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Die Aufholjagd von Windows Phone hat begonnen. Wir zeigen die besten Apps, die es mittlerweile auch für Windows Phone gibt. REVIEW. Der Kauf. Für Nutzer heißt das, dass sie keine Apps mehr installieren können. Bereits auf einem Windows Phone installierte Apps laufen weiter. Mit dem Update auf Windows Phone holt Microsoft zu der Konkurrenz von Google Windows Phone holt auf – Nokia Lumia mit Windows Phone Review Je mehr Apps man auf die Startseite anpinnt desto weiter kann man nach. In genau diesem Klima habe ich meine Reviews zum Lumia und spüren lassen, was für ein Potential in Windows Phone 8 Apps steckt. Gnadenfrist: Windows 10 Mobile bekommt einen weiteren Patchday. mit Windows on ARM laufen, gleichzeitig aber auch Android-Apps ausführen können​.

Windows Phone Apps Review

Whatsapp für Windows Phone endet am Supportende heisst nämlich oft nur, dass Apps keine Updates mehr erhalten. Ein ausführliches Review zum Microsoft Launcher haben wir bereits für euch erstellt. Mit dem Update auf Windows Phone holt Microsoft zu der Konkurrenz von Google Windows Phone holt auf – Nokia Lumia mit Windows Phone Review Je mehr Apps man auf die Startseite anpinnt desto weiter kann man nach. youtube Apps Windows Phone. 6' Google Pixel 4a Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G Test Review Mobilegeeks. Ümit Memisoglu. Microsoft needs to give users a way to sort apps from music, because search is completely unwieldy as it stands right now. The available camera options and modes can be extended by phone manufacturers, but the default list is pretty impressive and includes configurable white balance, image effects grayscale, sepia, and the likesaturation, ISO, exposure, and even metering mode -- and Deutschland Medaillen of these options are still available even when capturing video. Overall, the Windows Phone Apps Review experience is solid, but not best in Onlone Casino. Of course, the controversial cut-off text is still present, and while we happen to like the way it looks, it's definitely an acquired taste, and there are times when it just Empire Wien work, like in the Office hub where PowerPoint looks like it reads "PowerPoir. Romme Karten Wieviele not much to Gewinnspiele Kosmetik, but it works Risiko Online Ohne Anmeldung Deutsch advertised. Nearby - Chat, Meet, Friend Rated 4 out of 5 stars. AloePlayer Free. Windows Phone Apps Review

Windows Phone Apps Review - Windows Mobile: Kein WhatsApp mehr nach Supportende

Somit wurde es abgekündigt. Über was soll denn sonst geschrieben werden. Home MS-Android. Somit kann man auch hier Musik hören und nebenbei andere Dinge tun. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. Endlich kein Pussy-Design mehr.

Again, you're not going to see many new UI elements here, as most of the improvements are taking place underneath -- this new iteration promises higher efficiency, faster rendering time, hardware-accelerated graphics and twice as much HTML5 support as IE9.

Does it work as promised? Running side by side against Mango-powered phones, it was clearly much faster. That's the fastest time we've recorded on a mobile device, though not by much -- it barely beat out the iPhone 5's score of ms.

We'll admit that Enterprise isn't a huge area of coverage for us, and we typically refrain from going into excruciating detail in that area.

One feature designed for the Enterprise, however, is actually too clever for us to simply shun. WP8 includes support for special private hubs that can only be accessed by employees or IT professionals.

Known aptly as Company Hub, this is a place set aside for companies to offer news, calendars, notes and employee-specific apps that can't and shouldn't be accessible via the public Windows Phone Store.

These types of apps have been available for iOS and Android for quite some time, but we enjoy the idea of each employee having a one-stop shop on their phone for all of their pertinent information, rather than having to sideload everything they need.

Any of our readers who have given Windows Phone a chance over the last two years likely have seen that Google and Microsoft haven't played well -- at least, not when it comes to the latter's mobile OS.

This means that you don't have any native apps for Gmail, Reader, Voice, Talk or the vast multitude of other services.

Third-party apps are available to help cover this gaping hole, but most of them aren't up to par with the experience Android users have on their devices.

Good luck getting privately shared calendars to show up -- our various methods didn't turn up a way to do it. Our regular Google Calendar and publicly shared calendars worked just fine.

Heck, even the web view for its services most of which look great on iOS appear the same way you'd expect it to show up on your kid's prepaid featurephone: slow, unintuitive and frustrating.

Indeed, Windows Phone -- despite its various improvements -- still lacks a punch in this area, which makes it a tough sell for Android fans to move over.

With the exception of a few new features, Windows Phone hadn't changed much in the last two years. The new version of its OS, however, definitely makes the platform feel more refined and even brings back some of the freshness we originally felt when we first laid eyes on the firmware.

We demanded support for hardware that's relevant to today's market, and Microsoft brought it; we wanted more app integration and customization, and it's now much improved over WP7.

Indeed, Windows Phone 8 is precisely what we wanted to see come out of Redmond in the first place. There's only one major question mark still looming over its head now; how will developers respond to it?

In , an OS is only as strong as its ecosystem, and regardless of Microsoft's best efforts to sell the platform to big-name developers and even amassing over , apps to date , it's been an ongoing struggle for Windows Phone to appear relevant enough to attract popular titles.

What the new firmware has, however, is much more potential than WP7 ever had; Microsoft has finally laid the proper framework to make the platform desirable to developers.

We'll also likely see a large number of Windows 8 customers eventually drawn to Microsoft's phone OS as they begin investing time and money in the desktop or tablet versions.

Let there be no doubt -- Windows Phone 8 is a definite improvement over its predecessor, and it's long overdue.

In general, we like what we see, and users and developers have been eagerly awaiting this update ever since the Windows Phone platform first launched.

It's still far from perfect, but Microsoft has finally caught up in many ways to its competitors and come up with some clever new features in the process , and by doing so, the momentum is now in its court.

If Microsoft loses that momentum in the near future, however, we have a hard time seeing its OS recovering from it. Windows Phone 8 is a tremendous improvement over its predecessor, but it remains to be seen if developers are ready to hop on to the platform.

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Games Hub. Windows Phone Store. Gallery: Windows Phone Store 8 Photos 8. Internet Explorer 10 Every major update to Windows Phone so far has included a bump up to the next version of Internet Explorer.

IE10 also includes a SmartScreen filter, which is a lifesaver if you accidentally wander into a malicious site. Company Hub We'll admit that Enterprise isn't a huge area of coverage for us, and we typically refrain from going into excruciating detail in that area.

Google frustrations Any of our readers who have given Windows Phone a chance over the last two years likely have seen that Google and Microsoft haven't played well -- at least, not when it comes to the latter's mobile OS.

Gallery: Windows Phone 8 miscellaneous 28 Photos Here are a few other notable observations concerning Windows Phone 8. This one is huge: developers can now have their apps communicate with other third-party apps.

This means that if one app has to hand you off to another to offer relevant content, it can do so. For instance, a Yelp app could launch your favorite GPS navigation app in order to provide you with step-by-step directions on how to get to that Mexican restaurant with all the rave reviews.

If you liked the keyboard before, you'll like it just as much now. Barely anything has changed on it, though Word Flow the renamed version of Quick Correct from Mango has been slightly improved.

While Word Flow's word predictions and corrections are typically quite accurate, we'd still prefer a dedicated number row and more easily accessible punctuation marks.

We also noticed that the keyboard often refused to correct -- or even understand, in many cases -- contractions. Unfortunately, opponents of the keyboard continue to be stuck with it, since third-party keyboards can't directly tie into the OS and have to resort to making you cut and paste everything you write.

Developers can make better use of Microsoft's TellMe service, which is accessible by long-pressing the Start button. While the service was already capable of opening apps with the power of your voice, it now supports the ability to dive in even further and do specific commands within those apps as well.

Again, this is an API feature that will ultimately depend on whether or not devs integrate it into their app. While it's not a mainstream feature that everyone craves, the ability to take screenshots is incredibly important for tech-savvy individuals not to mention yours truly, when it comes to writing this review.

We've been confused as to why it's been left out for so long, especially when considering the multitasking feature added into Mango last year consists of several cards made up of screenshots.

To take advantage of this opportunity yourself, you just need to press down the power button and the Start key simultaneously for one second.

Contacts and calendars came along for the ride, though we noted a problem right off the bat with calendar sync -- only our primary Google calendar was syncing, apparently a limitation which Microsoft says they're working on.

The plan is for full EAS calendar syncing, but as of right now, you'll only get your primary calendar synced -- that goes for Hotmail too. You're provided with a number of sync frequency options, including push, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, hourly, and manual updating.

Push seemed to work relatively smoothly, though we definitely noticed a harder hit on the battery when using it in conjunction with heavy use of the phone.

The email app on the phone is pretty terrific on the whole, providing a clean, clear layout and upfront options for your most-used functions.

In the standard inbox view you get your emails with one line of a message preview, and you can swipe right or left for sorting options by unread, flagged, or urgent on top of the standard folder view.

We found the inclusion of the unread view especially helpful when triaging our inbox. What wasn't helpful, however was the lack of threaded messaging.

We pretty much expect everyone to have this figured out by now, but somehow Apple slept on it, Palm hasn't stepped up to the plate, and now Microsoft is leaving us high and dry.

We pressed the company on whether or not it would be included, and the word was that it was planned for, but there was no telling if it would be happening by launch our takeaway was pretty much that it wouldn't make the cut.

On the bright side, multiple message management is executed here better than most mobile email apps we've used, requiring only that you tap to the far left of a message to engage your checkboxes.

It definitely sped up the process of killing or moving mail. Also nice was the fact that in a standard message view, when you delete an email you're kicked back to your inbox -- not to the next message.

If you're like us, you don't want to read an email before you're good and ready. Along the bottom of the display you have icons for creating a new message, viewing folders that mysteriously doesn't display all folder by default , multi-message editing which seems superfluous , and refresh.

Tapping the search button while in mail gets you to a pretty powerful search which parses subjects, message content, senders, and receivers all at once.

It made it astoundingly easy to find what we were looking for with almost no hesitation. Unfortunately, it only searches messages downloaded onto the device, so if you're looking for that long lost password, you're out of luck here.

Additionally, you can tell the app to sync individual folders, but it doesn't seem to peer into those during searches anyhow. Another thing to note -- there's no combined inbox here.

In fact, when you create a new mail account, it places what amounts to a separate app for that inbox into your application list.

Likewise, to access it from the homescreen you need to pin that separate app to the front page. We would like to see an option to have multiple items inside of one tile not dissimilar from the iPhone's new folders where you could bundle things like your mail accounts into one place.

Of course, it would be preferable just to have a combined inbox. Overall, the mail experience is solid, but not best in class.

There's a lot here that is laudable like the sheer snappiness of it , but there's also a fair amount that's missing.

We'd really like to see Microsoft add in threaded messaging, joined inboxes, and an improved server-side search -- maybe an update for us, guys?

Microsoft has adopted the all-too-familiar speech balloon motif for this view, and while we can't gripe too hard about that, we wish the company would differentiate sender and receiver by color even lighter and darker shades of the same color.

We found that with the same color used for both incoming and outgoing messages, conversations could get a little confusing.

Creating and sending messages is fairly straightforward, and MMS at least photos display inline, but can be saved to your phone as well. Long pressing on individual messages gives you the option to delete or forward them, while in the list view of all your conversations, a long press gets you the option to delete the whole thread.

There's not much to it, but it works as advertised. On our original test unit from July we saw some buggy behavior with display in the SMS application, but it looks like Microsoft has squashed any strange behavior we witnessed.

Browser For as much crap as Internet Explorer gets less, admittedly, now that the debacle of IE6 is finally starting to fade , we've got to say that web browsing on Windows Phone 7 is actually a really pleasant experience.

Our understanding is that it's essentially using desktop-class code, bits and pieces of Internet Explorer 7 and 8 tossed together and massaged into something that'll look and work better on a smaller display with less horsepower.

Loading the desktop version of Engadget was just a hair slower than an iPhone 4, and just as importantly, rendering new parts of the page as you scroll is plenty fast -- not instantaneous, but fast enough so that you never find yourself consciously waiting for it to catch up.

Zooming -- which is accomplished with a pinch gesture, of course -- is buttery smooth. The phone accomplishes this in the same way you're probably used to from other devices: when you first zoom in, it uses the same render resolution so that it can at least show you something without going blank, then it renders the appropriate level of detail as it catches up Google Maps works the same way on almost every platform.

It works well. Zooming in and out of a page -- even when still loading up content -- was super fast in our testing, and rendering happened in a split second, meaning hardly any time spent looking at jagged pixels.

We're tremendously impressed with how well the browser works -- it's certainly competitive with Windows Phone 7's contemporaries.

There isn't a lot of bonus functionality, but we appreciated the "pin to start" option that lets you turn a page into a home screen tile, complete with a miniaturized view of the site of course, there are standard bookmarks available as well.

Tabs are also supported but you're limited to a maximum of six -- though let's be honest, you probably don't need more than six open tabs at a time on your phone, and if you do, you should be in front of a laptop anyway.

The tabs all continue to load independently regardless of whether they're active or not, which is nice, and doesn't seem to have much of a negative impact on overall browser performance.

Neither Flash nor Silverlight are currently supported on pages, and as anyone with an iPhone can attest, that's generally not a problem though we'd be curious to see what kind of performance they could achieve.

Of course, the real kicker is that you don't get HTML5 video support either, which makes the browser situation somewhat painful.

Adding insult to injury, the phones don't have a dedicated YouTube app -- instead relying on an interpreter which is part of the video hub to play back YouTube content.

Unfortunately, every time we tried to watch something, WP7 attempted to download the YouTube software and failed, so we were unable to test the functionality.

For those of you looking for any kind of streaming video playback on these devices, right now you're kind of out of luck.

One other thing that concerns us is that a number of sites that detect our iPhone and Android devices to show mobile versions don't detect Windows Phone 7 properly -- a key example being Gmail, which shows you a nasty WAP-compatible site designed as the lowest common denominator for data-capable dumbphones.

Hopefully this will be an issue cleared up once a few of these phones are out in the market. The Zune integration is rather seamless on Windows Phone 7, allowing you to browse and play what you have in your library, sync music and video back and forth to your PC, and if you have a Zune Pass subscription, you can grab whatever you like well, almost right on the phone without hesitation.

In general, we like the combo here, but there were times when the Zune interface was a bit confusing. Sometimes it was hard to know what section of the player you're in -- the line between previewing and listening is very fine here.

In fact, you can listen to a preview clip while doing other things on the phone one of the places you see Microsoft's first-party only multitasking.

It doesn't make a huge amount of sense to us -- previews should likely quit when you leave app. Other times, because Zune Pass lets you sample the entire song, you can be streaming a full length preview, which gives you the impression of listening to a piece of music you "own" or at least have downloaded when that isn't the case.

We also take issue with the lack of a proper jog control to skip into tracks -- holding down the fast forward or rewind button is inconsistent and seems a bit clunky to us.

Ultimately it's a question of how voracious of a music buyer you are -- but something tells us we're going to see a marked increase in Pass users now that these phones are hitting the market.

Microsoft could make it a little easier to get new users a Pass by offering a quick sign up on the phone, but that's a pretty minor issue.

A couple of other important aspects to note about Zune and Windows Phone 7 is that the desktop software and these devices are now extremely interconnected, and the Zune desktop software allows wireless sync.

Not only do you use the Zune software to sync your music and videos, but you'll be able to buy apps from the marketplace on your computer, you can sync photos in the Zune application, and your general account and device management is handled through the app now.

It's a pretty similar arrangement to that of the iPhone and iTunes, and we can't really complain about Microsoft taking that page out of Apple's playbook.

Microsoft has always been good about syncing, but this makes the process slightly less obtuse than its ActiveSync options from the Windows Mobile heyday.

As for the new wireless sync function in Zune, it worked flawlessly on our local network -- though it did take a little figuring out. Once you've set up your device and computer to sync, you can drag content onto the icon in the Zune software, but your phone won't sync back to your PC until you've got the device on AC power.

Not a problem once you get used to it -- but our phone could really use some kind of dock. Regardless, the functionality is amazing especially after years of wired syncing with iTunes , providing fast back and forth swapping of files.

An especially nice perk was that it automatically sends your photos back to the PC. One thing though, just as with normal syncing, your device can't be used for music or photos while a connection is made.

Still, if you've got a decently fast network, you'll get tons of use out of this feature. As far as Mac syncing goes, Microsoft has released a beta utility which does syncing of music, videos, and photos to the device and at least photos back to your computer.

It gets the job done for the most part, but it's a little rough around the edges at this stage. Still, it's great that Microsoft is being inclusive here, and the process was mostly without incident.

Camera and photo management We'd heard before that one of Microsoft's big goals for Windows Phone 7 devices was stellar camera performance -- not just in terms of picture size and quality, but speed, too.

After all, if your camera app takes too long to load or you're waiting for five seconds between shots, the phone's utility as an easy way to capture impromptu moments the same way a point-and-shoot can is significantly diminished.

Fortunately, it seems like they're making good on the promise so far -- on most devices, it doesn't take more than a few seconds from camera button press to the first shot, and around two seconds between shots.

Image quality varies by device, but since the bare minimum is 5 megapixels for the Windows Phone 7 spec, you'll at least have decently high res photos.

Once you take a shot, something pretty cool happens: it advances to the left, almost as though you're looking at an actual roll of film, and you can see a dimmed sliver of the shot you just took on the left side of your viewfinder.

You can then swipe to the right to see shots you've taken in the past, starting with the most recent, and returning to viewfinder camera mode, as it were is as simple as swiping all the way to the left again.

It's a neat user experience that we suspect novice users will pick up on very quickly. The available camera options and modes can be extended by phone manufacturers, but the default list is pretty impressive and includes configurable white balance, image effects grayscale, sepia, and the like , saturation, ISO, exposure, and even metering mode -- and most of these options are still available even when capturing video.

Naturally, you can also set the flash to fire automatically, always, or never. One annoying bug, however -- the camera settings don't seem to stick once you leave the app.

Meaning if you've turned the flash off and go check your email, next time you take a shot the flash is on. We found this incredibly frustrating when trying to take quick photos where we expected a consistent result.

Microsoft should fix this immediately. Once you've taken your shots, the phone can be configured to automatically upload them to your Windows Live SkyDrive account in the background with your choice of privacy level private, friends only, or public.

You can also zip pictures over to your Facebook account using a menu item in the Pictures app. Speaking of the Pictures app, this is your one-stop shop for imagery on the phone -- both your shots locally and from supported online services and those of your friends show up here.

You'll come here to view and send pictures, change your lock screen wallpaper, and -- because this hub is extensible -- use any third-party services that developers have plugged into it.

In a way, it's kind of the prototypical Windows Phone 7 app "hub" in that it cycles through your own pictures for its background and has some cool time-dependent features; for instance, it adds a "moments" page that summarizes pictures on the phone that were taken in the current month.

It's all very pretty, but as we mentioned before with the People app, the "what's new" page tends to get cluttered with countless updates from Facebook friends you barely know.

Instead, we'd love a way to be able to select an inner circle of contacts from whom we wanted to see a photo stream here.

Marketplace In this day and age, you can't have a smartphone without a healthy app marketplace, and no one knows that better than Microsoft. In our review period, the company's app store wasn't flooded with titles, but we got a good chance to see how third-party software would preform on Windows Phone 7 devices.

The first thing you notice when you open the Marketplace is that aside from apps, you've got music and games as available categories, whereas iOS breaks music and applications out into separate stores, and Android leaves music to third-party providers like Amazon.

Swiping to the left takes you to the Featured page of the Marketplace, which oddly mixes up both music and applications into a single view -- kind of an interesting way to keep people looking at everything Microsoft has to sell without trying to send users' attentions to two or more completely unrelated places.

Unfortunately, that same mixture happens for searches in the marketplace too, meaning that you'll get mostly song and album info when you're looking for something like The Harvest.

Microsoft needs to give users a way to sort apps from music, because search is completely unwieldy as it stands right now.

Adding insult to injury, search doesn't even make suggestions for you. So when you get into the actual store itself, you're presented with the typical views you'd expect: newest, most popular, and featured.

If you're just browsing, you can delve into the whole list or narrow it down by category. Once you've selected a category, the list view is interesting -- it shows you the typical icon, app name, and rating on a five-star scale, but it also shows you a short description of the app directly below the name.

Tapping on an app takes you to its information page, which is pretty much what you'd expect: you've got the price up top, a full description, screen shots, reviews, version number, supported languages, and a list of phone services that the app needs access to, similar to what you find on Android.

The screen shots you see on this page are hilariously small, so you need to tap 'em to get an idea of what's going on -- not a big deal, though this would be a pretty easy one to solve by showing two or three thumbnails at a time rather than four.

Once you've decided to buy, the entire process happens in the background -- just as it should -- and after a few moments, you'll find the app has been added to your applications list.

We'd like some sort of unobtrusive notification when the app's installed, though, because as it stands now, it seems to be a guessing game -- you just have to keep checking until it shows up.

Overall, the buying experience is adequate, but not exactly fine tuned. Search is a major bummer here, and until Microsoft figures out how to give users proper sorting options, it's going to make finding what you need a pain.

Office Tight Office integration, complete with an awesome on-phone document and viewing experience, stands to be one of the biggest differentiators for Windows Phone 7 -- a feature that could almost singlehandedly make these devices impossible to ignore for serious business users regardless of their seemingly consumer-centric slant.

Instead, we came away feeling that Microsoft may have spent too much effort focusing on the collaborative side of Office and not enough time on the actual document editors themselves.

Though Word seems to do a decent job rendering pages onto the small display, the editing capabilities are weak at best -- you can't change fonts, for example, and you can only choose from four font colors: orange, green, red, and black.

Excel seems similarly gimped, though it's got a pretty solid set of built-in functions; we don't know what percentage of the full app's functions are supported, but it's a long list.

PowerPoint documents, meanwhile, can't be created on the phone at all. And really, that's totally fine -- if you're creating your presentation that you have to give in half an hour on your phone during your train ride into the city, you've probably already blown it.

The important thing with PowerPoint is probably the slide show capability -- especially for retail devices that have TV-out -- and in that regard, it seems to do just fine cheesy transitions and all.

We mentioned collaboration -- indeed, Windows Phone 7 supports SharePoint servers, which'll undoubtedly come in handy for some business users.

There's also OneNote, which in many ways is simply Word by another name; Microsoft gears it toward freeform note-taking by making it easy to attach pictures and voice recordings, but really, you should be able to do this from Word just as easily spoiler: you can't.

You can configure it to automatically synchronize to your Windows Live SkyDrive account any time you make a change, which basically means your up-to-date notes are accessible from any computer with an internet connection -- you know, that whole "cloud" thing.

We had issues with third-party software see below , but this is one area of this OS that really shines. Admittedly, we didn't get a chance to play a huge amount of titles right off the bat, but the titles we did play were not only reassuringly high in quality, but they legitimately made us feel like we were gaming with our Xbox Obviously, a lot of that is due to achievements, which you can garner in-game on the handsets, but the experience of the Xbox Live hub on the phones adds a lot of value to the platform as a whole.

There weren't a whole mess of games available for download during the review period, but we had a chance to play Twin Blades , Star Wars: Battle for Hoth , Rocket Riot , The Sims 3 and a handful of other titles.

We walked away from our gaming experiences being very impressed with the capabilities of Windows Phone 7 handsets as gaming devices. Certainly in this first generation they seem to be holding their own against the competition, and as with the Xbox itself, we expect games to get even better once devs learn the platform.

One missing piece is head-to-head gaming, of course. Given that this is supposed to be an Xbox experience, it's a little disappointing that you can't challenge other gamers.

There are some turn-based games available to play, but that's not quite the kind of action we're looking for. We think it was a big misstep on Microsoft's part to not get this feature baked into the first release of WP7, though at least the company claims that the functionality is coming down the pipeline.

Overall, Xbox Live is a huge boon to this platform, but it needs some time to fully gestate. What's there now is solid, but we think the future will hold big things for the component Our good friends at Joystiq took an even deeper look at gaming on Windows Phone 7, so take a peek at their coverage right here and here.

Maps Though it's not quite as full-featured as the latest renditions of Google Maps on Android have been, Microsoft's Bing Maps implementation on Windows Phone 7 is pretty great -- they've done a fantastic job of blending the experience of using a mapping app into their so-called Metro design language.

You've got access to satellite imagery and real-time traffic information; location fixes happen quickly, though we found that they tended to be a little less accurate than Google's when indoors and out of GPS reception.

Pinch-to-zoom is smooth and fast, and we liked the almost ethereal appearance of the map tiles as they loaded after panning or zooming in -- it's hard to describe, but it's a pretty neat though admittedly unnecessary effect.

Likewise, we liked the zoom-out, zoom-back-in effect when locating your position on the map while a different area is being displayed, which gives you a better idea of your relative position than the iPhone's rapid scroll.

Since this is straight-up Bing Maps on the back end, you can expect the same database of locations here that you get when you search for stuff from your computer.

On the phone, you can search either by text or voice more on this later , which will call up pushpins for matches near your map view.

As you'd expect, tapping a pin brings up the name of the result; a second tap calls up a page of information where you can find a phone number, URL, average rating, and even hours if they're available -- this is extremely handy for restaurants since it can save you an awkward trip to the business' inevitably non-mobile-friendly website.

Swiping around calls up a screen with nearby points of interest, and another screen with individual reviews; Microsoft is aggregating several sites for these, and we regularly found entries from both Citysearch and JudysBook.

No Yelp, it seems. Our favorite part of Maps, though, has to be the directions list when navigating to a destination. It's no voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation, of course, but the app has a cool split-screen mode that shows the list at the bottom and the map corresponding to the currently-selected list item at the top.

As you swipe through the list and highlight different items, the map moves around -- in other words, you can quickly see where and how you need to turn.

Both pedestrian and car modes are available, but no mass transit, which -- when you're living in a big city, anyhow -- is a feature we definitely miss coming from Google Maps.

Microsoft has done a neat job translating Bing's well-known home page layout to the small screen, complete with gorgeous rotating imagery and hotspots that reveal factoids when you tap them.

There's a mic to the right side of the text box that lets you conduct a voice search, and while we wouldn't bother trying to find anything with an odd name this way, common mobile searches think "burritos" worked really well.

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One thing though, just as with normal syncing, your device can't be used for music or photos while a connection is made.

Still, if you've got a decently fast network, you'll get tons of use out of this feature. As far as Mac syncing goes, Microsoft has released a beta utility which does syncing of music, videos, and photos to the device and at least photos back to your computer.

It gets the job done for the most part, but it's a little rough around the edges at this stage. Still, it's great that Microsoft is being inclusive here, and the process was mostly without incident.

Camera and photo management We'd heard before that one of Microsoft's big goals for Windows Phone 7 devices was stellar camera performance -- not just in terms of picture size and quality, but speed, too.

After all, if your camera app takes too long to load or you're waiting for five seconds between shots, the phone's utility as an easy way to capture impromptu moments the same way a point-and-shoot can is significantly diminished.

Fortunately, it seems like they're making good on the promise so far -- on most devices, it doesn't take more than a few seconds from camera button press to the first shot, and around two seconds between shots.

Image quality varies by device, but since the bare minimum is 5 megapixels for the Windows Phone 7 spec, you'll at least have decently high res photos.

Once you take a shot, something pretty cool happens: it advances to the left, almost as though you're looking at an actual roll of film, and you can see a dimmed sliver of the shot you just took on the left side of your viewfinder.

You can then swipe to the right to see shots you've taken in the past, starting with the most recent, and returning to viewfinder camera mode, as it were is as simple as swiping all the way to the left again.

It's a neat user experience that we suspect novice users will pick up on very quickly. The available camera options and modes can be extended by phone manufacturers, but the default list is pretty impressive and includes configurable white balance, image effects grayscale, sepia, and the like , saturation, ISO, exposure, and even metering mode -- and most of these options are still available even when capturing video.

Naturally, you can also set the flash to fire automatically, always, or never. One annoying bug, however -- the camera settings don't seem to stick once you leave the app.

Meaning if you've turned the flash off and go check your email, next time you take a shot the flash is on. We found this incredibly frustrating when trying to take quick photos where we expected a consistent result.

Microsoft should fix this immediately. Once you've taken your shots, the phone can be configured to automatically upload them to your Windows Live SkyDrive account in the background with your choice of privacy level private, friends only, or public.

You can also zip pictures over to your Facebook account using a menu item in the Pictures app. Speaking of the Pictures app, this is your one-stop shop for imagery on the phone -- both your shots locally and from supported online services and those of your friends show up here.

You'll come here to view and send pictures, change your lock screen wallpaper, and -- because this hub is extensible -- use any third-party services that developers have plugged into it.

In a way, it's kind of the prototypical Windows Phone 7 app "hub" in that it cycles through your own pictures for its background and has some cool time-dependent features; for instance, it adds a "moments" page that summarizes pictures on the phone that were taken in the current month.

It's all very pretty, but as we mentioned before with the People app, the "what's new" page tends to get cluttered with countless updates from Facebook friends you barely know.

Instead, we'd love a way to be able to select an inner circle of contacts from whom we wanted to see a photo stream here.

Marketplace In this day and age, you can't have a smartphone without a healthy app marketplace, and no one knows that better than Microsoft.

In our review period, the company's app store wasn't flooded with titles, but we got a good chance to see how third-party software would preform on Windows Phone 7 devices.

The first thing you notice when you open the Marketplace is that aside from apps, you've got music and games as available categories, whereas iOS breaks music and applications out into separate stores, and Android leaves music to third-party providers like Amazon.

Swiping to the left takes you to the Featured page of the Marketplace, which oddly mixes up both music and applications into a single view -- kind of an interesting way to keep people looking at everything Microsoft has to sell without trying to send users' attentions to two or more completely unrelated places.

Unfortunately, that same mixture happens for searches in the marketplace too, meaning that you'll get mostly song and album info when you're looking for something like The Harvest.

Microsoft needs to give users a way to sort apps from music, because search is completely unwieldy as it stands right now.

Adding insult to injury, search doesn't even make suggestions for you. So when you get into the actual store itself, you're presented with the typical views you'd expect: newest, most popular, and featured.

If you're just browsing, you can delve into the whole list or narrow it down by category. Once you've selected a category, the list view is interesting -- it shows you the typical icon, app name, and rating on a five-star scale, but it also shows you a short description of the app directly below the name.

Tapping on an app takes you to its information page, which is pretty much what you'd expect: you've got the price up top, a full description, screen shots, reviews, version number, supported languages, and a list of phone services that the app needs access to, similar to what you find on Android.

The screen shots you see on this page are hilariously small, so you need to tap 'em to get an idea of what's going on -- not a big deal, though this would be a pretty easy one to solve by showing two or three thumbnails at a time rather than four.

Once you've decided to buy, the entire process happens in the background -- just as it should -- and after a few moments, you'll find the app has been added to your applications list.

We'd like some sort of unobtrusive notification when the app's installed, though, because as it stands now, it seems to be a guessing game -- you just have to keep checking until it shows up.

Overall, the buying experience is adequate, but not exactly fine tuned. Search is a major bummer here, and until Microsoft figures out how to give users proper sorting options, it's going to make finding what you need a pain.

Office Tight Office integration, complete with an awesome on-phone document and viewing experience, stands to be one of the biggest differentiators for Windows Phone 7 -- a feature that could almost singlehandedly make these devices impossible to ignore for serious business users regardless of their seemingly consumer-centric slant.

Instead, we came away feeling that Microsoft may have spent too much effort focusing on the collaborative side of Office and not enough time on the actual document editors themselves.

Though Word seems to do a decent job rendering pages onto the small display, the editing capabilities are weak at best -- you can't change fonts, for example, and you can only choose from four font colors: orange, green, red, and black.

Excel seems similarly gimped, though it's got a pretty solid set of built-in functions; we don't know what percentage of the full app's functions are supported, but it's a long list.

PowerPoint documents, meanwhile, can't be created on the phone at all. And really, that's totally fine -- if you're creating your presentation that you have to give in half an hour on your phone during your train ride into the city, you've probably already blown it.

The important thing with PowerPoint is probably the slide show capability -- especially for retail devices that have TV-out -- and in that regard, it seems to do just fine cheesy transitions and all.

We mentioned collaboration -- indeed, Windows Phone 7 supports SharePoint servers, which'll undoubtedly come in handy for some business users.

There's also OneNote, which in many ways is simply Word by another name; Microsoft gears it toward freeform note-taking by making it easy to attach pictures and voice recordings, but really, you should be able to do this from Word just as easily spoiler: you can't.

You can configure it to automatically synchronize to your Windows Live SkyDrive account any time you make a change, which basically means your up-to-date notes are accessible from any computer with an internet connection -- you know, that whole "cloud" thing.

We had issues with third-party software see below , but this is one area of this OS that really shines. Admittedly, we didn't get a chance to play a huge amount of titles right off the bat, but the titles we did play were not only reassuringly high in quality, but they legitimately made us feel like we were gaming with our Xbox Obviously, a lot of that is due to achievements, which you can garner in-game on the handsets, but the experience of the Xbox Live hub on the phones adds a lot of value to the platform as a whole.

There weren't a whole mess of games available for download during the review period, but we had a chance to play Twin Blades , Star Wars: Battle for Hoth , Rocket Riot , The Sims 3 and a handful of other titles.

We walked away from our gaming experiences being very impressed with the capabilities of Windows Phone 7 handsets as gaming devices.

Certainly in this first generation they seem to be holding their own against the competition, and as with the Xbox itself, we expect games to get even better once devs learn the platform.

One missing piece is head-to-head gaming, of course. Given that this is supposed to be an Xbox experience, it's a little disappointing that you can't challenge other gamers.

There are some turn-based games available to play, but that's not quite the kind of action we're looking for. We think it was a big misstep on Microsoft's part to not get this feature baked into the first release of WP7, though at least the company claims that the functionality is coming down the pipeline.

Overall, Xbox Live is a huge boon to this platform, but it needs some time to fully gestate. What's there now is solid, but we think the future will hold big things for the component Our good friends at Joystiq took an even deeper look at gaming on Windows Phone 7, so take a peek at their coverage right here and here.

Maps Though it's not quite as full-featured as the latest renditions of Google Maps on Android have been, Microsoft's Bing Maps implementation on Windows Phone 7 is pretty great -- they've done a fantastic job of blending the experience of using a mapping app into their so-called Metro design language.

You've got access to satellite imagery and real-time traffic information; location fixes happen quickly, though we found that they tended to be a little less accurate than Google's when indoors and out of GPS reception.

Pinch-to-zoom is smooth and fast, and we liked the almost ethereal appearance of the map tiles as they loaded after panning or zooming in -- it's hard to describe, but it's a pretty neat though admittedly unnecessary effect.

Likewise, we liked the zoom-out, zoom-back-in effect when locating your position on the map while a different area is being displayed, which gives you a better idea of your relative position than the iPhone's rapid scroll.

Since this is straight-up Bing Maps on the back end, you can expect the same database of locations here that you get when you search for stuff from your computer.

On the phone, you can search either by text or voice more on this later , which will call up pushpins for matches near your map view.

As you'd expect, tapping a pin brings up the name of the result; a second tap calls up a page of information where you can find a phone number, URL, average rating, and even hours if they're available -- this is extremely handy for restaurants since it can save you an awkward trip to the business' inevitably non-mobile-friendly website.

Swiping around calls up a screen with nearby points of interest, and another screen with individual reviews; Microsoft is aggregating several sites for these, and we regularly found entries from both Citysearch and JudysBook.

No Yelp, it seems. Our favorite part of Maps, though, has to be the directions list when navigating to a destination. It's no voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation, of course, but the app has a cool split-screen mode that shows the list at the bottom and the map corresponding to the currently-selected list item at the top.

As you swipe through the list and highlight different items, the map moves around -- in other words, you can quickly see where and how you need to turn.

Both pedestrian and car modes are available, but no mass transit, which -- when you're living in a big city, anyhow -- is a feature we definitely miss coming from Google Maps.

Microsoft has done a neat job translating Bing's well-known home page layout to the small screen, complete with gorgeous rotating imagery and hotspots that reveal factoids when you tap them.

There's a mic to the right side of the text box that lets you conduct a voice search, and while we wouldn't bother trying to find anything with an odd name this way, common mobile searches think "burritos" worked really well.

Once you run your search, you get not just web hits, but also news burritos come up in the news more often than you may think and local results -- basically a tie-in to Bing Maps that uses your location to find stuff nearby.

Though it's a great search app at its core, the details of the implementation fail on two levels. First, accessing it is somewhat arbitrary -- you can get to it by pressing the phone's hardware search button, but not always.

Apps can override that key's functionality People, Maps, and Marketplace all do this, just to name a few , but if they don't, you fall through to Bing -- so there are times when you really have no idea what's going to happen when you press that button.

Secondly, the Bing app isn't a universal search, and that's a huge misstep in an age when smartphone users can easily have fifty or more apps and thousands contacts and tracks of music installed.

Third-party apps A modern smartphone lives or dies on the quality of its third-party apps, and Microsoft has made a big investment both philosophically and financially in its developer pool.

Certainly some of the launch partner names that have been dropped are impressive, so our expectations for decent third-party titles have been reasonably high.

Unfortunately, we have to report that Microsoft has a serious third-party issue on its hands right now given the software we've seen.

In almost every application we used besides some of the Xbox Live titles, there were major problems with either loading, rendering, navigation, or stability.

Even from respected app-makers like Seesmic, the results seemed second rate in comparison to same applications on other platforms.

First, there are basic problems with the way in which Microsoft allows developers to use the WP7 platform. Because there's no multitasking here, not only do apps not run in the background, but they can't even sustain themselves during a screen lock.

This would be fine if the applications had an instant save state that they woke up from, but they don't.

Instead, no matter what you do, you have to reload the app all over again. This is incredibly frustrating, as app load times on the platform are somewhat lengthy for most of the third-party titles we tested.

In particular, Seesmic and Twitter which is still in beta were nearly unusable in their current states, thanks to a combination of slow loading times, no backgrounding or save states, and a very buggy scrolling mechanism.

Actually, the scrolling issues we saw in those apps were present in almost every application that had any decently long list of information.

For some reason -- and we think the Silverlight layer may be involved -- the scrolling and screen navigation of third-party apps is totally different than the native implementation.

Email scrolls smooth and jumps quickly to your touch, whereas applications like Seesmic or any of the news readers we tested have freezes, blanked out information, and a general feeling of not "being there.

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Top free apps Show all. WhatsDirect Rated 4 out of 5 stars. Telegram Messenger Rated 4 out of 5 stars. The spotlight panel features a large list of gaming options that Microsoft wants to promote, but tapping on the links take us into a link on IE From there you can click on another link that will take you into the Windows Phone Store, but we have a hard time understanding why we need to be routed into the browser.

We'd rather be taken either directly into the Store or at least a page within the Hub that loads faster and shows your options in an efficient manner.

Take the middleman out of it. We've been talking about the Windows Phone Store quite a bit throughout this review, and until now, we haven't actually discussed that it is, in fact, the rebranded Windows Phone Marketplace.

On the outside, nothing sticks out like a sore thumb; the renovations here are mostly of the behind-the-scenes sort.

For starters, the revamped market is now powered by Bing Search, something that Microsoft says will bring you more relevant results and recommendations -- it now takes ratings into consideration when pulling up search results, as well as the rate of uninstalls and crashes.

Additionally, the Store now offers in-app purchases and multiple methods for you to pay up. As a side note, any WP7.

Every major update to Windows Phone so far has included a bump up to the next version of Internet Explorer. Again, you're not going to see many new UI elements here, as most of the improvements are taking place underneath -- this new iteration promises higher efficiency, faster rendering time, hardware-accelerated graphics and twice as much HTML5 support as IE9.

Does it work as promised? Running side by side against Mango-powered phones, it was clearly much faster.

That's the fastest time we've recorded on a mobile device, though not by much -- it barely beat out the iPhone 5's score of ms.

We'll admit that Enterprise isn't a huge area of coverage for us, and we typically refrain from going into excruciating detail in that area. One feature designed for the Enterprise, however, is actually too clever for us to simply shun.

WP8 includes support for special private hubs that can only be accessed by employees or IT professionals. Known aptly as Company Hub, this is a place set aside for companies to offer news, calendars, notes and employee-specific apps that can't and shouldn't be accessible via the public Windows Phone Store.

These types of apps have been available for iOS and Android for quite some time, but we enjoy the idea of each employee having a one-stop shop on their phone for all of their pertinent information, rather than having to sideload everything they need.

Any of our readers who have given Windows Phone a chance over the last two years likely have seen that Google and Microsoft haven't played well -- at least, not when it comes to the latter's mobile OS.

This means that you don't have any native apps for Gmail, Reader, Voice, Talk or the vast multitude of other services. Third-party apps are available to help cover this gaping hole, but most of them aren't up to par with the experience Android users have on their devices.

Good luck getting privately shared calendars to show up -- our various methods didn't turn up a way to do it. Our regular Google Calendar and publicly shared calendars worked just fine.

Heck, even the web view for its services most of which look great on iOS appear the same way you'd expect it to show up on your kid's prepaid featurephone: slow, unintuitive and frustrating.

Indeed, Windows Phone -- despite its various improvements -- still lacks a punch in this area, which makes it a tough sell for Android fans to move over.

With the exception of a few new features, Windows Phone hadn't changed much in the last two years. The new version of its OS, however, definitely makes the platform feel more refined and even brings back some of the freshness we originally felt when we first laid eyes on the firmware.

We demanded support for hardware that's relevant to today's market, and Microsoft brought it; we wanted more app integration and customization, and it's now much improved over WP7.

Indeed, Windows Phone 8 is precisely what we wanted to see come out of Redmond in the first place. There's only one major question mark still looming over its head now; how will developers respond to it?

In , an OS is only as strong as its ecosystem, and regardless of Microsoft's best efforts to sell the platform to big-name developers and even amassing over , apps to date , it's been an ongoing struggle for Windows Phone to appear relevant enough to attract popular titles.

What the new firmware has, however, is much more potential than WP7 ever had; Microsoft has finally laid the proper framework to make the platform desirable to developers.

We'll also likely see a large number of Windows 8 customers eventually drawn to Microsoft's phone OS as they begin investing time and money in the desktop or tablet versions.

Let there be no doubt -- Windows Phone 8 is a definite improvement over its predecessor, and it's long overdue.

In general, we like what we see, and users and developers have been eagerly awaiting this update ever since the Windows Phone platform first launched.

It's still far from perfect, but Microsoft has finally caught up in many ways to its competitors and come up with some clever new features in the process , and by doing so, the momentum is now in its court.

If Microsoft loses that momentum in the near future, however, we have a hard time seeing its OS recovering from it. Windows Phone 8 is a tremendous improvement over its predecessor, but it remains to be seen if developers are ready to hop on to the platform.

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