Windows Phone and Office 365 are truly better together
After playing with all the user elements, I needed to focus on the enterprise side. My first concern was how Windows Phone would connect with Exchange and Office 365, which is the platform I use for my corporate email. Fortunately, it connected faster and more easily than it ever did on Android, thanks to the support for Exchange Autodiscover connections. All I had to do was enter my email and password.
Because iOS and Android support Exchsange ActiveSync, I didn't expect any real difference in using Windows Phone with Exchange. But the first thing it told me was that my SharePoint team site was set up and I could access it from the Office hub. Plus, the Lumia asked me to install Lync 2010, which is great for presence information and communication on the go (although the mobile flavor doesn't provide videoconferencing like its desktop app counterpart does). Bingo! That's an advantage of using a mobile OS built by the same company that created my hosted Exchange and SharePoint.
Compared to Android, the Windows Phone Outlook app was a definite improvement, with the conversation view enabled by default. My contacts were immediately brought in, and my calendar settings, tasks, and so on were also synchronized without any issues, just as you would expect.
I did like the fact that I could do a search on the server for emails older than my default settings, something I could not do on Android. Maybe you've been there before: You need an email, but it's older than the three- or five-day sync range settings you have for your smartphone, so it's not available. It's not a problem on Windows Phone (I know iOS does this too).
Another interesting little setting is the ability to turn automatic replies on or off with a swipe. This is great for those out-of-office messages you have set up but perhaps have forgotten to turn on when you left for vacation. You can use Outlook Web App to connect in and flip the switch, but Windows Phone does it even faster (and neither Android nor the iPhone can set up out-of-office messages directly).
I give Windows Phone's "better together" concept a thumbs-up.
Lack of policy support is the deal-breaker
Why I am withhoding my love for Windows Phone? The reason is the limited enterprise support.
Windows Phone 7.5 lacks key security policy capabilities needed by many businesses, such as support for on-device encryption, camera disablement, and browser disablement, all of which iOS and many Android devices offer. For many companies, these omissions are deal-breakers. I'm hoping that the rumored forthcoming Windows Phone 8 "Apollo" will fix these omissions and let the great Windows Phone UI blossom in business.
This article, "Why I can't love Windows Phone 7.5," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of J. Peter Bruzzese's Enterprise Windows blog and follow the latest developments in Windows at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.