pictures though – my current phone doesn’t have flash – which makes no sense considering how expensive it initially was.

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Anyway – let’s get on with this. I experienced the new Windows Phone 7 today and all I can say is that I was a little disappointed with the squares on the screen. It was just different. When it comes to cars, I opt for the rounded ones, instead of boxing looking yucky ones…that’s what came to mind when I saw it. I had Brandon – the man behind a lot of its marketing, show me the goodies though and my opinion quickly changed.

Earlier today I had a good friend of mine tell me he thought it was too simple and looked cheap. I said if you think it looks simple then Microsoft probably got their job done. The way that the phone works is ‘fluid’ like, you flow from screen to screen, without the usual interruptions of you going into another window, which some phones may give you. The way Microsoft described it was like moving from one place on the table to another – as you continued moving through the screens. I interpreted more as a 5 course meal, w/ each course bringing you something better.

If you’re in your contacts, with a quick swipe to your left, you can see your contacts recent Facebook statuses. This may not appeal to everyone but honestly, I am the type of person who goes to sleep right after checking email, and usually wakes up and checks Facebook – its just what I do, so this was nice. There wasn’t an annoying Facebook application (because I find them all to be annoying) – it was embedded into the phone, and Brandon made a good point. Facebook has over 500 million users – why wouldn’t this feature be added, it makes all the sense in the world.

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Now, as a myspace-picture taker, I take a ton of shots. I am the paparazzi in all of my friends and family’s lives. I am the one that captures all the moments, even the ones you forgot, or thought you couldn’t capture. Windows Mobile facilitates this (and much more) by allowing you to enable the phones camera through a button on the side of the screen, so you hold your phone like a camera and in about 5 seconds have a pic. We did a quick test and realized it took me over 12 seconds to get my camera to start, and actually capture a pic, so that was impressive. There are times where 5-7 seconds could make all the difference between capturing a newborn’s quick smile, or capturing someone’s perfect jumpshot.

While I may forget certain aspects that I loved – please forgive the fact that I am literally all over the place – I have a page full of ‘oh my god I need to capture this’ notes, and they are literally all over, like in all directions, with stars and stuff, just to emphasize what I thought was the best…so back to it…

Microsoft emphasized the fact that their goal in making Windows Phone 7 was to ensure people would be able to do what they’ve always been doing – just faster. It’s true. While the squares look weird, to the unfamiliar eye, like Microsoft says, it’s simply different. It’s different, yet easily adaptable. Once you start swiping and pinching the screen – you’ll be taking pics and uploading to FB in no time.

While some of the features of the phone may appear to be super cooler to me, and may already exist on other phones, understand that its new to me. You would really need to listen to me talk about it to understand my excitement. The most exciting thing for me was Fandango app. First of all, it automatically determines your location – which is nice, especially when you’re in the middle of Manhattan and have no clue what zip code you’re in. Another thing it shows are the movie times and while you’re probably reading and thinking to yourself ‘Yea, and??’ – heres the big AND. So it shows you the movie times AND also gives you a countdown for the next movies. What this mean is that if there’s a movie starting in 15 minutes, or 7 minutes, you’ll be able to see that, and it’ll give you the closest movies to you. The reason why this is extremely exciting for me is because I will most likely not have to use my mathematical optimization formulas when trying to determine what two movies to watch, and where to go because now I can simply figure out who starts when, and how soon. Ah-so much excitement…I’ve been yearning to go to the movies for weeks and now I can’t wait to search for one on a Windows Phone 7.

For the music lovers out there, that’s made the switch to Zune long ago – all phones with Windows Phone 7 come with it pre-installed. If you have the Zune Pass – you’re as good as good gets and can listen to your fav tunes from the cloud.

The phones I saw today were LG’s Quantum, HTC’s Surround (w/ surround sound speakers) and Samsung’s Focus (the one used for the demo). Their size and shapes did not vary much – I did notice that none had a full QWERTY keyboard (correct me if I’m wrong) but they were all extremely easy to navigate, even with my long nails.

I absolutely love Windows Phone 7, and although they only showed AT&T and TMobile phones, I heard Sprint’s HTC’s 7 Pro will be coming out next year in the first half…I shall cross my fingers and not use any upgrades until then!!!!