Why I like Windows Phone 7 (so far)

A brief hands-on encounter makes me more hopeful that Microsoft is bringing real, useful innovation to the me-too mobile market

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And the Windows Phone 7 version of Office is not yet in a state that Microsoft is comfortable in presenting it. One issue with today's mobile devices is that they're mediocre in working with basic documents, so you can't use them as a short-term substitute for a computer when on the go. The Documents to Go productivity suite for the BlackBerry and the Quickoffice suite for the iPhone are the best of the lot, but they're not good enough for regular use. Maybe that's not their fault but a limitation of the mobile form factor and its constraints on input, display, and processing that just don't support what document editing requires.

That's why Apple's decision to develop a version of its iWork productivity suite for the forthcoming iPad so intrigued me -- that form factor could let you have your mobility cake with your productivity apps à la mode. But Apple's apparent stupid decision not to support Office export from the iPad's iWork means that 98 percent of the world will likely never know.

So will Office for Windows Phone 7 break new ground in allowing productivity app usage in a handheld device? I wish I knew. I'll let you know when I find out.

Despite my early enthusiasm, I have to issue a reminder that Windows Phone 7 is not yet real, even though there are now actual prototypes to experiment with under controlled conditions. Still, I see potential for genuine innovation that could get the mobile market past its "let's all imitate the iPhone" phase. Fingers crossed!

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This article, "Why I like Windows Phone 7 (so far)," was originally published by InfoWorld.com. Read more of Gruman et al.'s Mobile Edge blog and follow the latest developments in mobile computing at InfoWorld.com.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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