Wednesday, September 15, 2010

WP7 Device Test Day One

Today was my first day of testing a WP7 device as my primary phone. Got the device on Monday, but being a really crazy week, I only got time to configure it today. Still have to install this weekend the development environment(I hope that tomorrow they will release the RTM also for the test devices cause I have a "clean" install of VS 2010 and I would like to keep it that way). The device is the LG and the build is the one that works with the beta tools.
In the past two days knowing that I don't have time to use/configure it I did some tests and got some interesting points. The first one was from my colleague Marius that, in the home screen kept pressing the windows(Start) button and not the arrow to go to the programs. This got me thinking that maybe it would be a good idea to be able to go to the Programs list when pressing Start(Windows) in the Home screen. The second person I gave the phone to play was my wife. She currently owns a Blackberry and I've wanted to see how she'll like the device. Bad luck... Maybe she was a little tired and wasn't in the right mood for trying new things but she didn't like the UI and gave up pretty quick (even if I told her to try the Facebook experience). Another colleague of mine (that owns an Android) returned the phone after 30 minutes of playing even if I've told him that he could play all evening as I did not had time (I will ask him why). So the feedback from the others was not as positive as I was expecting.
No let's get back to my experience. A bug that I've noticed in the beta build is in the initial wizard if you don't have the SIM card and you try to configure the windows live account it will block the device (the user should be able to configure the Wifi before configuring the windows live account in the intial wizard). I also got a "freeze" today using voice search with the word pizza :). At the beginning I did the mistake to add my Facebook account. Don't get me wrong I like the integrated experience but Facebook "polluted" my contact list with 200 people (and I don't have many friends on Facebook) which for me are not really important as phone contacts. I usually surf facebook if I have 10 minutes free time. For me it would be more suitable an Facebook application. So I took out the Facebook account and synchronized everything (calendar and contacts) using Google (it was quite an adventure to find the right programs that synchronize Outlook 2010 with my gmail account). I was good to go to test the phone.
The overall experience is good. The software keyboard is really good (but not better than the one on the iPhone or iPod touch). I have the impression that there is a lot of "wasted" space in the UI. For example when you are in a call you have the Speaker, Mute, Hold, Add speaker buttons that are small and then there is a lot of unused space. They could be a little bigger (even if the precision of the touchscreen is amazing but it would be for visibility and symmetry). Also the font is a little too small in some screens (in the home screen if you don't have really good eyes you will have some difficulties reading the screen). The worst designed part of the phone is still the Application list. It is in alphabetical order and the only thing you can do is to pin an app to the home screen or scroll scroll scroll. I've even tried, from the application list, to press search without being connected to the internet and wrote Marketplace but the result was empty. Let's hope that in the RTM this part will work. Anyway the application list is unusable when you have a lot of applications on the phone.
I am very excited to have a "real" test device and hope soon to start/have time to deliver some apps, modules.

P.S. Today in the car I was trying to call a person and I don't know what I was keep pressing that the phone was asking me if I want to delete the contact (got it at least 3 times today). Strange....


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