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Topic # 80089 26-Mar-2011 11:46 Send private message

I'm probably sticking my head into a hornets nest here but here goes. 

The reason for this post is that I am a Nokia owner and probably likely to buy another Nokia as my next phone.  Phone 7 is possibly going to be the operating system for that phone. I like Nokia as they build good handsets and their OS has been to date, reliable, very functional, requires minimal computing power and gives good battery life. 

With the recent announcement that Nokia will be phasing out Symbian in favour of Phone 7 for its high end smart phones I decided to see what comparisions there were between these two operating systems.

All of the comparisions I could find show Phone 7 running a very distant second to Symbian 3.  Sure there are promises of updates to bridge some of the gaps but there seems to be some way to go before Phone 7 gets close to matching Symbians functionality.

I'm talking a out things like, tethering, bluetooth functionality, USB mass storage, multi tasking, file manager, VOIP, video calling, etc.

I understand there is no provision to sync PIM files to your desktop and there's issues transferring files like Word and Excel to and from a Phone 7 device.  These are big downsides in my opinion.

Before Nokia can even think about lauching a Phone 7 phone the OS needs to be able to provide most if not all of the functionality that Symbian has otherwise the OS change has been a big waste of time.  

Nokia cannot afford to offer a device with such functionality deficiencies as exist right now with Phone 7.

How long will it take for Phone 7 catch up, in other words how long is it before we are to see a Nokia Phone 7 device?




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  Reply # 452005 26-Mar-2011 11:54 Send private message

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has mentioned that Symbian will be fully phased out by early 2013 so you will still be able to buy a symbian device this year or next but personally I would not buy one knowing that support will end soon and there will be no more developer interest in the platform.

He also mentioned that he would like to see a Nokia WP7 device in the market before the end of 2011 other wise you will see one in early 2012.

Before the end of 2011, WP7 will have Multitasking, Copy and paste, twitter integration in the OS, skydrive integration to sync office and onenote docs, IE9 mobile with HTML5 with full hardware acceleration support and other changes that are yet to be announced which may or may not include API's to provide VOIP and Video services.

You can jailbreak most wp7 device to enable tethering and USB mass storage. I don't use either anyway including video calling and file manager. Officially when this will be provided is unknown to everyone right now.

WP7 supports bluetooth so you don't have to worry about that.

If Nokia will bring all it's maps and imagery services to WP7 by the time it launches it own handset and with all the updates mentioned above that will come to WP7 by end of this year, WP7 will become a very very competitive platform. It's already doing very well in Australia with nearly 5% market share since launch.




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  Reply # 452016 26-Mar-2011 12:05 Send private message




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  Reply # 452080 26-Mar-2011 15:15 Send private message

billgates: Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has mentioned that Symbian will be fully phased out by early 2013 so you will still be able to buy a symbian device this year or next but personally I would not buy one knowing that support will end soon and there will be no more developer interest in the platform.
 
This statement about lack of support and no more developer interest is debunked in the letter to Nokia developers.



billgates: WP7 supports bluetooth so you don't have to worry about that.

There's bluetooth and there's Bluetooth, the information I have read indicates that WP7 doesn't support all the Bluetooth profiles currently support by Symbian, e.g file transfer.



billgates: You can jailbreak most wp7 device to enable tethering and USB mass storage. I don't use either anyway including video calling and file manager. Officially when this will be provided is unknown to everyone right now.
 
I use tethering, USB mass storage and file manager regularly.  I find it crazy that you have to jailbreak a device to get it to do stuff it should do right out of the box. If it can be jailbroken to get it to do it why is it not this way from the factory?



billgates: Before the end of 2011, WP7 will have Multitasking, Copy and paste, twitter integration in the OS, skydrive integration to sync office and onenote docs, IE9 mobile with HTML5 with full hardware acceleration support and other changes that are yet to be announced which may or may not include API's to provide VOIP and Video services.
 
This doesn't tell me when I will be able to sync PIMs to my PC (without resorting to silly work around options using the cloud).  Is PIM to PC syncing likley to ever happen? I see that there is a tremendous amount of flack about this on other forums discussing WP7, and the surprise that Microsft would even contemplate a Mobile OS that did not at least sync with its own PC products.



billgates: If Nokia will bring all it's maps and imagery services to WP7 by the time it launches it own handset and with all the updates mentioned above that will come to WP7 by end of this year, WP7 will become a very very competitive platform.

I don't think it's a case of Nokia bringing this technology to WP7, I think it's more a case of Microsoft being able to intergrate it into WP7.



I know WP7 is new, but it doesn't excuse Microsoft for not having a host of standard functions missing from day one.  Functions that are not new and could reasonably be expected to have been in the launch version of WP7.  It's this and the other failures that Microsft has had with other mobile OS partnerships that makes me wonder when or if WP7 will ever catch up to where Symbian is now.  I don't consider Symbian to be the perfect OS but it is a long ahead of WP7 and in my opinion likely to stay that way for some time.

Others may be able to prove me wrong about WP7 and its future progress.






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  Reply # 452083 26-Mar-2011 15:21 Send private message

Thanks Technofreak.... I was too lazy to debunk the symbian thing :D

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  Reply # 452097 26-Mar-2011 15:42 Send private message

Technofreak:
billgates: Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has mentioned that Symbian will be fully phased out by early 2013 so you will still be able to buy a symbian device this year or next but personally I would not buy one knowing that support will end soon and there will be no more developer interest in the platform.
  This statement about lack of support and no more developer interest is debunked in the letter to Nokia developers.

billgates: WP7 supports bluetooth so you don't have to worry about that.
There's bluetooth and there's Bluetooth, the information I have read indicates that WP7 doesn't support all the Bluetooth profiles currently support by Symbian, e.g file transfer.

billgates: You can jailbreak most wp7 device to enable tethering and USB mass storage. I don't use either anyway including video calling and file manager. Officially when this will be provided is unknown to everyone right now.
  I use tethering, USB mass storage and file manager regularly.  I find it crazy that you have to jailbreak a device to get it to do stuff it should do right out of the box. If it can be jailbroken to get it to do it why is it not this way from the factory?

billgates: Before the end of 2011, WP7 will have Multitasking, Copy and paste, twitter integration in the OS, skydrive integration to sync office and onenote docs, IE9 mobile with HTML5 with full hardware acceleration support and other changes that are yet to be announced which may or may not include API's to provide VOIP and Video services.
  This doesn't tell me when I will be able to sync PIMs to my PC (without resorting to silly work around options using the cloud).  Is PIM to PC syncing likley to ever happen? I see that there is a tremendous amount of flack about this on other forums discussing WP7, and the surprise that Microsft would even contemplate a Mobile OS that did not at least sync with its own PC products.

billgates: If Nokia will bring all it's maps and imagery services to WP7 by the time it launches it own handset and with all the updates mentioned above that will come to WP7 by end of this year, WP7 will become a very very competitive platform.
I don't think it's a case of Nokia bringing this technology to WP7, I think it's more a case of Microsoft being able to intergrate it into WP7.

I know WP7 is new, but it doesn't excuse Microsoft for not having a host of standard functions missing from day one.  Functions that are not new and could reasonably be expected to have been in the launch version of WP7.  It's this and the other failures that Microsft has had with other mobile OS partnerships that makes me wonder when or if WP7 will ever catch up to where Symbian is now.  I don't consider Symbian to be the perfect OS but it is a long ahead of WP7 and in my opinion likely to stay that way for some time.

Others may be able to prove me wrong about WP7 and its future progress.




Well here are 2 questions for you after this long write up.

1. If symbian is so good with all the features that you have mentioned above that WP7 currently lacks or will most prob never get it in it's lifetime like file manager, certain bluetooth profiles aka file transferring then why is Symbian losing marketshare? Windows mobile has more features than any other smartphone OS out there but it's marketshare is declining. why?

Answer - Because it's old generation stuff. People want a simple UI. They don't want to over complicate things. They want something that works. iOS is missing a boat load of features that you are after from wp7 as well but it sells in millions every year. Why? Well some are hardcore fanboys and some want simplicity.

2. If Symbian can be improved upon then why did Nokia drop Symbian and added WP7 instead to it's portfolio? why?

Answer - Because in today's day and age, a BIG ecosystem is needed that travels with you everywhere. PC, Laptop, Mobile, Internet etc

Nokia does not have anything to offer to it's smartphone customers besides symbian and NAVTEQ.

Microsoft, Google and Apple all have their own desktop OS, latest gen smartphone OS, services like Zune and iTunes, Xbox 360, Hotmail, Gmail, Office docs, Google docs, Windows live, mobileme etc

Someone somewhere said it right that android is designed by geeks for geeks and it looks like you are after those geeky features because you like to have total control over your phone. Android may be the OS for you.

WP7 will over time, get more mature and will add some of the featres that you are after but they are making sure that they implement it correctly and have the best possible UI and feature functionality to offer when they do offer it.

Compare iOS (most popular OS right now) to WP7

and find out, how long it took apple to release CDMA support, multitasking, copy and paste, VOIP, Video calling and many other features when people could have bought symbian or windows mobile devices which already had these features. Simplicity, UI, faster response. At least Microsoft is filling the gaps in it's OS quicker than other companies did.

as for developer interest in QT, well an open letter can say whatever it wants, but any QT developer would now want to spend majority of his resources somewhere else. i.e wp7, android or iOS. I would not want to waste my time on a dying platform knowing that it is going to die.








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  Reply # 452117 26-Mar-2011 16:58 Send private message

billgates:

Well here are 2 questions for you after this long write up.

1. If symbian is so good with all the features that you have mentioned above that WP7 currently lacks or will most prob never get it in it's lifetime like file manager, certain bluetooth profiles aka file transferring then why is Symbian losing marketshare? Windows mobile has more features than any other smartphone OS out there but it's marketshare is declining. why?

2. If Symbian can be improved upon then why did Nokia drop Symbian and added WP7 instead to it's portfolio? why?



Bill,

I think you miss my point.  I never said Symbian was perfect just that in my opinion at least it was streets ahead of WP7 right now and likely to stay that way.  Is WP7 ever going to catch up?

I don't consider myself a geek, and therefore by your definition, a person who would only want to use Symbian or Android.  For example the thousands people with WP7 devices complaining about not being able to sync their calendars, contacts etc with their PC don't appear to be geeks either.



As to your questions

Question 1

I would suggest based on current WP7 functionality that Symbian's market share isn't being taken by WP7.  When you have been the biggest player in any market it isn't unusual for your market share to decline as other players enter the market.  Hell even the iPhone has lost major ground to Android.  Hasn't Android over taken iOS?

It doesn't matter how good an OS (or car  or other consumer item for that matter) is there is always those that will want to try something new, and by being new it is different and for many people that difference is enough for it to be better in their eyes.

While Symbian can be improved I see that market share loss as largely (not totally) being part of the market evolution that takes place.



Question 2

Yes, Symbian can be improved upon in fact there have been updates to Symbian 3 since the original version was released.  Symbian 3 was a major step up from earlier versions however I'm not sure that fact is well known.

Why did they go with WP7?  I think you need look no further than Nokia's current CEO and where he came from to answer that question.

Nokia were embarking on the Meego platform (and perhaps still are) which was to be another step up from Symbian.  This platform is still in the market and I believe has been released in a notebook or similar device.  A bit of the intergration you speak of.


billgates: in today's day and age, a BIG ecosystem is needed that travels with you everywhere. PC, Laptop, Mobile, Internet etc
. . . .

. . . . Microsoft, Google and Apple all have their own desktop OS, latest gen smartphone OS, services like Zune and iTunes, Xbox 360, Hotmail, Gmail, Office docs, Google docs, Windows live, mobileme etc



Not sure about the need for a BIG eco system following me around howver if this big ecosystem is so important why did Microsoft not integrate WP7 better with the likes of Outlook.

I have never felt the need for my desktop OS to be the same as my phone.  As for Zune and iTunes for updates and downloads etc can WP7 phones not do updates and app downloads OTA?


Most smart phone owners don't use many of the features on their devices, it's the flashy UI that sells, from what you said you probably agree with this.  A bit like the Remuera tractors that clog our roads. 

How many actually go off road and need all the flash 4WD and traction control gadgetry.  If the truth be known that biggest selling brand is probably the most useless at the 4WD lark but who gives a toss as it looks the bees knees and we'll never use it off road anyway.  However there are a good number of 4WD owners that do need 4WD functionality and therefore don't own a Remuera tractor. They have something functional that can do the job.

I see the iPhone and from you are telling me WP7 devices as being the phone equivalent to the Remuera tractors.  I want someting functional as do I suspect a fairly significant portion of the smart phone population. 





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  Reply # 452131 26-Mar-2011 17:56 Send private message

But Symbian was not perfect from day 1 of it's release. It was built and had more features added over the years. iOS took 4 years before it added all the major features. Android took till v2.2 to add a whole lot of major features too that are important to a whole lot of people. There are still plenty of features missing from all 3 platforms.

If you look at the updates that microsoft has promised before the end of this year and there are plenty of un-announced features that will be revealed later this year, they are delivering a lot more features in short space of time than it took for it's competitors to deliver.

Everyone wants certain features that not all platforms can cater for. Bluetooth file transfer. I can see and know a whole lot of people that transfer MP3 songs to their mate's phone which is illegal. Not to mention security flaws where overwhelming majority never change their default bluetooth password. Anyone that can see the phone from a distance can tap into it and either transfer dodgy files.

Give Microsoft till end 0f 2011 and see what those updates are and what features will be announced over the coming year.

As for Stephen Elop being a Trojan Horse, he has come on camera and explained many times during interviews since the WP7 announcement as to why he went with Microsoft.






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  Reply # 452204 26-Mar-2011 21:15 Send private message

billgates: But Symbian was not perfect from day 1 of it's release. It was built and had more features added over the years. iOS took 4 years before it added all the major features. Android took till v2.2 to add a whole lot of major features too that are important to a whole lot of people. There are still plenty of features missing from all 3 platforms.

Fair comments, BUT, these were these platforms were pretty much the entry for these manufacturers into the smartphone arena so development is not unexpected.  Microsoft has been in the game of smart phone OS for sometime now, they should have been able to do better with WP7 at launch.

If we use the automotive industry as a comparision.  Years ago things like radios and air con were not the norm, more recently air bags and ABS, however they are all standard items now.  Imagine what the reaction would be if Toyota or Ford were to announce a new model which didn't have things like a radio, air con, air bags or ABS as standard and used the excuse that is a new model and these things will be added in later versions.



billgates: If you look at the updates that microsoft has promised before the end of this year and there are plenty of un-announced features that will be revealed later this year, they are delivering a lot more features in short space of time than it took for it's competitors to deliver.

I hope for their and Nokia's sake this is true.



billgates: Everyone wants certain features that not all platforms can cater for. Bluetooth file transfer. I can see and know a whole lot of people that transfer MP3 songs to their mate's phone which is illegal.

Since when has Microsoft been the copyright police.  I don't agree with people ripping of copyrights but it no excuse for dumbing down a devices capabilities.



billgates: Not to mention security flaws where overwhelming majority never change their default bluetooth password. Anyone that can see the phone from a distance can tap into it and either transfer dodgy files.

A good case for not allowing dumb people to have smart phones. Laughing

I'm not sure about you assertion about transferring dodgy files, before my phone allows any phone or other device to communicate with it, it has to be paired first and this cannot happen by accident, even if the default password is still set. I have to enter that to complete the pairing process.



billgates: Give Microsoft till end 0f 2011 and see what those updates are and what features will be announced over the coming year.

Yes, I think we need to give them some time to improve things, in fact I'd give them longer than till just the end of this year.  I'd give them 18 months or slightly longer from the announcement.  It will be interesting to see what has happened, how successful WP7 has been for Nokia and Microsoft and whether or not Stephen Elop is still at the helm of Nokia, and what we both will be writing at the end of this time.



billgates: As for Stephen Elop being a Trojan Horse, he has come on camera and explained many times during interviews since the WP7 announcement as to why he went with Microsoft.

What else would you expect him to say.

As I have written previously I am not anti WP7, however I do have my doubts about how good it will be for Nokia.  Hopefully I will be proven wrong.




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  Reply # 452245 26-Mar-2011 23:46 Send private message

why is tethering such a big deal these days? you can pick up laptops with 3g built-in and usb devices are fairly cheap, and prepaid broadband options are not so bad anymore. tethering seems like something you'd do if you had no other choice, not something you would do regularly.




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  Reply # 452285 27-Mar-2011 09:29 Send private message

For some people it means buying a new laptop or getting another usb device to cart about, and another account to manage. For me tethering is ideal for the times I need to access the internet when broadband isn't available.




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  Reply # 452287 27-Mar-2011 09:42 Send private message

It's not like USB modems are huge heavy things. With the advantage of not going through your phone's battery. And if you tell me you have to carry a cell phone charger, then you carting things around already.

There are plenty good arguments from both side here. But it won't change the fact that there are too many players around, and Symbian wasn't making any big numbers in the market.

Most people buying Symbian smartphones don't even know they were smartphones... They most likely see these are great camera phones, or good media players.

Joining Microsoft is good for both sides. Microsoft gets to partner a hardware manufacturer that is present almost everywhere, while Nokia gets some serious software infrastructure.

There are options out there. Android, iOS, Bada, Web OS.

No, I am not saying Windows Phone 7 is the best. It's actually bad stuff. So much just worked on Windows Mobile 6.5 and before, and now it's just a dumbed down UI with locked app ecosystem. But that's what Apple thought the world...









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  Reply # 452360 27-Mar-2011 12:15 Send private message


 freitasm: It's not like USB modems are huge heavy things. With the advantage of not going through your phone's battery. And if you tell me you have to carry a cell phone charger, then you carting things around already.
 

I'm going to be carrying around my phone charger anyway if I'm away for more than a day, which is when I'm use tethering, plus quite a few phones charge off the USB cable so it's charging while you're tethered.



freitasm: There are plenty good arguments from both side here. But it won't change the fact that there are too many players around, and Symbian wasn't making any big numbers in the market.


I agree about the good arguements on both sides, it is almost impossible for an OS to be all things to all people.  Perhaps there were too many players but I don't buy the argument about Symbian not making big numbers in the market.  The only market where Nokia/Symbian hasn't been big is the US and I have a theory on why that is and a partnership with Microsoft isn't necessarily going to fix that problem.


 
freitasm: Most people buying Symbian smartphones don't even know they were smartphones... They most likely see these are great camera phones, or good media players..


Agree entirely, and would go as far as saying that most people not buying Symbian don't know they are smart phones either.  Nokia have been in the smart phone business for some time now that it's almost old hat, they don't get all the hyped media attention of some of the newcomers as they have been quietly doing it for long before these new guys came along. Thery are not being noticed.  Is a switch to another OS going to fix this issue?


 
freitasm: Joining Microsoft is good for both sides. Microsoft gets to partner a hardware manufacturer that is present almost everywhere, while Nokia gets some serious software infrastructure.

There are options out there. Android, iOS, Bada, Web OS.

No, I am not saying Windows Phone 7 is the best. It's actually bad stuff. So much just worked on Windows Mobile 6.5 and before, and now it's just a dumbed down UI with locked app ecosystem. But that's what Apple thought the world...
 


To me your first sentence about serious software infrastructure is negated by your last statement about how dumbed down WP7 is.  I agree to some extent with both statements more so your last one, and that's what really concerns me with the WP7 option that Nokia has chosen.  Going back to your earlier statement about there being too many players, based on you last statement there a good case for saying that WP7 should be the one to disappear.

The other option that's being promoted by Nokia is the Meego platform with a new handset running this due this year,  Apps developed on QT for Symbian will also run on Meego and probably vice versa so there is goping to be development that will support Symbian for some time yet for those that have Symbian phones.  Are Nokia backing another horse in case WP7 fails to deliver?




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  Reply # 452391 27-Mar-2011 13:50 Send private message

From what I'm hearing there is a lot more coming to Windows Phone - and many of your concerns will be addressed within the next 12 months or so.

But I also questions how many typical users will actually share your concerns once they've had Windows Phone for a week or two. Right now though I'm very happy with my Windows Phone 7 handset and I'm finding the same from all those I know using one.

For me the experience using all of the core WP7 functions heavily outweighs the occasional benefits of the features of the things you mention - tethering, bluetooth functionality, USB mass storage, multi tasking, file manager, VOIP and video calling.

If I ask myself which of these things I seriously miss in a major way its none of them! Yes, I'm a technical user, but probably most of what I use my phone for is the same as for many average users. I'll address each one below when compared to my previous handset:

- Tethering: I used tethering a couple of times a year - I haven't missed it yet
- Bluetooth functionality: Does exactly what I need it to do on Windows Phone (and is easier to make use of than on previous phones)
- USB mass storage: I don't need this
- Multi Tasking: This works perfect where I need it (Email, Toast Notifications for Twitter and so on, Calling, SMS, etc). I don't need any more multitasking than this
- File Manager: Like most users I don't need this
- VOIP: I haven't found VOIP to be great on mobiles so don't need this now - would love a perfect implementation in the future
- Video Calling: I haven't any need for this currently, again that may change in the future

I've never considered these so called short comings of Windows Phone 7 before in such detail - but now I look at them I realise that for the majority of smart phone users they pale in comparison to the benefits that WP7 brings as an intuitive, stable and wonderful to use smartphone (with decent battery life too). And from a business perspective (which is the space I work in) Windows Phone's reliability and consistency connecting to Exchange Server is second to none.

The nice thing is as Mauricio states - there is choice in this market segment and if you need something different then take a look at what an iPhone or Android handset has to offer. They are both pretty awesome also - though each in different ways.






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  Reply # 452447 27-Mar-2011 16:18 Send private message

Paul,

Point taken with the things you mention, and also the promised improvements to WP7.

Perhaps I have different requirement to many smart phone users.  I get about a lot for my work, probably more than most however most of the time carrying a laptop isn't practical however I do have access to desktops in a lot of places I go.  I do spend about 5 nights a month away from home and often have access to free WiFi.

I use by cellphone as my mobile laptop and also carry files on it like you might a USB stick for use on the desktops I have access to hence the mass storage requirement. The free Wifi means being able to use Skype to save my mobile minutes, this is valuable to me, and, Yes, Skype works well on my mobile.

I don't often need to use my laptop where there is no free internet access but when I do tethering is invaluable, as it saves paying extortionate motel/hotel braodband rates. Having a 3G USB dongle really doesn't make sense for me.

However right now the biggie for me with WP7 is the lack of being able to sync PIM's (calendars and notes) with my PC.  Also I understand that you cannot transfer documents between your PC and phone.

Perhaps the bluetooth profiles that WP7 had may be sufficient.  I understand that there are some limitations with WP7 and having seen bluetooth capable phones that were severly limited in what they could do with bluetooth I am a bit gun shy on that score.

Perhaps in a year or so time I will be like you and singing the praises of WP7, but as it is right now??????




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  Reply # 452452 27-Mar-2011 16:40 Send private message

I understand where you're coming from. And I know it's not ideal having to give up any features you've had before - and changing the way you work isn't something we usually get excited about.

Regarding what you mention is biggie for you - synching PIM content (calendar and notes). That's actually an area where I was pleasantly surprised at how much better Windows Phone 7 is compared to any other solution I've tried such as the iPhone and iPad.

The big thing is that you need to store this data on a server or in the cloud. For a long time I've recommended to people having this information stored on a server (or the cloud) as it's just so much safer. Windows Phone 7 doesn't change that recommendation - but it does make accessing it much easier than ever before.

Calendar Access: You don't want to lose this stuff so store it centrally. If it's a business calendar most likely it's stored on an Exchange Server already. If it's not then I suggest picking Hotmail (or Gmail) as it has nice calendar capabilities now. Windows Phone 7 does a tidy job of showing appointments from multiple sources in one colour coded view - so you can have for instance your Exchange/work appointments (in say blue) next to your Hotmail/personal appoints (in say red).

Notes: I use the bundled OneNote application for all note taking and it is fantastic. It's synchronisation to the cloud is fantastic. I don't bother with 'Notes' from Outlook which I used in years gone as this is much better and I can also access the same content via any web browser or through the Office OneNote application on my Laptop.

As you're looking particularly at a Nokia based Windows Phone I suggest you wait until Nokia release there first handsets before spending too much more time worrying about what you might not like. I think Nokia understand their users will want a step up and not a step down from Symbian - so Nokia will have negotiated hard with Microsoft on the addition of new features in the 'Mango' update (and beyond).




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