Samsung Focus S: Slick Windows Phone -- for consumers only
The sleek smartphone's Windows Phone 7.5 'Mango' OS has real appeal, but it can't work in most businessesFollow @MobileGalen
App management. A key addition to "Mango" is multitasking: Applications can now run in the background. To switch apps, you go to the Start screen, swipe to the left to see all your apps, and tap an app to open it. You can also pin apps to the Start screen so that their tiles are available for easy access. Long-tap the Back button to get thumbnails of all running apps so that you can switch among them easily.
Windows Phone uses its Start screen as the equivalent of iOS's and Android's home screen. But "Mango" becomes more difficult to navigate the more apps and tiles you have, as you need to scroll further and further to access them. The end result is that Windows Phone becomes harder to use as you accumulate more apps.
"Mango" does not support app folders to help manage a growing collection of apps, as iOS and Android 4 do. Windows Phone 7.5 also lacks a notification feature like that in Android and iOS; instead, it expects you to check your Start screen's tiles periodically to see what's happening. But like competing OSes, Windows Phone alerts you to app updates and lets you download them wirelessly.
Location support. Like any modern smartphone, Windows Phone supports GPS location and can triangulate location based on Wi-Fi signals. You also get a maps app that works like those in iOS and Android, providing your current location, directions to your destination, and navigation assistance.
Developers can integrate location information in their apps, so location is just another native feature in "Mango." But you get only gross-level location privacy controls: disabling or enabling the GPS and Wi-Fi location services for the entire device. Windows Phone apps can ask if it's OK to use your location, but there's no central way to manage these location permissions as there is in iOS.
Web and Internet
Microsoft has long lagged the field in support for the new, still-evolving HTML5 standard. Based on the HTML5 Test site's scores, "Mango" has clearly made major strides in HTML5 compatibility versus its competitors, but it continues to trail all other mobile browsers. "Mango" scores just 141 (out of 450 points) versus 296 for iOS 5, 260 for BlackBerry OS 7, 230 for Android 4, 222 for Android 3, and 184 for Android 2.3.
From an operational perspective, the Internet Explorer browser interface in "Mango" is spare, with a persistent URL box and an icon button to refresh the page; you use the standard Back hardware button to go back in your browsing history. To create or access bookmarks -- which "Mango" calls Favorites -- and to open a new tab (really a window), you use the More icon button to view a menu of options. Windows Phone 7 also lets you pin a Web page to your Start screen, as iOS and Android 4 do.
You can share pages via email, as well as via your social networks. You also can select text and graphics on Web pages to copy and save them.
Windows Phone uses its physical Search button to open the Bing app, but it can't search your current Web page as iOS and Android 4 can.
In the browser's onscreen keyboard, Windows Phone offers a .com button when entering URLs, a significant timesaver. Plus, it pops up a list of alternative domains, such as .edu and .org, when you tap and hold the .com button.
"Mango" offers settings to control cookies and history, but unlike Android and iOS, it has no option to manage other personal information such as cache, form data, passwords, image loading, autofill, fraud warnings, and debugging. Like Android 4, Windows Phone has the welcome ability to tell websites it's a desktop computer, not a mobile device, for when you don't want the mobile-optimized version of a site, which often strips out information and services.