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Windows Phone 7 Series Eyes On and Demo - Voice Search Appears!

We just snagged some more hands-on time with Windows Phone 7 Series (can we just call it WP7 yet?). Don't pay attention to the hardware or even the occasional slowdown. The hardware is just a dev unit and not what we'll see. The software has plenty of time to simmer a bit before it's pre-holiday 2010 release date.

What you should pay attention to is the fluidity of the interface and how nice it is that the device can pull in from multiple sources to multiple places. Instead of thinking "I want to go to facebook to look at pictures from my friend," you just open the Pictures hub. Hubs and not apps.

Also, looks like there's at least one unannounced feature here - some sort of voice search. About 2:20 in the video (which is after the break, by the way), the voice search pops up and, well, isn't quite ready for prime time. We're ready for it, though, and here's to hoping it's ready by launch.

 

(YouTube is still trying to encode the sucker, so come on back in 20 if it looks poor)

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Reader comments

Windows Phone 7 Series Eyes On and Demo - Voice Search Appears!

30 Comments

I wish you guys would embedd the video into the web page.....Some of us are behind big and powerful firewall/web filters.....

I'm very disapointed for yhe way it handles the touch navigation through the "pages". It waits for the flick to finish and then reacts, so you cannot get the feel if the flick is working out or not until 500ms later or so. It would have been better to have an instant response like the one on Android, SPB Mobile Shell or iPhone interfaces.
All the rest is looking pretty good.

I think the Samsung interface also has that reaction delay and it really does make the interface feel laggy. Let's hope that this delay is simply an issue with these early builds. If every page transition had that delay, navigating around that phone would be painful.

No seriously... i've been saying this for years.. give me a phone that is integrated with Xbox live and Zune and i'm sold.. no more phone for the rest of my life..
THIS IS IT!


game changing folks game changing... well of course.. if you're an Xbox user like i am.. it's game changing =)

Curious, I'm not getting any sound for the video, and I've tried on two PC's & browsers...

I think it's the worst interface man can imagine. We have 4" displays only to see there is a huge black bar on the right to waste screen space and make the UI feel like it's "de-centered". And the home? Big squares, monodimensional with two colors? Oh my God, how ugly this UI is... waste of screen space, really bad. I'm really disappointed. The actual HTC Sense UI is WAY better than this crap.

And I think it's fresh, totally new, smooth and it looks great. If you want to stick to your PC'esc icon sets and so on feel free to.

Agreed. Why are the phone and email icons so damn big and blue? Such a waste of space.

Is this phone made so 80 year olds can use it without their glasses? Jeez.

Hopefully WP7 phones can be "downgraded" to WM6.5.3. Hardware will be great, but the software doesn't interest me.

The keyboard is also worse than Sense's. Why not have the option to press and hold a letter to bring up a number? Why make me have to select a new keyboard.

So not pleased.

I have to agree. I have an HD2 on windows 6.5 and it's great! 7's UI is just so dull and boring in comparison. Oh dear :(

Sense on the HD2 is so much better looking, with it's animated weather feature and awesome glossy looks.

The big disappointment from the videos I've seen, is that it really lags, whereas the HD2 with Sense is super slick and feels like you're literally moving the images with your finger, unlike this, where it seems like an eternity before the next screen appears.

Microsoft, go back to the drawing board and look more closely at what HTC have done with the Sense UI (which kept 6.5 alive, by the way!).

Merv

what about localisation? does wp7 supports various languages & inputs?

They said that they'll talk about all the code and API's and so on at MiX next month. Today was just a intro to the new UI.

Does anybody else think that the big black bar on the right side of the start screen is the task manager? I could see it functioning much like the bottom bar on windows 7. Why else leave all that space there? Hubs for always running and featured programs. Task manager off to the side for quick access to running apps. Just a simple push to the home button and your task manager is right there as well as contacts, email, texts, etc.

i am really looking for a computer phone, not a gameboy phone. and i dont mean that games on a phone is bad they are awsome, i am comparing it to a gaming device which is a lockdown device that is made for one thing. a computer is made for everything that a computer can do.

an iphone is a gameboy phone and so is android. people go to iphone for a gameboy phone. people go to android because they dont like apple. but people go to microsoft for a productive computer device and this just doesnt look like it. it looks like a gameboy phone.

for instance. this phone is already assuming that i play xbox and use facebook and use bing. i dont!!! i use windows, and then i use whatever i feel like from there!!

i want a laptop with a phone!!! not a phone with a media shit pod in it!! "you can view available games" uughh!!! its like a commercial in your pocket!!

I really hate that the iphone drove mobile devices into this direction. I really liked Windows mobile standard and thought developers and Microsoft were making progress bridging professional and standard. How does this interface fit for those of us who like front facing qwerty keyboards and one handed operation (Samsung Jack and Epix). Is the weather even shown on the homescreen? This just looks like microsoft is trying to keep up with apple at the expense of the buyers and developers who kept them in business. In my opinion, all they needed to do was add a cursor to non touchscreen devices and move everyone over to WM professional. I'm going to stay with WM 6.x as long as I can and then might consider getting a blackberry.

I have to agree with fupamobile. I already have a Zune media Player. I don't need an I-Zune Media, Social App Phone. I need a superfast, multitasking, battery saving PDA that also can play Media (Zune Media player would work ;-), store and take pics, sync with my computer online and off, browse the internet, open my docs, runs oodles of apps of various flavors at a flick. WP7 may be different similar to the way the Iphone is different and it may sell to people who want something like an Iphone but different. I need a mini laptop on speed that can do whatever I need it to do. When FaceBook & Twitter wears out, moves on and other apps come up, whats this phone going to do for you?

The interface looks kinda cluttered and messy. Doesn't really look like a smartphone that anyone can pick up and figure out straight away (like the iPhone).

I wonder how powerful the CPU and GPU have to be for the UI to feel fuild? I'd hate to think that you'll need a 1.5 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU for the phone to be useable.

If the updates from Facebook, Xbox, etc are live, WP7 better have a good push notification service otherwise battery life will be woeful.

Interesting that there has been no mention about upgrading existing (or upcoming) WM6.5 devices to WP7. Would you lock yourself into a 2-year contract with a WM6.5 phone knowing that WP7 devices are just 6-9 months away.

Exactly. Plus, where's the personalization at? I don't like icon grids and I certainly don't like these tiles. Give me headlines, weather, my calendar and tasks all on the homescreen.

I also don't need Twitter or Facebook linked to my contacts. Using third party software keeps that separated from work and is completely optional. I don't always want to see a social update when I'm in the middle of a project.

Don't even get me started on the calendar. Who designed that UI? At least on all iterations of PocketPC/Windows Mobile it was easy to identify different appointments at a glance. Maybe it's just the videos I've watched, but it seems to me that the calendar is just not legible anymore. It's way too busy (and yes, I have had a huge number of items on my calendar and it was much easier to read than this).

The worst part is this: I don't trust Google and Apple is too totalitarian. I don't play XBox Live, nor do I use any of Microsoft's Live services except Hotmail (and that is just spam ridden even though I've never given out my address). Palm is on the wrong network (I prefer GSM over CDMA). So, now what phone first me?

i know it will never happen, but it would be very interesting to know the age of each person making a comment here.

me - 46

after a week or two we could take an average.

I suddenly feel the need to share my indisputably correct opinion. ;-)

As George put in an article today, there are a lot of questions... or as I like to think of it, there's some things we did see, and some things we didn't see.

What we saw:

Microsoft appears to have put forth a design that in its intents may directly compete with webOS' intents. The intents that I see these OSes competing with are a next-generation design centered around how to integrate the device into your life. Palm's webOS has Synergy, which ideally allows the user to attach their device to multiple aspects of their life (work, home, whatever) and aggregate that data in a useful and relevant manner. For example, when I accept a meeting at work, I want to be sure that the dentist appointment on my home calendar, which may be externally shared with my wife, doesn't conflict with it. This is beyond simply being able to access multiple calendars, email accounts, etc... this is managing the integration of it all because I must fit into all these roles simultaneously. Windows Phone 7 Series appears to be Microsoft's own method of this type of integration.

On top of that, they showed us some of the new media player, the xbox live, and the goal of consistency.


What we did not see:

A lot. We didn't truly see customization (though if I had one I'm sure I would use the broken heart for xbox live... something I expect I'd never use). So we have no idea about:
- Can the basic tiles be replaced with more interesting-looking or more functional tiles?
- How much do the consistency requirements limit customization?
- Just what do the folks with current custom UIs plan to do with this new interface?
- Can some elements, like the on-screen keyboard, be replaced with custom equivalents like Swype, FingerKeyboard, etc.?
- Can we disable the social media aspect while keeping PIM data synchronization to ensure a professional environment?

We didn't see if the platform is capable of good, old-fashioned laptop-substitute functionality.

We didn't see if connectivity to competing services (gmail, yahoo, etc.) will work.

We didn't see what form factors would be offered (though I suppose some guesses could be made based on the WVGA spec).


So, based on what we did and didn't see, and NH3MAN's handy list which happens to resonate with me (not picking on you... it's really the best list I read here), here's how I read that list:

"I already have a Zune media Player. I don't need an I-Zune Media, Social App Phone." - We didn't see how deep we could customize, so we can't see if you can disable what you don't need.

"I need a superfast," - We'll have no idea until it ships on actual hardware.

"multitasking," - I may have missed whether it will be there or not... I swear I read it being discussed somewhere.

"battery saving PDA" - YES! Again, until hardware ships this won't be easy to judge.

"that also can play Media (Zune Media player would work ;-)," - Umm, given your list of what you don't need, I'll just say that we don't yet understand the capabilities of the new platform's software.

"store and take pics," - Storage was discussed and confirmed, taking pictures was shown in a demo.

"sync with my computer online and off," - Synchronization with a PC was mentioned, can't recall if methods were mentioned.

"browse the internet," - Shown, quality of experience has yet to be truly judged.

"open my docs," - some might say shown, but really it was only hinted at.

"runs oodles of apps of various flavors at a flick." - Not shown, and clearly it's very important that this can be done on multiple levels, from widgets (live tiles), to full-on apps, and maybe to UI extensions, depending on the consistency requirements.


To sum up, I'd say that this new OS is probably for those who believe that their phone should be able to provide a seamless, integrated experience. For those of us with that interest, it's worth keeping our eyes open to what it might become, and I think it's worth comparing it primarily to webOS and what that will become.

What we saw:

Microsoft appears to have put forth a design that in its intents may directly compete with webOS' intents. The intents that I see these OSes competing with are a next-generation design centered around how to integrate the device into your life. Palm's webOS has Synergy, which ideally allows the user to attach their device to multiple aspects of their life (work, home, whatever) and aggregate that data in a useful and relevant manner. For example, when I accept a meeting at work, I want to be sure that the dentist appointment on my home calendar, which may be externally shared with my wife, doesn't conflict with it. This is beyond simply being able to access multiple calendars, email accounts, etc... this is managing the integration of it all because I must fit into all these roles simultaneously. Windows Phone 7 Series appears to be Microsoft's own method of this type of integration.
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On top of that, they showed us some of the new media player, the xbox live, and the goal of consistency.