Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Windows 7 Mobile : Flash forward to backward

Windows 7 Mobile is cool and such a backward application. I've been using a Samsung Focus for about two months now. I find that I still have to carry my old smart phone (Treo 800w) around. I've taken to saying that I've got a smart phone and a dumb phone.

So let's just start with the obvious criticisms. You can't cut and paste. Strange, I thought Windows was part of the name of the application. You also can't put the cursor within the middle of a word, if say you misspelled a word and wanted to insert a missing letter. Your only option is to erase to that point. If perhaps you buy the LG with a keyboard, that unit has arrow keys and so you can actually do this. However, the soft keyboard in the phone does not have those keys.

My biggest beef is actually that I can't sync my phone with Outlook. I don't use an Exchange server. If you do use Exchange, setup and syncing is so much easier than with the old smartphones. The new phone syncs using the Zune software, so I can get pictures, videos, music, and podcasts onto the phone (and off). So I plug my phone into the computer, but I can't sync Outlook. Which means that I don't have my calendar nor contacts on my new phone. (Which is why I tend to carry my old smartphone.)

So, to answer the questions that I get frequently.
- The smartphone doesn't have a card so I can't import from a card
- The bluetooth interface to another phone isn't working on Win 7 Mobile yet so I can't beam contacts

The syncing method built into the software is through You use the Hotmail connector to sync Outlook with Live and then your phone syncs to Live. First, that gives me three places that I have to keep my data. Second, my contacts include some private information that I'm not interested in having on a website. (I don't really care how secure is supposed to be, I don't want the information there.) My phone is plugged into my computer, why can't I just move data over?

Which leads me to the next complaint. The Office software expects you to be connected to a Sharepoint server. So, it isn't built to support a lot of documents resident on the phone. There is no capability to create folders on the phone to organize your documents. Which brings up the issue of getting Word, Excel, or Powerpoint files onto your phone. My first attempt was to put my contacts into an Excel file, put that on my phone, then select phone numbers or e-mail address from there. I had to e-mail myself the file, open it on the phone and save. But wait, the phone will not recognize the data as a phone number to be dialed nor an e-mail address to open an e-mail.

My second attempt for getting a file onto my phone was my resume. I interact with employers and recruiters through my phone. I'd like to be able to respond to them with my resume if appropriate. However, this leads to my last document complaint which is that the only e-mail attachment to an e-mail originated on the phone is a picture. So now I'm trying to play a game of keeping an old e-mail on my phone that has the resume attached and forwarding it to the recruiter.

Getting back to the Zune component of the new phone, the sound is good. I like the navigation. I think the phone should work more like the Zune when it comes to navigation, I sometimes forget which I'm using and get a little frustrated moving around. The SmartDJ feature on the Zune is something that I'm currently excited about, and that isn't on the phone either.

So my last quandary is with regard to software development. I thought I'd build a few applications for the phone for fun. However, since I can't move documents (except through Zune) to my phone, I can't just drop them onto my phone and run them. I haven't registered in the Marketplace yet (waiting to have enough apps to make it worthwhile). So there may be additional options then, but I wouldn't bet on it. My wife asked me about building an app, but the only way I can put it on her phone is to load it into Marketplace and let her buy it.

Really wanting to be excited about this phone, I went to the Microsoft forums to find out about getting my contacts on my new phone. They didn't seem to care why I wanted to do anything but put everything on the web, that's the new paradigm.

I really like the weight and the interface on this phone. I'd like to be happier with it, but until these issues get resolved. It's just yet another Microsoft disappointment.

1 comment:

  1. As an addendum, I recently decided to include my facebook information to download contacts to my phone. It successfully filled up "People" with names from Facebook. However, in the process, it deleted information that I already had on my phone, even though there weren't any conflicts.

    I thought, well, I've got the facebook information on my phone, so I disconnected that connection. Unfortunately, that removed all facebook "people" from my phone except for the ones that I had changed. So all that I now have on my phone are the facebook contacts that I changed. All the information that I had on my phone before adding facebook is now gone.