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What Windows Phone 7 doesn't have becomes a hot topic

Some say Microsoft just needs time to get things right

July 26, 2010 06:00 AM ET

Computerworld - The list of features missing in Windows Phone 7 -- no multitasking of third-party applications, no copy-and-paste, no native Twitter client -- has dominated forums and early reviews of reference hardware phones put in the hands of 1,000 developers last week.

Clearly, the pressure is on Microsoft to produce a stellar package for WP7, which will be on smartphones shipping this fall for the holiday shopping season. After what many in the industry saw as the collapse of Windows Mobile 6x -- coupled with the death of Microsoft Kin phones -- WP7 is seen as a do-over for Microsoft. And some believe WP7 should have more and better features than other smartphones, not fewer.

One exhaustive review of the Samsung Taylor by Engadget cited the lack of copy-and-paste or third-party multitasking as "two big omissions," even though Engadget called WP7's overall user interface "the most unique UI out there." The site went on to praise the touch screen keyboard and the responsiveness and speed of the software's touch capabilities.

The lack of multitasking means that the music player Pandora and similar applications will go into pause mode when in the background, meaning a user can't browse the Web or type an e-mail with Pandora running. But music can be played in the background using Microsoft's Zune music player.

Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Windows Phone, said in an Engadget video interview that multitasking for third-party apps will come from Microsoft "at some point." He said that WP7 is "like a new Version 1" for the company. New and different features in the UI include the concept of "tiles" and "hubs" for organizing data according to "people" or "music and video."

Some developers on Windows Phone 7 Web forums who have bashed the lack of multitasking since March picked up last week on the lack of copy-and-paste. Not having that capability "is a pretty big deal," wrote "joethecoder" on July 20. "[I am] not a big iPhone fan, but its copy and paste is really good and my Palm Pre works for text in e-mails and documents."

A comment by "Trees" noted that copy-and-paste is "quite handy and well done on iPhone. I use it plenty and it's going to matter, particularly if using Office apps is relevant." Adding the feature should be a "simple problem to solve," and while not having it isn't a "show stopper," having it would "win hearts," Trees wrote.



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