|More Windows Phone impressions
||[Dec. 24th, 2011|10:28 pm]
I've spent a few more days playing around with Windows Phone 7, so here are more impressions comparing it to my Palm Pre:
- The Pre has a physical keyboard (and no virtual one), so I wasn't sure how I'd adapt. The virtual keyboard on the Focus S isn't as good as a physical one, but it's pretty good, and I'm impressed with the predictive text. It's also nice to always have the keyboard available - on the Pre it was a bit of a mental hurdle to slide it out.
- Live tiles are nice, but they serve two distinct purposes. One is for commonly used apps: aside from live tiles, all you get are all apps (minus games; see below) in a big alphabetical list, although there is an easy way to jump to a particular letter. The other is a replacement for notifications: you can "pin" various pieces of data (like, say, flights you're tracking!) and they can be updated by background apps. I wish there was a way to organize tiles better, and maybe a way to see apps in most recently downloaded order.
- You can't bookmark apps in the marketplace in case you see one to buy later. That makes me sad.
- It's nice that there's a common framework for making trial apps (and as a developer you can limit it however you want), and you can upgrade by buying the full version without having to redownload. But there doesn't seem to be a standard way to get from the trial app to the Marketplace to buy it, and most trial apps don't even have a button in the app to upgrade?? Maybe I'm missing something?
- Pretty sure this is a hardware issue, but the light sensor on this Focus S is a bit wonky; sometimes the screen brightness flickers lighter and darker.
- The People hub is a nice aggregation of Facebook and Twitter.
- On my Pre, I'm used to opening my Twitter client, tapping any links that look interesting (which opens them in separate cards), then reading them one by one. This is harder now, since to emulate it I have to click a link, and then press the back button, and hope all my tabs stay around. And it means I have to set all links to open in new tabs, so I have to remember to close each one when I'm done with it, which I've forgotten multiple times.
- Having an "accent color" that you can change (with lots of good options!) is cool. Most built in apps use the current accent color as a background on their icon, so it really changes the look of the phone. (it also means I have to decide whether to use the accent color background for my apps or not...jury's still out on that)
- The way Windows Phone does "multitasking" is by making a long press on the back button show recently used apps that are still in memory and can restore themselves to their previous state. This works well enough for, say, switching to PasswordHash, generating a password, and switching back to IE. It can take a few seconds to restore state, which is a bit of a bummer