Positive reviews of Windows Phone 7 surprising


The early reviews of Windows Phone 7 OS are surprising nearly everyone. Reviewers like it. Just a few short weeks ago, thanks to the failure of the Kin line of phones, folks were putting a nail in the coffin of Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows Phone 7 plans.

But all of a sudden bloggers and writers are giddy over the WP, touting its user interface advances, processing speeds and multimedia experiences. Microsoft this week released a technical preview of WP7 and shipped prototype devices from Asus, LG and Samsung to its developer partners. Microsoft, which emphasizes that the OS is not finished yet, is soliciting feedback from developers, consumers, operators and original equipment manufacturers.

Here are some of the excerpts from reviews:

Michael Gartenberg, partner with Altimeter Group: "Microsoft's done a very good job with a revamped user experience that's not like anything on the market. Taking a lot of UI cues from Zune HD, the OS is heavy on the visual, using fonts, color and an interesting use of space to make for a solid experience that's both easy to learn and pleasing to look at."

Engadget's Joshua Topolsky: "We were extremely surprised and impressed by the software's touch responsiveness and speed. In fact, this is probably the most accurate and nuanced touch response this side of iOS4. It's kind of stunning how much work Microsoft has done on the user experience since we first saw this interface--everything now comes off as a tight, cohesive whole. It really put one of our major fears about Windows Phone 7 to rest. We haven't seen any substantial lag while using the device, and the short transitions between applications or pages are well suited to the overall experience."

Boy Genius: "Microsoft has no doubt broken course and gone in an entirely new direction, something that many people wish RIM (NASDAQ: RIMM) would do, and we applaud them for that. They have created a brand new mobile operating system packed full of clean, modern and sometimes even beautiful design elements." Still the blog criticized several UI aspects, such as a frustrating phone app and the lack of a menu for jumping between apps.

Gizmodo: "The Outlook app might be the best mail app on any phone. Giant black text on a white background, it's actually kind of gorgeous, and makes most mail apps feel dated. Swiping to the right left or right takes you through all mail, unread (handy!), flagged and urgent"..."It's a fresh start, and it's neat. It's a clean slate that Microsoft can use as a foundation to build something entirely new, and it's not like any other phone you've used."

Of course Microsoft doesn't have a home run here. Reviewers were also quick to point out that the OS lacks third-party multitasking, cut-and-paste capabilities and HTML 5. In addition, there were few apps to test on the device even though the application marketplace was live.

Attracting quality developers will be key, hence the reason Microsoft is offering financial incentives to developers to spur interest in new WP7 applications. Microsoft's senior director of mobile services and developer product management Todd Brix told Bloomberg that Microsoft is offering everything from free tools and trial handsets to software development funding and even offering revenue guarantees in case apps don't sell as well as expected.

"We are investing a lot to attract developers big and small to Windows Phone 7 to let them understand what the opportunity is and provide as many resources as we can to help them be successful on our platform," Brix said. "We're open for business and we want to work with them."

Will sentiment about Microsoft's OS future begin to turn around before Microsoft releases the new OS later this year? - Lynnette