Windows Phone 7 is going to be with us later this year but it’s still a fair way away. Don’t fret though, there is a way to play with Redmond’s upcoming mobile OS…Unlock the Emulator.
Gizmodo have got a great, easy to follow guide on what you need to download etc to get up & running…find that here. It only took about 15 minutes to get up & running and that includes the download time and re-starting the machine, so it’s not particularly arduous!
I’m now going to take a look through the various screens, sections and folders of the WP7 emulator and see what’s hiding. This post will be resplendent with screenshots of course 🙂
The 1st hub is
Clicking the “+” next to “all” allows you to add new people to your contacts:
Social networking is also handled by this hub and the default accounts available to set up are:
Click any of those, enter your address and password and setup begins.
The next hub is
Not a huge amount to show for the Messaging hub really 🙂 Onto the
You get the standard “day” view:
but I’m a big fan of the “Agenda” view:
It makes it nice and easy to see what you’ve got coming up. Also, the homescreen hub shows upcoming appointments:
Here’s this very blog as viewed in “Desktop” mode on WP7 IE:
Here’s Bechtle’s UK site:
and here’s Gizmodo:
One new addition that I’m very pleased to see is this:
You are now able to open multiple browser windows at the same time, and switch between them:
This is one of my favourite things about mobile browsing on my Android phone and something I definitely wouldn’t want to lose in my next phone, so it’s great to see it in Windows Phone 7.
The extra settings screen in IE:
Pin to Start does what it says on the tin and pins that site to your start screen:
That’s the Microsoft site in the bottom corner there.
“Settings” doesn’t bring anything up at the moment, at least not for me.
The next hub is one of the most exciting:
XBOX Live & Games:
Don’t ask me why the New York Times is classed as a game but click on it and you get:
You can see the easy “Try” & “Buy” options there, a huge improvement over app interaction in previous Windows Mobile editions.
I can’t get the Emulator to connect to Windows Live, so I can’t explore the Xbox integration any further. I have asked Twitter if it can be done though!
Our next stop is:
The extra settings button gives you:
Again you can see sharing as an integral part of the OS. Currently its only option is text messages but I assume that, once set up, your other social media accounts (Twitter, Flickr, Facebook etc) will appear there too.
This next hub is the one I am most excited about…Microsoft mobile devices, welcome:
I’ve been using the Zune desktop software for a few months now and I love it. It’s cool, clean, sexy, swish, awesome and fully featured…to be able to continue that experience on my mobile device will be fantastic!
It’s not just the look and UI (User Interface) of Zune that I’m a fan of, there are 2 main things and the first is:
Clicking the link above takes you to the Marketplace, where you can see:
So a huge range of media available to purchase directly from your mobile…awesome 🙂
The arrow at the top right of the homescreen gives you access to the other features of the OS:
The “Convert” option is a nice addition, I use the new conversion features of the Windows 7 calculator a lot so I’m definitely a fan of this:
All the Office Mobile Apps are there but there’s also a “Microsoft Office” option, allowing access to all the programs at once:
A new feature that shows the direction MS are taking with Office integration can be found in the “personalize” section in Excel:
This is a clear tie in with Sharepoint and one that will be welcomed by many mobile users and fits in well with the Office 2010/Wave 14 message of Increased Productivity.
Word has got an easy to use commenting feature:
and there’s the option to send files directly from Word:
This gives you quick and easy access to your corporate Sharepoint sites from your Windows Phone 7 device.
The settings for the Sharepoint Client are:
Built in support for UAG (Unified Access Gateway) isn’t something I was expecting to see, but perhaps isn’t surprising.
OneNote currently gives this error message:
This is the first time I’ve seen Skydrive integrated into any other Microsoft products, and I think it’s a great idea. The 25GB of free storage sitting in Windows Live is under-utilised by almost everyone I know which is a shame, as SkyDrive is a brilliant, and generous, offering.
OneNote has lost none of it’s rich media inclusion in the mobile version, with the ability to add pictures & audio recordings right on the device.
Oddly, Powerpoint isn’t listed in the Office App but it is still there! However there are no .pptx’s built into the emulator so there’s nothing for it to open:
All in all, Office on Windows Phone 7 certainly looks a lot sleeker and easier to navigate than on Windows Mobile 6.1.
Other apps in the OS include:
That is a very well rendered image of the London Eye in the Windows Phone 7 Maps app.
The above shows that it’s very clear and well designed application, easy on the eyes and easy to see where you’re going.
One camera setting I really like is the top one:
Being able to wake the phone up with the camera button will allow you to grab those snaps that little bit quicker…which can be the difference between a great picture and a picture of nothing!
The settings menu shows that Microsoft MyPhone, the online backup service Microsoft released last year, is now integrated into the Operating System rather than being a separate add-on.
If you’re not a fan of the dark default theme, you can brighten it up as so:
This gives a screen familiar to PC users across the world:
The “Shortcuts” menu also gives you access to the file structure:
I think it would be a good idea to keep these in the final version of the OS; it makes it more consistent with the desktop Windows experience and is also usual to many users. However, Jason Chen of Gizmodo said something similar and Long Zheng said he was a “moron” who deserved to “be sacked” so I’ll stay away from that hornet’s nest 😉
There are still bits of the OS that aren’t present in the emulator as well as a few areas that are a bit glitchy, but that is to be expected with something that isn’t even a beta but simply an expanded emulator!
However there are plenty of things in here that make it clear this is Microsoft’s greatest Mobile Operating System ever. Gone are the confusing menu layers and different styles of previous Windows Mobile editions and in are smooth, sleek lines of the new Metro User Interface. I’m an Android user now and am pretty pleased with it but Windows Phone 7 has a real chance of winning me back…however, it’s going to be all about the apps at the end of the day. My HTC Hero is an e-book reader, a barcode scanner, a food tracker, a translator and more…if Windows Phone 7 can’t be all those things, and more, then it’ll have to be “thanks but no thanks Redmond”.