I think one of the biggest tasks I use my phone for is e-mail. I have heard the complaints regarding a consolidated inbox on this platform, but I don’t quite understand how that is a negative. Windows Phone 7 provides a very clean and consistent interface.
I am not bashing Android but it is the platform I can compare it to. In terms of comparison, I was using a first-get Motorola Droid so many things I see with my new phone should be better. With that said, the Android platform consistently left me shaking my head regarding versions and applications.
I have been using an MSN account since back in the dial-up days, and it is still my primary account because it works. I have had an account on pretty much all of the public email systems. With the Droid accessing a hotmail, live.com or MSN account was never pretty or easy. I tried several “apps” as well as the Active Sync method.
Compare that to the email provided via Windows Phone 7. As expected, connecting to my primary “Windows Live” associated account was established at the initialization process for the phone. Then I added my other accounts (Yahoo, GMail and a live.com account). The setup for these well known email services is simple. Yes, they are separate tiles (no consolidated mailbox) but what I have found the best feature is they all look and work the same. The options are limited but seem ample for use on a mobile phone. Tracking and using mail is extremely easier than what I experienced with the Droid.
I can’t say its all glowing. Much like the disappointment I have with the calendar integration the email app is limited. My frustration is compounded by the fact it is less than optimal even when dealing with publicized features of Windows Live Hotmail. While not revolutionary, the “Rules for sorting new messages” is a very useful feature as it allows for placing important messages into a folder so they are not lost amongst the sea of email. Well Windows Phone does not take these rules into account and the live tile and notifications only apply to the Inbox. There is a process to use mobile.live.com to provide custom notifications but it is convoluted and it just seems like a wasted step. To view email folders other than the Inbox you have to “show all folders” and then when you find the folder you want to view, you are forced to sync the folder to view the messages in the folder. Even when configured for synch the live tile/notifications are not affected.
Another deficiency that I have seen written about is the features available. In a mail message I can attach a picture but not an office document. I can only hope this is something that will be addressed in an update because it makes no sense to have a “full” office suite on the device and then not place the integration in core apps.
Notification sounds are for email only, no way to have a custom tone for each mail account, trivial issue but still annoying.