At first glance, it seems to have turned its back on the business community that was its chief source of custom. This is a consumer-focused system, full of stylish effects and non-business aspects like social networking apps and video playback. It divides the phone into six hubs and only one of them (called Office) is business-oriented. In fact one, Xbox Live, is dedicated to gaming so is definitely not a productivity tool.
But the more you explore, the better Windows Phone 7 appears, business-wise. There are the small touches, like finding your way to a meeting. Touch the calendar, press the address of the meeting and the phone recognises it and takes you to a map, zooming in so that when you’re at street level it shows you a satellite photo to help you spot the building. Better still, if you’ve been delayed, one touch on the Late button in the calendar creates an SMS or email with text to warn your colleagues you’re not going to be on time. This is neat, though it remains to be seen if it subliminally encourages tardiness.
There is one major flaw, frankly all that holds it back from a fifth star: the Office hub includes versions of Word and Excel, which is great, but there’s no cut and paste facility. Given that it’s best to minimise typing on a phone’s virtual keyboard, the lack of a feature to move a paragraph up a page, say, is annoying. Microsoft promised that an update will fix this, but it won't arrive until next year, so if you plan to work on documents a lot, it may be worth holding back.
Although there are half a dozen phones available at launch, there is much uniformity between them. Microsoft has insisted on specifications including screen resolution, processor speed and other features.
I’d choose one of the three HTC handsets: the Mozart has a great unibody casing and the large-screened HD7 is a worthy successor to HTC’s HD2, reviewed here in the past. Though not perfect, Windows Phone 7 is different and exciting, it looks fresh and is easy to use. And once cut and paste is working it will be a sensational business tool.