Yes, my decision to be an early adopter of the Windows Phone 7 platform has been pleasurable for me. No different than early iPhone and my own experience jumping on the Droid on platform it wasn’t perfect but no show stoppers. I think the OS is very clean and with the maturation of the apps it is becoming a very strong device for me, surprisingly replacing many things I normally only used a computer for (i.e. RSS reading and sharing). I look forward to the Mango update, but apprehensive about how AT&T will drag it on instead of helping the platform.
I know Microsoft established base hardware requirements that vendors had to follow. That was a great start but as we have seen, the manufacturers then skewed causing a huge disruption and in many case a bad perception of the platform. I added 32GB to my Focus and considering it’s my Zune player and I do several Office features (docs and OneNote) I needed much more than the 8GB. However my addition of the microSD card is not necessarily supported, at least I can’t find anywhere that states it’s supported. As I mentioned before I have access to the LG Windows Phone 7 device that was rolled out here in the United States. I have heard people say they like it, but in my use it hurts the Windows Phone 7 brand. The current user is itching for the new iPhone because while they like the OS, the device does not provide the same level experience as the Samsung Focus. While I understand the counter argument I think this is where the iPhone is stronger. Yes you have very little choice in terms of hardware, but that same detraction is also what makes it strong.
Let’s consider the accessory market. Since the iphone market is so large and consistent the listing for accessories is never ending. The Zune has suffered from the same issue but in that case there was only one maker of the device, the brand just never got traction. I bought a pair of Zune premium ear buds a few years ago and still swear by them. You would think Microsoft would’ve worked to get those made with an inline microphone so you could use them on their Windows Phone, keeping the experience consistent (and I have to say rich because they are the best ear buds I have owned and trust me I have wasted a lot of money on ear buds and these are even better than my Bose QC 2’s). I have been looking for a holster for my Samsung Focus. Yes it’s slim and light enough to just go in the pocket but when at work I prefer a holster for my phone. A colleague where I work has this very cool canvas looking holster but he is an iPhone user and has a huge selection of standard and unique accessories to choose from.
One of my initial disappointments with the Windows Phone 7 was the connector. Yes the devices use what is now the Standard min-USB but being a Zune user, I have a ton of cables and A/V docs that are all pinned for what was the Zune connector. It would be nice to just have that one station where I can plug my Zune HD and phone to for synching. Currently that’s not an issue since I use two different computers for the devices, phone connects to one of my laptops and Zunes (32HD and 8HD) connect to my desktop unit. I bought the 8GB Zune specifically to be used with an alarm clock. To date there is still only one alarm clock that supports the Zune connector and I have to say it’s a lame device but works and was the only choice.
Accessories seem like a small topic and maybe it gets overlooked, but revenue is what shows a product is being accepted. I have been looking for accessories and they just aren’t there. In short I can only repeat that many of the knocks I have heard on Windows Phone 7 are more about the devices than the actual platform. Having been a Windows Mobile user (yeah I know there were tons of accessories in the “stylus” category) this seemed true on that platform as well. Then add the “tweaks” OEMs make (pointing to Samsung and the issues with getting updates) it’s like the USB standards, there is a standard but everyone wants to add what they think is their secret sauce until it becomes an ugly mess and the dispersion gets thrown around instead of squarely where it belongs. Just my rant.
If someone knows who made the Zune Premium Ear Buds for Microsoft, please pass it along because maybe they have a set of ear buds I can get for my phone.