When I stopped using Windows Mobile as my primary device several years ago, I embarked upon a brave new world of mobile technology. Since that time, I tested, used, and reviewed a myriad of devices and operating systems, including Symbian, WebOS, Android, iOS, and even more Windows Mobile devices. My favorite so far? WebOS, by far, was my favorite mobile operating system (though Palm/HP grossly underpowered the hardware it paired with the OS). Today, I finally received the device for which I have been waiting, the CDMA version of Windows Phone 7 from Sprint and HTC, the Arrive. Disclaimer No. 1: My brother works on the Windows Phone 7 team at Microsoft. Let’s go ahead and get this device out of the box and take a quick first look.
Turn on the phone and you are immediately taken to the start screen, which is the highlight of Windows Phone 7. In this space, you can pin links to your contacts, apps, services, pretty much anything you want. Just swipe across for the main screen, which is reminiscent of the Zune’s main screen. This gives you access to all of your apps and services. I was really impressed by this interface, which allows you to customize the device to meet your needs, while avoiding overcomplicating, which is a problem I have had in the past with android and previous versions of Windows Mobile.
What I really liked was the job HTC did with the hardware. One of my complaints in the past with Windows Mobile phones has been the abundance of unnecessary controls. Only three buttons adorn the face of this device (back, start, and search). There is also a hard volume rocker on the left and a camera button on the right. That about covers it.
The main attraction on this phone, which sets it apart from other Windows Phone 7 devices, is the sliding keyboard. I am pretty sure I have said this before, but I really hate typing more than a word or two with an onscreen keyboard. So, I was thrilled by the sliding keyboard. Like the HTC Tilt series, the screen tilts slightly as it opens. This makes a better angle for typing, and also locks the screen securely when it is open.
It has only been a few hours, but so far I am extremely impressed by both the hardware and the interface on this device. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be taking this device through its paces and providing you with all of my thoughts. As an aside, although Sprint sent a review unit, I will be purchasing my own Arrive next week, so my review will be based on both devices. Stay tuned for more…