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Michael Crump Microsoft MVP, INETA Community Champion and XAML Advocate.

I was lucky enough to be nominated to receive the Windows Phone 7 from a representative at Microsoft. The phone that was given to me was the LG GW910. Please note that this phone is not mine, it’s going back in a couple of weeks. The review of the phone below is my personal opinion. Keep reading to find out if I’m actually going to buy one and to see other screen shots.

Back to the phone, the first thing that I did was remove the sim card from my iPhone 3G and drop it into the WP7. It immediately detected the carrier and switched me to 3G. I quickly tossed my iPhone into a drawer to play with my new phone.

The first thing you notice with the Windows Phone 7 is the “lock screen”. This screen gives you a quick glimpse of important items such as current time, date, what meetings you have coming up next, the number of Gmail/Outlook items unread and text messages that you have not read. This is exactly the reason that I used to jailbreak my iPhone. It saves you from navigating through several screen to find out you have read all of your messages or when your next meeting is.

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The “lock screen” slides up and you are presented with tiles that you can rearrange like the iPhone’s home screen. (Press and hold down a tile to rearrange them.) The home screen has the typical Phone, Messages, Mail, Calendar, Web Browser and Pictures. What really sets this phone apart from the crowd is the way you can customize it. For example, I call my wife every day so I added her to the home screen and can call, text or email her with one click. You can see this from the picture below:

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After taking a look at the home screen, you will soon realize that this is not your typical Windows Mobile Device. The  phone is built around social networking and you. I have developed apps for the Windows Mobile 5-6 platform and it was a horrible experience. Mainly because I didn’t want to use the phone due to the UI. The Windows Phone 7 fixes all of that by having a UI that is easy to use and just plain fun. I absolutely love the Zune software compared to iTunes. It is an attractive application and is very simple to get your music/video onto it. Below is the main screen for Zune on the phone.

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The marketplace will need time to catch up. I tried out the Marketplace, but it is dead at the moment with just several apps from Microsoft. (Accelerometer, speech recognition and gps.).

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I was able to add my Xbox Live account and see my avatar and how many gamer points that I have. I could not find any games available for download but you can see several demos of them on YouTube.

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You can slide the home screen over to gain access to the following applications.

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These applications are bundled with the phone. I’ve created a brief description below:

· Alarm – You can set days of weeks, sound and even multiple alarms.

· Calculator – A standard calculator.

· Calendar – Sync with Outlook, a must for people in the corporate environment.

· Camera – Includes zooming on the model that I have. The picture quality wasn’t that great on my LG phone.

· Games – Xbox Live experience, includes Friend Request, collection, spotlight, gamer tag info.

· Gmail – I always HATED have one mailbox that mixed my company/private email. You can setup a separate tile for Gmail and Corporate mail. You should also note that you can use other email accounts that support POP and IMAP.

· IE – The browser still needs some work, I tried several sites and it didn’t look that great. I have heard this is based off of IE8, so give it a little time. I have pictures below of it in both orientations.

· Maps – One of the best features is the map, as it is drawing your current location a cloud surrounds it until your location is returned. Hard to describe but fun to watch.

· Marketplace – This is going to make or break the phone. What good is the hardware with no software? I have seen a lot of developers working on apps for the marketplace and hope it has enough apps for people to use it.

· Messaging – SMS in a nice conversation style.

· Music+Videos – Zune, great software see above.

· Office - It ships with the phone (no software download necessary). It includes OneNote, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and you can even open URL on SharePoint Server 2010. I played with the applications and it seemed easy enough. I can’t say how much that I would use them as it’s just too hard to type a document on a small keyboard.

· Outlook – The main screen splits it into “all”, “unread” and “urgent”. I love the simplicity of the opening screen. All of the normal email functions are available.

· People – Very easy to flip through and find the person that you want to dial. It includes a thumbnail pic of the person as you scroll.

· Phone – Pops up with a call history first, you can easily find who you want to call through the People tile.

· Pictures – Split into “All”, “Date” and “Favorites”. You can add to favorites, upload to SkyDrive, share via email or use as wallpaper.

· Settings – You have two parts to settings.

  • System settings : You have ringtones & sounds, theme, airplane mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, email & accounts (Windows Live, Outlook, Google), lock & wallpaper, location, cellular, date and time, brightness, keyboard, region and language, ease of access, speech, find my phone, phone update, about, feedback.
  • Application settings: You can configure the applications installed on the device.

Final thought: Yes, I am very happy with the phone and believe that it will do very well if the marketplace can catch up with Android and Apple. I love the UI and it seems the more that I use it the more that I like it. I will be sad when the Microsoft person asks for it back and I have to use the iPhone until release. I am planning to buy a Windows Phone 7 on launch date. I have added pictures below of the apps on the actual device. Several people have commented that they want to see what it looks like on the hardware instead of a high res screen shot from an emulator. Feel free to leave comments/suggestions regarding this post.

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Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2010 9:13 PM WP7 | Back to top

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