SamsungFocusSmartphoneI purchased a Samsung Focus smartphone from AT&T running Microsoft Windows Phone 7 for my wife.  I received the phone in the mail from AT&T earlier today and the initial setup is complete.  Why Windows Phone 7?   My wife has been using feature phones for a number of years and was interested in upgrading to the advanced capabilities offered by smartphones.  But which smartphone should I buy for my wife?  As part of my job for IBM, I get the opportunity to evaluate a number of different phones including BlackBerry, iPhone, Google Android, Symbian and Windows Mobile.   I demoed each of these phone to my wife, who is decidedly not a technophile like myself, and the overwhelming response was “too complicated.”  I had been following Windows Phone 7 for the better part of a year with great interest.   What most appealed to me was Microsoft’s attempt to build a new smartphone platform from the ground up with a brand new user interface that is a radical departure from any other smartphone platform.  While my wife didn’t have a chance to try the phone before buying it, we did watch some of the demo videos online and we’ve also see the commercials on TV.  My wife liked what she saw and I placed the order on Tuesday.

Another reason for sticking with AT&T?  I have an AT&T Microcell in my home that delivers 5 bars of AT&T 3G service.  I live in an area of CT with poor cell service for all carriers.  For a one time charge, simple installation to my home broadband and zero configuration on my AT&T phones, I get great service.

I’ll reporting back on my wife’s experiences using the phone in the coming weeks.  My initial impressions:

  • 4.0” Touchscreen with Super AMOLED display is beautiful
  • The phone is thin and very light.  Slightly thicker than an iPhone but it seems thinner since the screen is larger
  • The user interface is fantastic.  Microsoft has done a great job
  • Over 2,000 applications in the app store growing.   A good selection so far and easy to navigate
  • Microsoft controls when OS updates go out over the air.  This is a radical departure from most other vendors.   Apple is the closest to this model but I hate having to use a cable and my PC to upgrade.  Android is fragmented with carriers deciding when (and if) upgrades will be available. 
  • My wife isn’t crazy about the “people hub” sucking in all her FaceBook contacts for her phone directory.  I have to explore this in more detail.

I also want to explore the phone from an enterprise capabilities standpoint – connecting to a corporate IT infrastructure and getting access to e-mail and applications.  I’ve been following the Windows Phone Secrets blogThis Week in Windows Podcast and I also ordered a copy of the Windows Phone 7 Secrets book – all from one of my favorite technologists, Paul Thurrott.

Watch this blog for more details on my wife’s experiences with Windows Phone 7.

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