Since November of 2009 I have been using a Motorola Milestone (Droid) with Android 2.0 – 2.2. Its been quite successful and a great opportunity to see a modern mobile operating system in action. Its nothing against Android, but as a .NET developer by day I cannot help by be impressed with what Microsoft is doing with Windows Phone 7 operating system, the only obstacle was: Verizon.
Recently, Microsoft and Verizon FINALLY got together and released the HTC Trophy. I jumped at the chance to finally take ownership of a Windows Phone 7 device. So on Friday, I purchased a new phone. I knew that going to WP7 would, for the moment, be a step back from Android, notably in using my phone as a GPS as WP7 does not yet (Mango will) support, but I retain every confidence that Microsoft will get there.
Quite honestly though, I was surprised at just how far the app ecosystem has come since only November. I was able to get 90% of the apps I used on Android for my WP7. This includes Translation software, foursquare, Twitter, Facebook, Gas Buddy, and others. I especially liked the way the OS functions, very snappy and intuitive. I am still waiting for Angry Birds and an app interface with Chase, but I am sure those will come in due time.
However, it wasn’t all happy and good. I had a golf outing today at a course I had never been to. I fully appreciate just how useful turn by turn is as I got lost because I could watch the phone’s direction list and the road at the same time; kind of felt like being back in the late 90s with MapQuest. For me, Mango can simply not come fast enough.
There are also a host of other little things that are driving me nuts. For example, when I instructed the phone to sync with Facebook, it brought ALL of my Facebook friends into my People list, even those whose numbers I do not have. Android was smart enough to match the people in my contact list with those friends on Facebook and not just bring everyone in.
The other thing is the lack of being able to set a specific notification sound for particular events. When I was using Android I could set specific sounds so I would know the importance of the notification based on the sound. Perhaps this is coming in a later release, but this combined with the fact that all of the notifications sound the same lead to me checking my phone frequently.
Overall, the phone is very good and I like where Microsoft is headed. They still need a few tweaks, but that is to be expected. I really think Mango will take WP7 to the next level and make it a legitimate alternative to iPhone and Android in the near future.