Things in Windows Phone Mango That Bug Me

*Work in progress, check back for more as I spend some time with WP7*

Note: This perspective comes from a long-time iPhone user dogfooding Windows Phone Mango build 7712 on an old, beat-up refurbished HTC Surround for a week. This should not be taken as am “I Hate WP7” post.

I don’t think I’m ready to switch from an iPhone as my main device, but I’ve been very impressed with WP7 and I think that there are many things WP7 is doing a lot better than iOS.

1. On-screen keyboard sounds: For a better typing experience, WP7’s OSK provides audio feedback for each key tap. However, there are no independent volume controls for this, so if your system volume is is set to medium-high, the keyboard taps become quite loud and distracting to those around you.

In contrast, when you’re on an iPhone, the keyboard clicks stay at a more reasonable volume level, no matter the system sound volume level.

I’d also like to see the option to enable vibration haptic feedback for key presses. Android has this option and it works well — especially in environments where clicking sounds are going to draw glares from those around you.

2. Everyone seems to despise Windows Phone. I spent some time with WP7 devices both at an AT&T Wireless corporate store, and a Best Buy. Both places, the sales people spoke of the WP7 devices with disdain and tried to steer me to an Android device.

When I show the WP7 version of ColorViz to people, I almost always get “Coool!” and then the question “Why the hell are you developing this on WP7? WP7 sucks!” as if I had just thrown an empty Big Mac wrapper on George Washington’s grave. This is a huge image/PR issue for the WP7 product team and I don’t know how to fix it.

I’m not sure if the animosity is towards Microsoft, WP7’s Windows Mobile roots or what. After using the device, it’s pretty clear this is not your grandpa’s dad’s Windows Mobile 6 phone. The interface is modern, unclunky, and at least as responsive as iOS 5 on an iPhone 4.

3. The alarm app volume. Like many others, I don’t use the alarm clock on my nightstand, I use my mobile phone to wake me up.

What bugs me about the alarm app is that it seems to use the system volume level for the alarm. This should be a separate volume control. I normally keep my system volume level low, so when I’m getting notifications, I’m not bothering my office mates with sounds.

To it’s credit, the alarm app still sounds when the phone is placed in vibrate mode.


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