Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 15th Feb 2010 15:47 UTC
Windows So, after much, much speculation and many, many rumours, Microsoft finally took the wraps off Windows Phone 7 Series, its newest mobile operating system. Hold on to your hats, because uncharacteristically for the Redmond giant, they've rebuilt everything from the ground up - this system has little to no connection to the Windows Mobile of yore. I don't say this lightly - but dear lord, Windows Phone 7 Series is full of win. Update: Hands-on video from Engadget inside. Update II: There is no sync application. It's all done over-the-air, to the internet. Only videos and music are synced via the Zune software. Update III: Since I didn't mention it clearly, here it goes: Windows Phone 7 Series is a clean break. There is no backwards compatibility at all. Update IV: Channel9 has a 22-minute in-depth demonstration of Windows Phone 7 Series.
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New concepts?
by mrhasbean on Wed 17th Feb 2010 00:35 UTC
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Now before I start of the stuff that's likely to cost me the ire of many I'll begin by saying that I quite like the concepts they're showing, but there are a LOT of things that need to be addresses before this thing is even close to being ready for market.

Despite what some are saying though there is nothing new in this. "Experiences" are simply "Spaces", multiple workspaces that use a combination of active desktop type components and gadgets (or widgets), and the screen of the device is a view portal similar to the method of magnifying the screen for vision impaired users. So all of these concepts have been around for some time in Windows, OSX and the Linux UI's.

While I quite like the look of what they're trying to achieve, I think there are numerous flaws in it. My wife is vision impaired and uses magnification technologies on both her Mac at home and the Windows terminal she uses at work, and her level of frustration at having to constantly scroll around to see everything is often very evident. Would she choose to do it if she didn't have to? No way! She hates it, but for her it is a necessary evil. On a few occasions when she's had an issue with something on her computer and I've used it "zoomed in" I have also found it tedious and frustrating when things overlap the screen. Scrolling all the time is NOT fun, and I think this concept will wear thin with users very quickly. It is something that many people - especially those who aren't tech savvy - will have real trouble grasping.

There are also some questions to be answered with the whole "Experience" concept. Where are you going to see your "other" applications? Things that don't fit any of their predefined "experiences". Is there going to be an "OK I've finished playing, it's time to do some work" experience? Does the wall just keep growing as new components are added to a particular experience? If it does it raises questions about how far you have to scroll back and forward to get to particular component. Are there visual cue's for novice users to guide them to the place where they can do advanced tasks like unlock the device or make a phone call?

I think maybe Microsoft have done themselves a disservice by showing this before it was really ready to be shown. Sure they will get those who don't think beyond the initial "cool and new" factor all weak at the knees, but they could very well have turned away those who think beyond the glitz to things like usability for the masses.

In any case I think it will do well for them. There are the Windows diehards who wouldn't buy an iPhone because it comes from Apple, and of course there will be some corporate management capabilities in the thing with profiles etc. so they should do well in that market. It's really nothing new though, just a nice way of bringing existing technologies that are really designed for a bigger screen to a handheld device.

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