Saturday, October 23, 2010

My live with a Samsung Omnia 7 - WIndowsphone series 7

Mit liv tillsammans med en Samsung Omnia 7 - WIndowsphone series 7

First things first, this phone does NOT have a microSD slot, even if your phone provider says it does!

I have never owned a touch screen phone, my last smartphone which has server me well for the last 2 and bit years is a Nokia N95 8Gb, a simple and robust phone.
So in a way I am a noob with all this fancy touchy feely slidy, greasy finger stuff.

Things I have noticed about the phone itself;

  • It gets warm when charging from the mains but not from USB
  • The off/lock button is in a stupid place
  • The battery life is not great, it will need charging daily if you have everything turned on
  • This is a consumer only phone* (more on this below) 
  • The phone has no expansion slot
  • It is lightning fast and very usable
  • Integration with windows live/skydrive/office is fantastic
  • It will not connect to an exchange server with a self-certified SSL certificate
  • Browsing the internet has its limitations ** (more below)
  • It does have a habit of rebooting *** (more below)
  • You must have a windows live account to use the phone to its full potential
  • The designers have listed to the user and done a great, the UI has been very well thought and gives just enough spice to make it interesting without being cumbersome.
  • There are some bugs, but it is 1st generation # (see below)
  • There is no cut/copy/paste, but the 1st gen iPhone didn't have that either I am told
  • It runs a lite version of silverlight
  • Internet browser is IE7 (ish)
  • Its awesome!!!!
  • Apps and installing them from marketplace is very simple

* What do you mean a consumer only phone?
I work in IT and generally have access (code or screwdriver) to all the devices I use, sometimes I even know how to fix or configure them.
The problem I have with the WP7 OS is I cant do anything outside of 'using' the phone, I cant edit things that are wrong. 
So basically the phone is aimed at the social end of the market, I just find it limiting because I want to get into the menus and change stuff. For the average person on the street the phone will slip into their connected world unnoticed, it will complete the magic 3 screens and a cloud strategy Microsoft talk about.
From auto uploads of photos/video to skydrive, to building MS Office docs on the road knowing they will be stored safely on the cloud to playing your mates on xBox live while on a train to work, it all just works out of the box.
One of the coolest bits in the messaging system is the way it keeps track of conversations for SMS messages on a single scrollable screen with each one in its own little speech bubble, corny I know, but quite practical and what we expect now from what is basically a chat interface.

** The internet
Although the internet browser is an IE7 variant the phone itsel runs its UI through silverlight and weirdly enough wont work on silverlight based websites, or flash, or anything that relies on javascript.
This is going to be a pain i the arse very quickly, but there are plugins for youtube and I hope an iPlayer app is released soon too.
So all the kerfuffle over iPad not supporting flash seems a little silly now.

Most sites I have been work well and the zoom in/out ala two finger shuffle is fantastic.

*** Rebooting/Locking up for no reason
Right this is a bit weird and may be down to the app I was trying to run, it only seems to do it when I try and open/resume the twitter client (from twitter). The phone also locked up a few times with this app as well (or the seesmic twitter client).
I may have the answer to the locking, I think it may be down to the 3G  connection, it looks like when the phone is off network the app opens and tries to update, so it waits for a network response...... still waiting then does not know what to do.
The rebooting is a weird one, will keep an eye on it. or am I hitting the off button?

# Bugs
I have found a bug in the way it manages contacts (this could just be me, but would be interested in hearing what others have found). The first time you view your contacts the phone asks if you want to import your SIM contacts so I did this, all very easy (The phone will sync these SIM contacts with your Windows Live account). I also connected to my facebook account (yes I have one but its not actively used) and instantly had all of them in my contacts list as well.
Now I decided to take my facebook contacts out cos I have none of their mobile numbers etc. So I disconnected the phone form facebook.
However all of the facebook contacts were still in my contact list and these could not be selected or deleted even after a reboot.
So I had to do a factory reset and reimport my SIM contacts to get a clean list.
The good thing is you can link your facebook contacts with your SIM contacts on the phone to give 1 person multiple presences an interesting link but it means that you can still keep phone contacts separated out.

An extra bit to this is if you have any issues with your contacts on the phone and because it syncs them on you windows ID, you just login to your windows Live account and edit/delete them there, which is easier than on the phone until you get used to the keyboard.

Conclusion after 1 day of proper use
Okay the phone is fantastic and the platform in my opinion is going to make a it a great environment to develop apps for.
Everything about the phone screams, 'this is my phone REALLY' and the OS apart from a few niggles is pretty solid. In the next few months hopefully there will be a way for developers to deploy their apps to small corporate groups privately (the only way now is to load your app up to the marketplace for anyone to download so securing it is vital).

The COOLEST thing so far
I am sure this wont stop people trying to steal these phones, but if you have the phone enabled to sync its location with your Windows live account and you ever lose it....

  • Map it - view the location on a map
  • Ring it - ring the phone for a minute
  • Lock it - locks the screen and optionally add a screen note saying 'please return'
  • erase it - reset to factory settings
Oh did I mention all of this is avaible via the windos live site, ie you can do all of this remotely!!!!!

I really like the phone, can you tell, and everyone who had a play at todays DDD8a thought the same, well no one said this is shit, they all just spun/pivoted their way through the UI, just like the peoplein the WP7 ads do, its very engaging.

As I get more used to the phone and its quirks I will add more posts, follow me on twitter @chillfire for updates on my life with a Windows Phone Series 7.

1 comment:

The Geeks said...

hi...Im student from Informatics engineering nice article,
thanks for sharing :)