Windows Phone 7 picked apart by bloggers

During and after Microsoft's recent MIX10 developer conference, bloggers, users and coders are still exploring and analysing the details of Windows Phone 7.


Blogosphere reactions to Windows Phone 7 is all over the map, but veteran users and developers are not happy with the loss of features they've come to expect and to rely on.

"A year ago, who would have believed Windows Mobile 7 would lack cut and paste, multitasking, memory cards and the ability to run arbitrary applications?" writes Surur, one of the trio of bloggers at WMPoweruser. "In many ways the [new Microsoft] OS is worse than the iPhone, since we have been used to our freedom for more than a decade and have had it snatched away."

The website will move to Windows Phone 7 but only under duress. "We still love Windows Mobile but we are not stupid enough to believe there is any point in hanging on to a platform abandoned by its founders," he writes

But their decision to upgrade is for different reasons than those desired by Microsoft. "This however is not because we are accepting of the limitations Microsoft imposed, but because we know, lurking under the layer of Microsoft's stupidly imposed restrictions sits a Windows directory and a Registry, and we wish to report on the community wresting away control from those who think they know better," Surur writes.

In an accompanying poll of reader plans for Windows Phone 7, about one third say they will stick with the current Windows Mobile 6.5 platform. Almost exactly the same percentage say they will upgrade, though 10% of these say they are doing so "reluctantly." The remainder say the will abandon Microsoft, with the vast bulk of them, 26%, opting for the Google Android phone platform.

The hackers at the XDA Developers Forum have begun picking apart Windows Phone 7 based on extracting the emulator image from the new Windows Phone SDK, and running this on an X86-based PC. This was widely but wrongly understood as instead being a leaked ROM of the full pre-release OS. XDA has a FAQ that tries to clear up the most common questions and issues based on this misconception.

One example:

Q: If we have a real WP7 device and extract the ROM can the great developers at XDA please put it on my HP IPAQ?

A: WP7 is based on a new kernel and you don't have WP7 drivers for your device. It won't be possible to run WP7 on any older device.

AnandTech, an IT-oriented news site, has a comprehensive, straightforward and clear technical analysis of Windows Phone 7, posted by Brian Klug, based on his attendance at the recent MIX10 conference.

Klug treats seriously Microsoft's claims and assertions for the new platform, and then deconstructs to tease out their meaning for the site's IT-oriented audience. "Microsoft wants developers to forget about Windows Mobile and immediately start thinking WP7S. The sense of urgency is because Windows Phone 7 Series will ship before the end of the year ('Holiday 2010')," he writes.

The analysis includes straightforward explanations of new terms like "live tiles" and "hubs." On key issues such as multitasking, Klug goes into detail to show that Windows Phone 7 is in fact a multitasking operating system, but this capability is not open to third party applications.

Klug avoids snark and attempts to understand and analyse Microsoft's thinking. "You're probably wondering, why can't third party developers write applications that run persistently in the background?" Klug writes. "For now, it's because Microsoft isn't sure how to allow it without the potential for battery-draining to happen. Power users like AnandTech readers are able to make the distinction between a dead battery caused by the platform being poorly written, and poor battery life caused by running an application in the background. But ultimately, Microsoft is worried that your average end user won't see the distinction, instead faulting the entire platform as having poor battery life and power management."

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