So, what’s up with Windows Phone 7? Luckily for us, we’re not left in the dark, since Microsoft regularly posts updated developer tools and emulator images for us to download. The latest release includes the new Microsoft Office functionality and integration, and after a little magic to unlock this functionality within the emulator image, you’ll find Microsoft has taken an interesting approach to Office on the phone.
I thoroughly disliked previous version of Microsoft Office for mobile. I have one HTC Windows Mobile device (the Artemis, if I’m not mistaken – I haven’t used it for three years) as well as an old-world PDA, an iPaq (still a powerful little monster). The mobile versions of Office on those devices were pretty horrible.
What Microsoft is showing off for Windows Phone 7, however, is pretty interesting. It follows the minimalistic black-and-white user interface style of the rest of the operating system, and comes packed with online sharing options and integration with other aspects of the mobile device. The videos below show some of it in action (yes, I’m experimenting with the colour options on YouTube – OSNews needs moar unicorns and sunshine).
This stuff could very well be the killer feature for Windows Phone 7 – at least in the business world. I don’t think any BlackBerry, Android phone, or iPhone has an Office experience quite like this one.
You can try this stuff out today using the Windows Phone 7 emulator, but most of it is locked away, and you’ll need to perform some magic first. The very first emulator image was unlocked within minutes of it being online, and since Microsoft has not done anything whatsoever to prevent it (the method has remained unchanged, despite several new releases), you can pretty much assume Microsoft doesn’t care.
Apart from the Office stuff (which was added to the previous release), this latest release also adds the phone and dialler interface, smoother transitions and effects, and of course includes a number of fixes and lower-level changes. The unlocking procedure is detailed at Egnadget, but do note that you’ll need the latest .bin file from xda-developers.
Needless to say, this only runs on Windows.
Looking awesome; although the first release of Windows Phone 7 will not include copy and paste plus others, Microsoft has promised such features in future updates. the Question is whether these updates are going to make their way on those phones that’ll ship with Windows Phone 7 or will the OEM vendors milk the customers by demanding they upgrade their handset.
This is one of the big reasons I’ve never gone for a smart phone because my experience so far has been carriers or phone vendors using their position of power to cripple old phones to force upgrades. Case in point I had a Blackberry, Vodafone were too lazy to provide DST update so I had to download an update off Optus Australia. Btw, it isn’t just limited to them; Archos has failed to provide an update to Android 1.6 even though 2.1 is in wide spread adoption by vendors – another attempt to milk more cash from customers with the, “well, if you want the latest, you gotta get a new device”.
As much as I hope for the best success for Windows Phone 7 thus push competition, I fear that hardware vendors and carriers are ultimately going to cripple the experience for the sake of making a dollar
Btw, Visual Studio 2010 is friggin awesome; if all the bad news about Apple wasn’t enough to push me away from the Mac, the improved experience of Windows 7, Visual Studio 2010 and Windows Phone 7 make it even more enticing to make the change over.