As promised, here is the second part of our Windows Phone 7 preview. This time around, we focus on the more entertaining features the platform has to offer, including the music and video, photos, and Web browsing. For more on the user interface and core functions, check out part 1 of our Windows Phone 7 preview.
Web browser Mobile Web is such a huge part of smartphones nowadays, and fortunately, Windows Phone 7 provides a relatively good browsing experience, certainly much improved from Windows Mobile. The Internet Explorer browser offers support for up to six windows and thumbnail views of all open pages, so you can easily toggle back and forth. You can also bookmark sites, and if you feel like it, you can pin pages to the Start screen for easier access.
Load times were relatively quick. Over AT&T's 3G network, CNET's full site came up in 18 seconds, while CNN's and ESPN's mobile sites loaded in 8 seconds and 7 seconds, respectively. In the settings menu, you can indicate whether you want the browser to display mobile or desktop versions of a site. When set to the former, the browser was able to detect and load mobile versions of pages in most cases, but also missed some. For example, CNET's mobile site loaded, but we got the full New York Times page.
Zooming can be handled either by using the pinch-to-zoom gesture or by double-tapping the screen. Both are smooth and zippy, but there's a slight delay when rerendering text and images. Other available tools and settings include keyword search, the ability to share links, and page suggestions by Bing.
Now, for the bad news. As of right now, there's no support for Flash, Silverlight, or HTML5, so despite taking several steps forward, Windows Phone 7's also several steps behind the competitors. There's some consolation in the fact that Adobe did say at Mobile World Congress that it's working with Microsoft to bring Flash to the browser, but it just won't be in time for the holiday launch.
Music and video If there's one area where Windows Phone 7 really excels and gives the competition a run for its money, it's the music experience.… Read more