Windows Phone 7 leaves a Microsoft fan in angst

Several key shortcomings by a company that clearly knows better sparks a plea to get it right soon

The good people over at Samsung sent me a wonderful pair of gifts (well, loans) recently: a Samsung Galaxy Tab, which I will be writing more about next week, and a Samsung Focus with Windows Phone 7 on it. I was thrilled to have some new toys to play with and immediately started working with the smartphone.

The Samsung Focus is a sleek smartphone, and it blew away my existing Android (which is understandable, considering I'm in need of a mobile update). The screens flowed smoothly from one to the next, and the color of pictures and the screen resolution was amazing. I also found the Windows Phone 7 OS to be much more polished than my Android's OS. As we say in the South, it was pur-ty.

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The first "uh oh" is about Office
Once I got my bearings, I started to investigate the apps. Naturally, I went to games first -- what little boy doesn't? Then I checked out all the calendar and email options and finally settled on the Office Hub.

What a huge disappointment.

It would have been fine if they called it something different, but to call it Office when it was more like a version of the 1990s Microsoft Works (if that) was quite misleading. Microsoft labels it a "smart" design, but I couldn't get any work done with it. However, there is real value in the SharePoint connection, where you can easily connect to your SharePoint documentation. In that sense, the Office Hub features allow for editing and interaction with SharePoint nicely.

Then I realized that Windows Phone 7 inexplicably doesn't have a copy-and-paste feature. It certainly is an odd omission, given that copy and paste is a basic and necessary attribute. Where is it? I asked the folks at Microsoft, and they said it was an oops. Not literally, but Microsoft does plan to rectify this omission with an update in the next few months. That amounts to an oops. Hey, we all make them, so I was not overly concerned.

Next I began to wonder about multitasking. Windows Phone 7 does support multiple processes running simultaneously; for example, you can listen to music and browse the Web at the same time. But the multitasking is limited. When I asked why, Microsoft responded, "For all of their power, mobile devices still have limited resources. The more functions a device attempts to support at one time, the greater the impact on performance and battery life. Ensuring a great end-user experience was a primary engineering goal of Windows Phone 7. Microsoft spent thousands of hours testing native applications to try and deliver the best performance and user experience. This depth of testing simply isn't possible for all third-party applications; therefore, Microsoft made the decision to not allow third-party applications to run as background processes." OK.

The deal breaker: security shortcomings
I liked a lot of the native apps and how Windows Phone 7 worked, so I began thinking that even without copy and paste and application multitasking, a Windows Phone 7 device like the Samsung Focus could replace my Android. But then I tried to actually use it in a work environment and realized Windows Phone 7 doesn't support most EAS (Exchange ActiveSync) security features.

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