The first Windows 7 Phone apps were unveiled today, and damn they look good. On first glance these apps look like potential iPhone killers. I know that is a big statement, but I genuinely believe Microsoft is back in the game.
The phone itself will run a tiled interface, almost a cross between the app screens on the iPhone and the app elements on the Android. The big difference on the Windows 7 phone is that the tiles are live – they can show you content even while they sit there.
Another conference. “Great.”
This one’s different, trust us. Our new event for New York is focused on quality, not quantity.
So, we have some screen shots to show you after the break, just a handful of examples demonstrated today. Check them out, they look pretty fine.
Before we go on, a small note about the apps. These are all development apps at this time. The images and details have been presented and released by Microsoft but most of us won’t be able to get our hands on these in the short-term. There is a strong chance that these apps will improve before full launch. From these initial examples the future looks very bright for Windows Phone 7 apps.
You will note on all of these example, the three buttons at the bottom of the phone. These are the standard buttons that work across the phone, namely back, search and home – the same functions as found on the Android phones.
You may have seen the reference to ‘panoramic design’ in our previous post. This actually means that apps are not restricted by screen size but are instead created to allow you to move around or zoom into the app when you need to. This enables the app to be much ‘bigger’ and makes for a great interface and user experience. Breaking free of the screen size restrictions could also be a great foil for Android which struggles to deliver a uniform experience due to the large range of handsets and screen sizes.
This example from AP demonstrates the scale an app can achieve. This app is wide with the ability for the user to zoom into the particular bit they wish to focus on.
The combination of location services and Bing maps integration is demonstrated in this app from foursquare.
Admittedly this screen shot does look like a flat map but the live demonstration shows the map as an active function which will focus in on the last known location of your friend.
The map can be manipulated to go anywhere, or zoom in so you can move around to see other friends nearby indicated as pins on the map. A direction feature also allows you to find the best route to hook up with your friends should you wish to.
This location feature was also demonstrated on the new Seesmic app.
Silverlight is creating a reputation for great graphics abilities which are extended to the phone.
Hardware acceleration also means the graphics are not only beautiful and crisp but also stand up to deep zooming.
The two examples here are from an Xbox game (played on the phone = awesome) and Graphic.ly – an online comic store and comic ‘book’ application.
Excellent graphics are really going to be one of the key’s to Phone 7’s take up. I personally believe that all these shots look great and flow easily which will be an important first battle ground when competing with the iPhone.
Shazam is here, making use of the mic. No real revelations here, slightly different graphics but the same old Shazam.
With the launch of a free Silverlight app tool kit today, no doubt we will see more apps developed to make use of the microphone.
The iPhone Killer?
Every one of these apps looks great. With the iPhone trading off its looks for much of its promotional work, I believe that Microsoft has developed something that looks just as good, if not better.
The functionality demonstrated on these apps also shows huge potential for the phone. Couple this with a direct extension of existing Silverlight developments into the phone and pro-active developer support this could really upset the market.
What do you think? Has this got potential?
Read next: First Look: Windows Phone 7 Apps