Moving to Windows Phone 7 from iOS–Day 1

With Apple’s announcement of the iPhone 4S, I skipped my annual early morning efforts of pre-ordering the new handset. For the first time in three years, I wasn’t giving Apple more money!

You see, two weeks ago, I picked up a Samsung Omnia 7, Windows Phone 7 handset for development purposes. I decided that since I wasn’t getting a new iPhone, I might as well give this phone an honest go as my primary handset, just to see if the platform is as good I’m hearing. I will put together a few blog posts over the next couple of weeks, discussing my likes and dislikes of this new platform and how it fits into my daily grind.

The first thing I had to do was get my Omnia 7 unlocked from the 3 network. Thanks to mobileunlocked.co.uk that was very easy. For a price of £14.99, they sent me a code after about 30 minutes and I used that to unlock the phone.

As a note to anyone doing this, my WP7 prompted me for a PIN number after I inserted my microsim (you’ll need the adapter). This is actually the NCK code that you receive from MobileUnlocked. O2’s iPhone sims don’t have a PIN code so it’s a little misleading.

Whilst I was waiting on the code from MobileUnlocked, I forced the device to update to Mango using the unplug your network cable method.

With the phone all updated, I decided to use it this morning on my commute to work and here are a few things that I like and don’t like:

Zune Account debacle! [dislike]

I’ve already posted about this issue, so I won’t go into it again, but basically I cannot sign into Zune using my Windows Live ID as it’s got the wrong country value on it. I hope to resolve this over the coming weekend, by detaching my existing Zune account and creating a new one.

Zune won’t fill my device with music automatically [dislike]

Since this device only has 8GB of storage, rather than my iPhone’s 32GB, I knew the music loading was going to require some sacrifice. What I didn’t expect was Zune’s absolute inability to manage this limited size. Anyone with an iPhone will know that iTunes will just try and cram as much music onto the device as possible, regardless of the space available. It will give you the option to remove podcasts and movies etc., just so it can fit more music onto the device. Zune on the other hand, just says you don’t have enough space. That’s it! You then have to manually select everything you want to copy over. A small thing I know, but another thing that could have done better!

I just dragged a couple of dozen albums onto the phone and let it sync up. Of course I need to decrypt my entire iTunes library, but that’s a project for another day!

No Audible support! [dislike]

This actually shocked me. Audible don’t provide a native client for the Windows Phone 7 platform! I’m an avid audible user and it’s become an essential part of my commute. I listen to Audio books anytime I’m walking or jogging. I hope that I can simply load up the phone with the Audible MP3 files.

Audible, of course, have not committed to developing a Windows Phone 7 app and given how long it too for the Zune HD to get support, I’m not holding my breath.

Onscreen music controls [like]

One thing I do like is that when you’re playing music, the onscreen controls are present on the lock screen. One click to access. iOS offered something similar, but required two clicks. Every click counts okay!

Onwards and Upwards

I’ll be keeping the phone with me over the next couple of weeks and I’ll blog again when I have more likes and dislikes. Anyone else trying WP7 for the first time?