Windows Phone 7 is the newest smartphone platform on the block. Stepping into a market that’s already filled with cut-throat competition from the likes of Apple iOS and Google Android, definitely demands great mettle. And the new Microsoft platform does seem to possess a set of unique features that can make it stand out in the crowd.

Graphical Homescreen

windows phone 7The WP7 homescreen design is completely novel in the smartphone world. There are hubs or tiles, that can be tapped to access various apps and features. These tiles are similar to the icons seen on the Android homescreens. For example, there are tiles called ‘People’ for contacts; ‘Music + Video’ for multimedia; ‘Office’ for mobilised MS Office tools; ‘Pictures’ for the gallery; ‘Games’ and more. Users can as well add hubs of frequently used apps or important contacts, on the homescreen. These hubs, can either be squares or rectangles. They display live information. The Texts hub for example, will display the number of unread messages.

The user can add as many hubs as needed, and even re-arrange them according to convenience. There seems to be no limit to the number of tiles that can be had on the home screen. One downside to this could be – the great deal of scrolling that needs to be done, in-order to reach a hub that’s located way down on the screen. But otherwise, the graphical representation of the various apps and tools can make the smartphone experience, more lively.

Xbox Integration

xbox live windows phone 7Windows Phone 7 is closely knitted with Xbox Live. For the first time, users will be able to play Xbox games directly from a smartphone console – the Windows Phone 7 phones. Even multi-player games can be played, with other players who might be using their PCs/laptops/Xbox-consoles. The users will also be able to see their avatar, their game scores, the games they’ve downloaded, invites from friends and more. Whatever games the users play, or changes made to the Xbox settings, on their smartphones, will reflect on their Xbox consoles as well.

MicroSD card support

MicroSD card support is handled in a very different manner in Windows Phone 7 phones, when compared to other regular smartphones. A few WP7 phones come with microSD card slots. Microsoft mentions that a special kind of SD card needs to be used in these phones. When the card is inserted and the phone is set up for the first time, the underlying WP7 software perceives the internal (built-in) memory and the microSD memory as a single entity. It does not make any differentiation between the two. It is thus not possible to determine whether a particular file stored in the phone, is present in the internal memory or in the microSD card. In other words, the inserted SD card becomes tied-up with the handset. It cannot be removed when the phone is powered on. In case a user does so, the phone will pose problems and will need to be hard reset.

While the features mentioned above are unique to Windows Phone 7, most of its other features like multi-touch ability, web browsing, multi-tasking, multimedia, cloud based computation, online applications store and search feature, are quite similar to the way the other mobile platforms implement them.

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