New Windows phone better, still quirky
BY ROBERT EVATT World Staff Writer
Saturday, January 21, 2012
5/18/12 at 7:58 AM
Ah, Windows Phone 7. Microsoft put a vast amount of effort into moving away from the horrible mess of previous Windows phone systems, giving us something new, creative and unique.
And then nobody bought it.
It's really a shame, but survey after survey keeps showing that the Windows smartphone platform continues losing market share. Even the awful previous versions of Windows phone have managed to do better.
Still, Microsoft Corp. keeps plugging away and has made a lot of changes to the latest version of its operating system, code-named Mango. The HTC Titan, offered by AT&T, is the flagship phone for Mango and probably the best place to start a review of the system revisions.
The phone itself is sturdily built and, like most Android phones, goes for as large a screen as possible, in this case a beefy 4.7 inches.
Its 8-megapixel camera takes nice-looking photos, and the processor is swift enough to run everything smoothly.
There's nothing too out of the ordinary in the world of smartphones, so the bigger question is what Microsoft has tweaked with Mango. The short answer is "lots of things."
Let's start with the "people" tile, which condenses phone numbers, email addresses and social media postings all in one place, now with Twitter and LinkedIn mixed in. While it's nice to have everything in one place, you have to back out and go to a separate "notifications" tile to view various notifications for each social network. How hard would it have been to simply add notifications to a subheading of people and have one less tile on the home page?
In another annoyance, invitations from social media networks automatically get pushed to your calendar. You can't simply delete them, you have to take the time to say whether you're attending. Not the best option when you have well-meaning friends who spam you with random things you have no interest in.
A more welcome change is Local Scout, which did a great job of pulling up restaurants and stores near where I was. But the "See + Do" subcategory, which tries to plug you into nearby events, was more hit or miss. While downtown, it listed places like the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame and events like the Harlem Globetrotters and the Bartlesville Symphony, but missed the Philbrook Museum of Art and its events, for instance. And, bizarrely, one of the featured events it gave me was the Midtown Adult Theater. Um, no thank you.
The system's email can now integrate multiple accounts into one list. It's handy, but it's still oddly missing the ability to delete without reading the message or activating the ability to select multiple messages.
The photo hub can now send pictures directly to Twitter and draw in pictures by person and from outside sources. Unfortunately, the outside sources are limited to two - Facebook and Microsoft's own Skydrive.
Multitasking is also new; just hold the back button to bring up what you've had open recently. But, it can only have four or five of your most recent tasks available at once.
All in all, the Mango update is a mixed bag. It introduces some needed and interesting features, but it has a few quirks. Still, I can't help but remain charmed by the attractive, slick interface, which is evolving into a decent alternative to the other smartphone platforms.
Cost: $199 with a two-year contract
Pros: Solid build, strong processor,
multitasking, integrated local
Cons: Disjointed social network
feeds, occasional quirks, relatively
Original Print Headline: New Windows phone better, still quirky
Robert Evatt 918-581-8447
TOM GILBERT/Tulsa World