Charles Arthur 

The Technology newsbucket: Windows Phone 7 reviews, Walkman dies and more

Plus Nokia insights, Home Office on IMP, iPad sales failure and more

Windows Phone 7 home screen. Photo by viskas on Flickr. Some rights reserved

A quick burst of 10 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology team

Windows Phone 7 review >> Engadget
"We do have to question whether a long list of tiles and a long list of applications is superior to a grid (as seen in webOS, iOS, and Android). Honestly, scrolling down a long alphabetical list to find what you're looking for here isn't much easier than paging through a grid. And unlike iOS, webOS, Android, and even BlackBerry 6, there's no universal search option here to help you quickly find what you want. That's one thing we didn't expect to find ourselves missing, but became very noticeable very quickly. There's also only one homescreen and customization space is limited by the tile layout, so you end up scrolling vertically to find the right hub or app there too -- contrast that to Android, iOS, or BlackBerry, where you can arrange multiple home screens at will and quickly develop an organized workflow. We'd like to see options for three- or four-row tile rows at the very least -- it would go a long way towards making the homescreen more efficient."

Windows Phone 7 review >>
Though they note that you could face problems if you download a ton of apps, "From what we've seen, Windows Phone 7 will be a huge success for Microsoft. Although Apple's strategy and device offerings are solid, we fully expect Windows Phone 7 to eat into Android sales and recover its lost market share."

Windows Phone 7 Review: Ladies and Gentlemen, We Have Ourselves a Race >> Gizmodo
Though its "Don't Like" list is a lot longer than its "Like" list, and it's not what you'd call in-depth.

Starting Over: The Windows Phone 7 Review >> PCWorld
"There are little animations everywhere, like flying dots that indicate that data is being downloaded. It combines blocky shapes, primary colors, and Bing-like photo backdrops. In screen shots, the interface can look downright peculiar, but it all adds up to a pleasant experience that meets the most important test of all: You can figure out about 90% of it within minutes of picking the phone up." Also points out strengths and weaknesses with Zune Music and apps.

Review: Windows Phone 7 Novel but Lacking >> Walt Mossberg
"I couldn't find a killer innovation that would be likely to make iPhone or Android users envious, except possibly for dedicated Xbox users. Even the built-in Office can be replicated with third-party Office-compatible apps on competing platforms; and the iPhone and Android phones also can interoperate with Microsoft's corporate Exchange email, calendar and contact system.
"So for now, I see Windows Phone 7 as mostly getting Microsoft into the game, and replacing the stale, complicated Windows Mobile system that preceded it. It will get better."

Microsoft Windows Phone 7 review >> TechRadar UK
Thorough (10-page) review, which sits on the fence about the UI's long-term potential. "The problem is that there are already other strong smartphone platforms on the market – Windows Phone 7 doesn't beat them hands down but it's a strong challenger that's only going to get better".

End Of An Era: Sony Stops Manufacturing Cassette Walkmans
The first went on sale in July 1979. "Sony says that they managed to sell over 400 million Walkmans worldwide until March 2010, and exactly 200,020,000 of those were cassette-based models." Sony will of course keep on making CD and MiniDisc Walkmans.
Interesting fact: Apple has sold 277m iPods since 2001. Which must say something about the analogue v digital ages.

Nokia's moderate-intelligence-phone performance >> Asymco
"Half of Nokia's smarpthones are sold through distributors not operators and probably end up being sold unlocked and unsubsidized. Price matters in those markets.
"The other problem that Nokia takes a beating over is that their products don't get used as smartphones. Many are sold without data plans at all which makes one wonder what exactly makes their phones "smart". So many of these 100+ million/yr. smartphones are really hired to do a feature phone job. They're "overqualified" and thus underutilized. The statistics in terms of app downloads, browser and ad impressions all lag as a result. The ecosystem suffers."

Home Office respond on Intercept Modernisation Programme - sort of (Dec 2008) >> Open Rights Group
"The Home Office have sent back a deeply disappointing response to our Freedom of Information request about the Intercept Modernisation Programme. The response reveals almost nothing about alleged proposals to build a giant database of the communications traffic data of all UK citizens, even though the Home Office admit the need for an informed public debate on the scheme."

Analysts predict iPad sales (part IV) >> Asymco
Horace Dedlu points out that analysts got the numbers for the iPad significantly wrong, for the most part. (My forecast: sales of 5m in the first 9 months or so, which actually puts me up there among the better analysts, but well short of reality.

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