Few things have excited me as much over the last few months than the work that Microsoft has done to create Windows Phone 7 (WP7), and the news that came in last Friday announcing that they have teamed up with Nokia (or Nokia has teamed up with them, or both!) brings me yet more joy.
My enthusiasm comes from two points of view:
The excellent user interface. Abandoned (finally!) is the attempt to make the phone interface look like a Windows desktop. The WP7 interface is different, engaging, and pseudo three-dimensional. As the owner of the US-edition of a Zune HD player, I had an early access to the new look and I absolutely loved it from day one. The reason is that your mind can get used to the many options across the various screens quickly because the 3D-esque interface acts either as a turning page or as a zoom-in to each lower level / zoom-out to each higher level. I never lose sense of where I am. It looks good, too.
The joy of programming it! Sometimes I pull my hair out when I’m programming in Apple’s Objective-C (the iPhone’s computer language) and have to set running special ‘objects’ just to join two text strings together. Microsoft’s C# (Java-like) language for the variant of the .Net Framework for WP7 is just set at the perfect level – “high enough” to cope with coding I don’t need to think about (e.g. joining two text strings together by simply coding “text string 1” + “text string 2”) but “low enough” to get down and dirty with efficient algorithm programming when needed. I code all my R&D projects in C#/.Net – and the Tesco API is coded end-to-end in it. Its reliability and performance is astounding.
So why my additional joy at Nokia joining the party? Simple: I think Nokia make the most reliable hardware – honed and tuned from years of skill and experience. My Nokia phones could be dropped, sat on, thrown about and they still work to this day. I think they still make the best looking hardware as well – I still have the gorgeous Nokia 8110 slide-phone as seen in the movie The Matrix – and it still works wonderfully albeit on only GSM 900 networks (O2 / Tesco and Vodafone in the UK) despite its heavy use in its day, and a few years left on the shelf with its battery still connected.
So, bring Microsoft and Nokia together and… well I better start saving up ‘cos I’m going to be first in the queue.