Mary Jo Foley:
Over the past few days, more and more Microsoft watchers are noticingthat Microsoft execs seem to be making a deliberate effort to avoid using the Z (Zune) word. That avoidance has set off a wave of speculation.
Some pundits claiming that Microsoft is moving to rebrand the service(Windows Live Entertainment, anyone?). As a Zune HD and ZunePass user — and one who is looking forward to syncing her Zune account to her Windows Phone (whenever Verizon finally delivers a WP7 model) — I was worried Microsoft might have decided to pull the plug on its Zune music/movie/TV service.
We had some good times, Zune and I. Remember this review that I gave before I even owned one? And who could forget my actual review after owning one?
Shortly after those reviews my Zune HD broke. It was in a pair of jeans I was wearing which I then dropped onto a banister for safekeeping. Who knew a 3 inch drop would warp the back of the ZuneHD and crack the screen? Not me.
So, why is Microsoft so hesitant to say the "Z" word? Are they getting rid of the brand? I'm throwing in my no-vote. They recently rebranded their Xbox 360 video services as the Zune Marketplace, and it would be very silly to ditch that name already. And when I say silly, I mean on a Microsoft scale of silliness. Regular silly scales go out the window in their case.
My guess is that Microsoft didn't want to throw out too many brands at once while speaking about their new Nokia partnership. As an IT engineer certified in the ways of Microsoft, it can get confusing very fast when talking about their services. I'm fairly certain their about about 90 official Microsoft services that will let you deploy an image to a workstation. Maybe 91.
But no sweat, that's why we're here for our clients. We cut through the fluff and get things done for them.
- By Andrew, "Lewis", Levin
Part 2 of our Windows Phone 7 Review!
Battery Life - This phone is big and WP7 has a lot going on. This results in subpar battery life. Granted, it’s not horrible, but it’s just OK. The battery drains pretty quickly and even with moderate use it will definitely need to be put on the charger towards the end of the day. For me though, this isn't a huge setback because I can use car charger during to the day keep the charge up, but it is annoying to have to worry about the phone dying more than I had to before.
Service/Coverage - Overall, T-Mobile's coverage areas aren't as good as other carriers. I noticed that switching from ATT, a lot of areas where I had 3G, I now am on the Edge network. But again, just like the battery life, it doesn't impact me much because I rarely absolutely require specific coverage and speeds at specific times. I also use the phone on WiFi in the areas I am in the most, which mitigates the coverage issues. However, this would be very annoying if the time came when I was trying to access, let’s say some media content, but was restricted to an older network.
Marketplace - I put this as a con, but it will eventually become a pro. The Marketplace is obviously pretty small at the moment, but that is only due to how new it is. It grows exponentially daily, so I don't expect application availability to be an issue for very long.
Maps - You can't save your locations without pinning them to the main screen. If I have 15 saved locations, I do want to have to 15 additional items on my main screen. There are of course other apps which you can use for navigation, but the built in maps app needs to be able to store locations within it. Other than that though, the map application is good.
Overall, I really like WP7 and there are so many other features I haven't even gotten into yet. The cons I can deal with and overtime they will eventually go away. For a first release, the think Microsoft (and its hardware partners) definitely hit a homerun. With Trigon's usage and review of the phone, you can continue to rely on us for being on the cutting edge of the newest technology that can make your job that much easier.
- by Andrew, "Lewis", Levin
So, I've had the HD7 from T-Mobile for about 3 weeks now, and overall I am very pleased with what Microsoft has developed. WP7 is truly a streamlined mobile operating system which allows you to "get in, and get out." Below I have outlined, in my opinion, some of the pros and cons of the phone.
Size - The 4.3 inch screen makes the phone large, but not cumbersome. At first I was a bit concerned that it was too big and scorned myself for upgrading to something larger. However, it only took a couple days to get used to it and now I really like the large keys and easily readable text. It is still very skinny, so even with the large screen it doesn’t feel bulky.
Speed/Usability - It’s fast. Way faster than my iPhone 3G. It is also very smooth, way smoother than my iPhone 3G. The OS is intuitive and not overloaded. It is simple from a user's perspective, but also very robust. I also really like the back button which will take you back to any area of the phone you were just in, without having to navigate back to the home screen or restore your previous app's session. When you try to quantify the time it takes for additional navigation time, it seems ridiculous to try and justify an extra .2 seconds as taking too long. However, as we have all experienced with computers, .2 seconds and a single extra step is actually very noticeable and can get very frustrating. WP7 does a good job at reducing overall navigation time.
Kickstand - At first I just thought this was a cool idea and never thought I would actually use it. However, while I was hunting last weekend I was able to comfortably watch "The Expendables" while sitting in my tree stand. To my surprise, the kickstand ended up becoming very useful.
Pictures and Video - The 5 MP camera with the dual LED flash and zoom functionality creates sharp and clean pictures. The HD video camera also produces very high quality and movies.
Windows Live Integration - I was never really a Windows Live guy until I got this phone, but now I like it a lot. Integrating with Windows Live allows you to store and manipulate your files, pictures, videos, Zune content, etc all online and sync with your phone. You can also control your phone from the web, performing such actions as a remote wipe, locking the screen or even ringing it in case you lost it in the couch. Microsoft's cloud offerings of Office are also quite impressive. Therefore, since I use Microsoft's products all day, it makes sense for me to embrace these web offerings. I can keep my Office docs, contacts, calendar, personal email, media content, etc. all in a single location, and still access them through my computer, phone or the web.
Office - Office mobile works great on this phone, especially because of the large display. OneNote is especially very handy.
Zune - I never really adopted the Mac culture so adopting Zune as my media access portal was pretty easy. It integrates much better for what I do and how I use a computer.
Search/Voice recognition - It doesn't matter where you are in the phone, you can use voice commands to search the web, call a number, etc. You can also search within an app or the web wherever you are.
With Trigon's usage and review of the phone, you can continue to rely on us for being on the cutting edge of the newest technology that can make your job that much easier.
Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 of Trigon's Windows Phone 7 review!
Don't strike me down Oh Merciful Jobs!
It's true though. I am thinking about switching from an iPod touch to a Microsoft(!) Zune HD. It's the equivalent of Rush Limbaugh falling in love with Nancy Pelosi. Philadelphia Eagles fans cheering the Dallas Cowboys. Sarah Palin making an insightful, intelligent comment. It's a paradox people!
But let me tell you something, I saw a leaked video of the user interface of the new Zune HD coming out this fall and my mouth started to water. It's so fluid and sexy that I almost think Microsoft outsourced it. Plus, it's something different than what I've been using for 3 years. And change is good, or so I hear.
The 'HD' of the name implies HD Radio, which I'm almost positive no one on earth uses. But it also gives you the opportunity to output HD video from your Zune to your flatscreen. That's pretty cool. The XBOX 360 has rebranded their online video shop as the Zune Marketplace. When you download movies and TV shows, you can put them on your Zune too. Not too shabby. The player also has WiFi, and a mobile browser. If anyone has ever used a windows phone to browse the web, and not wanted to throw themselves into a wall, congratulations. But this IE browser has been completely re-done, and looks pretty solid.
The UI of this thing is its biggest selling point. If they throw it onto a Zune Phone....I MIGHT switch. That's how smooth it looks.
Oh, plus the thing plays music...or something.