As much as we try to hate on Windows Mobile 7 – With the Mango 7.1 update, we have to honestly admit, we love it…
by Troy Saxton-Getty
At dropSKIP we have been tougher on Microsoft versus any of the other mobile OS providers (ok, maybe not as tough as we are on RIM-Research in Motion) and for good reason.
The first version of Windows Mobile 7 was pretty cool but lacked the basics of the much more mature operating systems. WM7 offered some interesting new and fresh ways of looking at mobility issues for data sharing and consumption but all-in, it really couldn’t stand up to the big boys and it was truly disappointing.
Well, we have to admit, as much as we liked to bag on WM7 and Microsoft not being able to compete, Mango (aka Windows Mobile 7.1) has changed the playing field, it is a serious contender, and it’s plain fun and useful in a way that nicely fits the multi-connected individual.
We finally got the much anticipated T-Mobile Mango update last month on our dropSKIP overly tested – HTC HD7 (not the S model) and right from the beginning it had us captivated with just a few of the “500″ new features not to mention, it was lightening fast on our older hardware.
The first thing that caught our attention was the email grouping feature, most of the other OS’s offer a combined INBOX view if you happen to have multiple accounts, but this is something different, it’s much more usable, for example, on our test unit, we have 9 email accounts, 4 of which are work and business related, 3 personal and the remaining two are the “spam” and Junk accounts that end up being used for product registrations etc. With the grouping feature in Mango, we created three groups, Biz, Personal and Bulk. Each tile keeps a running total of new/unread email and it clearly denotes the unread number in an easy to see format making it super fast to get to what is important first, then less important second and so on, in a way “we” choose what we see grouped together.
The next feature we immediately fell in love with is the combined Messaging area, you can setup text messages, Facebook Messaging, Twitter, Linked-In etc. to show up in a single location just like the combined email inbox view. This is really a cool presentation and it makes the non-email reading/replying features much more useful.
In our tests between 9 active email accounts, 7+ messaging and chat feeds, we could read and reply faster then IOS5 and Android (2.x, & 3.x). Our test handset units are setup with all of our work, personal and junk email accounts combined with multiple messaging feeds gets well over 500+ items per day. We could read and reply faster on Mango then IOS5 or Android.
Last but not least, the contact-centric view, you can combine two or more contacts into a group, for example, Close Friends, Work Peeps, Family and Top Customers. This view can be setup to show you everything related to that group of contacts, Facebook feed, twitter, etc. basically anything related to the contact in the group for the services you sign up or login to. This is down right amazing, simple and makes a ton of sense and to top it off, the tile for each group has live feed update of little pictures for each contact in the group, so on the home screen, you are seeing updated photos live for each contact in the assorted group, clever & cool!
I can’t wait to see these features copied to the “other” OS’s! Microsoft, you are back with some leading features even the others don’t have.
The Multi-tasking works very well too, simply long-press the “Back Arrow” icon and it will allow you to select between all running applications. If you long-press the Windows icon, you can speak your commands like in Android and almost a cool as Siri on IOS5.
These are just a few of the many new features we found immediately useful and actually cooler then our favorite Android devices as well as our daily drivers, a pair of iPhone4S models, one Verizon and one AT&T.