In the battle for smartphone supremacy the Apple iOS and Google Android have enjoyed top billing for some time now. However, Microsoft has made some recent innovations to the Windows Phone 7 that are worth taking a look at. However, the Windows Phone 7 was built completely from the ground up, so in order to avoid a delay in release, Microsoft had to leave out some features that most people expect from smartphones. I’d like to see how the new innovations from Windows Phone 7 stack up against the iOS and Android to see if there are things you may prefer.
The Windows Phone 7 has an active, customizable home screen that is very simple to use. The home screen (or start screen) uses rectangular “live tiles” that link directly to an application and display live information right on the home screen. The drawback here would be that a user employs too many icons and would have to scroll to find the one they want. Even still, this a simpler set up than either the Android, which uses various shaped widgets to display information, or the iOS, which does not have an active home screen.
Many features on the Windows Phone 7 are grouped into what they call “Hubs” like Games, Marketplace, Music and Video, Office, Pictures and People. The hubs operate like folders and have apps that are integrated with third party apps as well as Windows Phone 7 apps. For example:
- Games Hub – Integrated with Xbox Live.
- Office Hub – Allows you to create and edit Word and Excel documents.
- Music and Video Hub – Allows you to access the Zune Store as well as easily access you’re your music, video or podcasts.
- People Hub – Allows you to see your contacts’ Facebook Status and make comments.
By contrast with the iOS and the Android, you have to launch separate apps to be able to perform each function contained within these hubs.
- Windows Phone 7 does not have copy and paste functionality which iOS and Android both have.
- Windows Phone 7 does not allow multi-tasking. (third-party apps can’t run in the background while you’re doing something else) iOS allows for some multi-tasking but Android has the clear advantage here.
- Neither the Windows Phone 7 nor iOS utilize Abobe Flash for videos. Android is the only one that has it so you are not limited to just watching videos on YouTube.
- Windows Phone 7 also does not include other features such as threaded email, video calling, visual voicemail or Twitter integration, among others.
This is one area where the iOS is the clear winner. The Apple App Store has over 300,000 apps to choose from. Android and Windows Phone 7 don’t even come close to that number. The Apple App Sore also is generally considered to have a far better collection of games than its two rivals. iTunes also makes it easier to check out and pay for games on the iOS.
So is there a winner?
When all is said and done, there is no one smartphone or set of features and apps what will be right for everyone. It all depends on how you use your smartphone and what you like to do with it. I’d like to hear your feedback on these phones and what you like compared to the others.