There Is a Lack of Third-Party Email, Social-Networking Apps

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2012-01-05 Print this article Print


Actually using WP7 is a lot different from the experience of using an iOS device. As I'm sure you know by now, the home screen is populated by tiles, which you can access by scrolling with your finger. For the most part, those tiles are something like the folders you see on an iOS device, except that they contain functions rather than just applications. You touch the "People" tile, which will display a changing selection of nine sub-tiles. This gives you access to applications such as Facebook and other social-networking services as well as your contact list.

There's a tile labeled "Me," which contains your profile, Twitter notifications and things you posted on Facebook. There are also tiles dedicated to specific functions, such as Gmail or your Internet email program and to applications, such as Nokia's navigation software. Physically, the Lumia feels much like an iPhone 3GS, but of course, the interface is very different. The biggest difference is that the Lumia is coated on the back and sides with a thin rubber-like coating that gives users a firm grip.

There are things I don't like. You cannot synchronize a WP7 phone with Outlook on your computer, at least not directly. You must either create a conduit to Hotmail and synchronize your copy of Outlook with Hotmail and then synchronize your phone with Hotmail. Otherwise, you must export your Outlook contacts, calendar, etc., to a comma-separated file, and import that to the phone. This is a one-time thing. You can also do a Bluetooth transfer of this data from your old smartphone.

Similarly, you must connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts to Windows Live to use those services on your Windows Phone 7. You can't get standalone applications for these as you can on iOS, Android and BlackBerry devices. While this is supposed to provide you with a central source for this information, I don't like having to have Microsoft in the middle for everything.

On the other hand, perhaps we'll eventually get standalone applications from third parties. The WP7 market has expanded tremendously in recent weeks and many of the applications are free. Unfortunately, about half of those free ones aren't in English, but I suppose this speaks to the global audience for this smartphone.

The Windows Phone 7 experience has been neither better nor worse than working with Android or iOS, but rather has been very different. On the other hand, fat-fingered typist that I am, I still prefer email on my BlackBerry. But I can say that the Nokia Lumia 710 is a worthy occupant of the midmarket. Its $49 price is a real attraction, and it's worth a look if you're not solidly committed to Android or iOS. There'll be more on WP7 to come. Stay tuned. 


Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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