iPhone

Nokia Lumia 900: A review for business professionals

Windows Phone 7 has truly arrived with the launch of the Nokia Lumia 900. Here is TechRepublic's review from a business and IT perspective.

Photo credit: Nokia

With the arrival of the Nokia Lumia 900, Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 has pulled even with Android and iPhone in many ways, as I'll explain. Of course, the big question is whether that will be enough to siphon users away from Android and iPhone or get new smartphone customers to choose it over Android or iPhone devices.

I'm going to do my best to answer that question for business professionals.

Hands-on with the Lumia 900

When I first got my hands on the Nokia Lumia 900 in a conference room at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, I almost immediately had the impression that it felt like it could become a winner. I had liked its little brother, the Lumia 800, but it felt incomplete and wasn't on the same level as the best smartphones -- yet. However, the big brother, Lumia 900, looked and felt like it could go toe-to-toe with the top mobile contenders.

Now that I've been able to put the final product through its paces and use it alongside the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx, and the Apple iPhone 4S -- the three devices I consider the best phones on the market at the moment -- I have no hesitation in putting the Lumia 900 in the same class with those heavyweights. Again, keep in mind, that I'm evaluating it from the perspective of professionals who are going to be using the device to get work done, and only occasionally using it for entertainment.

Let's start by talking about the display, since smartphone users spend a lot of time looking at it and it determines a lot about the overall experience with the device (not to mention its impact on battery life). The iPhone 4S has the best display on the market, although it's a little small for some people at 3.5 inches. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus isn't quite as smooth and colorful but it's close, and it's much larger (4.65 inches). The way the average user can notice the quality of both of these screens (and see why they are head-and-shoulders above almost every other phone) is when viewing text such as a web page. The edges of the text are completely smooth. It doesn't look like a computer screen. It looks like something printed out on a laser printer. The Lumia 900 has the same effect.

The other thing that is impressive about the Lumia 900's display is that when you swipe up and down to scroll on a page such as a web page, it doesn't hardly refresh at all. It smoothly and instantly scrolls up. This gets to the performance issue. While the Lumia 900 doesn't have the world's most powerful hardware -- my colleague Bill Detwiler has the full hardware analysis -- I never ran into any performance issues with the Lumia 900. It felt every bit as fast as the iPhone 4S and the Galaxy Nexus. In other words, I was rarely ever sitting around waiting for it to complete a task.

This is significant because the Lumia 900 is the first Windows Phone 7 device on a really nice piece of hardware. All of the first fleet of Windows Phone 7 devices were essentially running on last-generation Android hardware from Samsung and HTC, which both saved their best hardware for Android devices during 2011. That's why Microsoft made its billion dollar deal with Nokia to get the Finnish phone maker to exclusively build smartphones running Windows Phone 7. It took almost a year, but with the Lumia 900, the deal is paying off. Microsoft finally has a WP7 device that has reached parity with Android and iPhone.

Here are the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Nokia Lumia 900, and Apple iPhone 4S side-by-side. Photo credit: Jason Hiner | TechRepublic

One area where I have to particularly tip my hat to Microsoft and Nokia is that they've done it with a device that doesn't have as big of an engine under the hood. The Lumia 900 only has a single-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm processor, but like I said, I never ran into any noticeable performance problems with it. That speaks to excellent hardware-software integration and the overall "lightness" of Windows Phone 7 (a quality we don't typically associate with Microsoft software). It also helps the Lumia 900's battery life and it's a big reason why it is priced so aggressively at $99 in the U.S. on AT&T.

Another thing I liked a lot about the Lumia 900 and Windows Phone 7 is the freshness of the design, both in terms of hardware and software. I've talked about this before with WP7. Microsoft didn't do what Android did and copy the iPhone's UI with a collection of app icons. Instead, the "Tiles" in WP7 are essentially a combination of app icons and widgets that can show live data. I also liked that Nokia didn't copy iPhone and Android hardware but went for an original take with the square form factor of the Lumia 900. While some of these software and hardware design elements have the feel of "change for the sake of change" more than functional improvements, it's still nice to see a product that's applying fresh thinking to the smartphone world, which has too often become a sea of sameness lately.

Let's dig into the software a little bit more. The operating system itself is relatively easy to navigate. It's certainly much more self-evident than Android, which can be pretty confusing to figure out for beginners, although part of that is because it's more customizable and configurable. The version 7.5 of WP7 that's on the Lumia 900 is not quite as simple and self-evident as the iPhone but the iPhone UI itself is also more limited. The iPhone doesn't have the power of the "Live Tiles" of WP7, for example.

Of course, we also have to talk about apps, which is where the game is largely won or lost (as Deb Shinder recently pointed out). The apps give these devices infinitely more value. Both iPhone and Android have hundreds of thousands of apps, with iPhone arguably having a better quality catalog because its users spend more money on apps so a lot of developers naturally tend to devote more energy to it. That, in turn, has reinforced the perception of the iPhone as a premium platform. Windows Phone 7 still has less than 100,000 apps in its catalog but the overall quality of apps tends to be closer to iPhone than Android. Microsoft has impressively mobilized a lot of developers to build WP7 apps, but it's still not enough. The best mobile apps are on iPhone and Android, period. Windows Phone 7 has most of the big stuff covered -- social networks, basic news and weather, Kindle, Netflix, Angry Birds, Evernote, etc. -- but most existing iPhone and Android users would have to give up some of their favorite mobile apps if they switched.

The other part of the app equation here is Microsoft Office and other Microsoft software and services. Out of the box, Windows Phone 7 handles Office attachments better than iPhone and Android, but both of those platforms have apps that you can get to work with Office files. WP7 does a nice job of letting you edit Office files on the phone itself, but even it chokes on some files and won't go into edit mode. There's solid SharePoint and SkyDrive integration (and the Xbox integration is decent for entertainment), but Microsoft could certainly do more to integrate the full collaboration capabilities of Exchange and now Skype into Windows Phone. And, it wouldn't hurt to throw IT administrators a bone by giving them some apps for managing System Center or giving developers some tools for app development on the phone itself (TouchDevelop is a nice start).

So, let's sum up. Here are my pros and cons and my bottom line.

Pros

  • Snappy performance
  • Impressive display
  • Solid battery life
  • Fresh design
  • Good hardware/software integration
  • Self-evident user experience
  • Great price

Cons

  • Missing apps
  • Integration with Microsoft software and services could be better
  • Good but not great hardware

Bottom line

For existing Android customers who are tired of killing tasks, worrying about mobile malware, and living with un-updated old Android phones, the Nokia Lumia 900 will be an attractive alternative, especially for business professionals who already have Windows laptops and live in Outlook, Microsoft Office, SharePoint and other Microsoft products at work. It's that group of users that has the most potential of jumping to Windows Phone 7 and the Lumia 900.

Enterprise IT departments are now recommending a lot more smartphones than they are buying and handing out to employees. They are still powerful players as recommenders. The ones that have a lot of Microsoft solutions on the backend are going to be a lot more comfortable recommending Windows Phone 7 now that there's a high-end device on the market at a great price in the Lumia 900. WP7 simply means a lot fewer integration headaches for them when these employees want to connect their devices to the corporate network. Even though both iPhone and Android have made great strides in corporate connectivity, Windows Phone 7 still has an edge in connecting to Microsoft products -- although Microsoft needs to take that advantage a lot farther.

For the IT departments that are still handing out phones to employees, the low price point of the Lumia 900 (even more so for IT departments buying them in the dozens) could be attractive enough that we'll see some companies using these to replace aging BlackBerries.

If this were a footrace then Microsoft has just passed a fading RIM and pulled even with Android and iPhone. The problem, of course, is that Microsoft and Nokia just used all of their energy to pull even, while Google and Apple still have moves to make, with HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy S III, and iPhone 5 on the horizon.

As a professional user myself, I like the Nokia Lumia 900 a lot. I could easily use it as my day-to-day phone for almost everything I do. But, it's not significantly better than Android or iPhone at enough things to make it worth switching from either my iPhone or my Android device, and that's likely going to be the biggest challenge facing the Lumia 900.

Also read

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

43 comments
psycmeistr
psycmeistr

Still missing from WP7 and Lumia 900 is bluetooth HID or other wireless keyboard compatibility; indispensible in terms of notetaking at meetings-- My five-year old Nokia E71x had it. No excuses, Microsoft/Nokia.

mvmiller12
mvmiller12

I purchased a Lumia 900 last week and have thus far been more than pleased with it except for this one thing: absolutely no Bluetooth Keyboard support whatsoever. It is difficult to overstate my disappointment with that considering the otherwise excellent Microsoft Office integration. This is doubly odd because nearly all iPhone and Android devices do this while Windows Phone 7 devices do not, and because this feature existed in the older Windows Mobile releases. Windows Phone 7 users have been waiting for this to be implemented ever since Windows Phone 7 initially rolled out according to the websites I have read. It was widely hoped 'Mango' would add the feature but it did not. As much as I love the phone, I believe Microsoft needs to be called out on this by a major publication. If Windows Phone 7 is to succeed in a business environment, basic Bluetooth Keyboard support is essential.

Stephen Townsley
Stephen Townsley

I have been using the Lumia 800 for the last couple of months after being an Iphone user for 3 years. I like Nokia's product. I think the review is pretty fair. Recent software updates have improved battery life. I use GMAIL on the phone and I have a perfectly synced calendar. Works great. I have put gmail, hotmail and an old yahoo account on the phone. I have defaulted Google as the mail and calendar. So it's good that the Microsoft universe is now becoming inclusive and encourages switching. Like the article I could do with better skype integration. The skype beta is out but the lack of a front facing camera on the 800 is an issue. Phone tethering is still not available and I see that as an issue for the mobile worker with a generous phone data plan. On the Nokia you get some free software that is genuinely useful; Nokia Maps, Drive, Music and Transport. The whole "People Hub" idea seems cheesy but once you use it a plain old address book seems very old fashioned. I think this is a phone where the people who use it will become the greatest advocates for the phone.

realvarezm
realvarezm

For the corporate market RIM is the king and altough is dying its share is stiil 3 times the MS share. So trying to sell the nokia as the next big smartphone for corporate market its not wyse. plus executives nowadays want fun too and believme windows phones are everything but fun.

ktsaved
ktsaved

You mention 7 apps or app types above. Hundreds of thousands of apps being a determining point is meaningless. After I load 100,000 apps on my Windows Phone, I won't be able to load any more, so I better not buy one, right? I agree that the phone needs to start selling more, and that useful apps be developed for Windows phone, some of which are not availble right now. Like, Logmein, IT support apps, and the like.

Jim Johnson
Jim Johnson

I live in Outlook (stand-alone, no Exchange Server). I'm on Android and want off - simply because telcom support amounts to 'not working? reset to factory and rebuild', poor update cycles, and combersome support of Outlook's Calendars, Notes, Tasks, Contacts (park my data on Google's cloud? No Thanks). I am with Verizon, but this may tip me to AT&T (shudder) unless Verizon gets on board with Windows phones.

danbi
danbi

With these little computers, called smartphones, people learned that the platform is not locked anymore. RIM had bad time, as they wanted t.o lock everyone in. The iPhone and various Android phones demonstrated that interoperability is key for the mobile devices. At some point you replace an less inoperable device with another, no matter what - and this is especially true for professional work. So, there is not much recommending power to die hard Windows IT staff. They may be locked in with Microsoft, but the mobile users aren't anymore - and this will be great challenge for Microsoft. By the way, all the pros you listed are because of Nokia and all the cons, because of Microsoft...

tech_ed
tech_ed

While I agree that the Nokia phone is a nice looking phone and that Windows Phone 7 is a nice UI, but I cannot endorse, in the strongest way any business use of this OS for any employee who utilized company data on their cellphone. Why? Well, that's simple enough....VPN. Yup...Windows Phone 7 has no support for VPN. Doesn't exist...In fact, a recent discusson on Howard forums a programmer said that he couldn't even find any hooks in the Network stack to even *ADD* a VPN application! So...why is this a problem? Well, for one thing, without VPN, whenever you connect to a WiFi network, *EVEN IF YOU ARE USING WPA2* all your data is available for anyone else sharing the same WiFi connection...FireSheep anyone? Google it if you're not familiar with this little gem! You say you don't use WiFi? Uh, beg to differ...*ALL* carriers are pushing data use onto their established WiFi hotspots in order to alleviate voice traffic on their cell network. Let me say this again...*ALL* carriers will, if you are in range of their established WiFi hotspots, move your data traffic from your phone onto one of their WiFi Hotspots...without your even knowing that this is happening! In fact, Wireless carriers are working with several companies to write software that will allow the carrier to query your phone and if the phone is in an area where the carrier has a WiFi presence, they will then switch data traffic onto WiFi...and guess what folks...this WiFi is open to any other user of the carrier! So, all your data is open season for anyone using this carrier's phone to access corporate data! And guess what? You could get fired for doing this even if you aren't even aware that you are doing it! Remember that little document you signed when you started working for you company? In that document, you agreed to abide by all company policies including data security...by *NOT* using a VPN, you are in violation of your company's policies and subject to termination...do you want to be "that guy" that exposes the company's database to the open internet? And another thing...the phone doesn't support local syncing...Sure, it support cloud syncing, but again...no VPN, so all data you send to *the cloud* is open season for hackers! So no...the Windows Phone 7 is find for teenagers "checking in" to the local malt shop or that consummate blogger who needs to tell everybody when his last BM was...but for the corporate user? Look somewhere else...Windows Phone 7 is not for you..."These are not the 'droids you are looking for"

dbgman
dbgman

It is a very good assessment of the nokia phone. While the app count is not equal to the iphone or android many of the quality apps. At the pace Windows Phone is adding apps, it will not be an issue in the near future. One thing you did not happen to mention how quick you can do some of the most commonly used tasks on a smartphone. For example, I can see what is new on each person's facebook by looking at the livetiles. I can do many facebook things without opening an app! Also, it is a very easy to use phone. My wife got lost on her blackberry. PS. I love my windows phone titan. I use everyday for work and home. Even with a big 4.7" screen it lasts over a day on battery life. My wife is getting her lumia 900 tomorrow!

bestbenwade
bestbenwade

You did a really good job in your article of highlighting the strengths of WP7 and downplaying its weaknesses. I hope that enough people pay attention to your article to at least give WP7 a try, so that we can have more competition in the smartphone market space.

bart001fr
bart001fr

Jason, Please redo the second photo to show us the screens head-on rather than at a 45 degree angle as it is now. The present picture does not show anything at all, and tells us nothing, while a head-on picture would permit us to see so much more! Thank you in advance.

blarman
blarman

Or just IE? Reason being that I love all of Firefox's add-ins...

DMOAIKI
DMOAIKI

you are right about one of the Cons you mentioned: Microsoft software integration. the Phone 7 doesn't allow pop ups. while this may be a security issue, it impeads performance. many companies use outside services [SAS], many of which only open up in IE as a pop up. making the use of the Phone 7 obsolete. I was wondering if there could be a fix for this!

carpetking
carpetking

I've had my Windows 7 Phone for 6 months now. I love the interface and the Office integration that is there. Yes, things could always be better from any integration perspective, but the integration that is there, is wonderful. Technology is going to always be changing, and to developers on every platform I say, enough Calculator apps... That's great that iPhone and Android platform have 100's of thousands of apps, but how many do we really need? As someone who has had iPhone's and Android units, I'm sold on this platform. I look forward to seeing it get better over time!

jim
jim

I have been using phones with the WP7 & 7.5 OS for over a year now and they are by far the best we've had. We have the HTC HD7's as well as the newer Radar's and we have no complanints. I have had the iPhone and Blackberry's in my company and this OS is really something sweet for business. They are very easy to manage and configure. The performance is second to none. Writing apps for them has only gotten easier. The app market has been getting better over time (remember Android had few apps on their market for the first year as well). Aside from the iPhone they have been the easiest for our users to pick up and use. I actally think they are easier than the iPhone(again, not as many apps, just be patient) I suggest giving this or any windows phone's a try for both business or private use.

dtrnelson
dtrnelson

I'm a little distressed with my Android phone's one-and-done approach to the operating system. "Want more features? Bug fixes? Toss this one and renegotiate your contract!" Does Windows Phone 7 have the concept of "automatic updates?"

rhonin
rhonin

I tried one for a week. I found it to be good but not quite done. There are too many things missing or locked in that prevents me from liking it as a primary device or getting the use out of it I need. MSO - unfortunately crippled similar to what Apple did to iWorks on iOS. I am finding Polaris and Kingsoft on Android are actually better. Email - the lockin to Hotmail and inability to use another email as the driver for contacts / calenders / etc.... VPN - nada Marketplace - I travel a lot. You are locked into your initial country of origin. Why? Facebook - it does some things well but others (photo tagging / Flikr) are missing Maps - compared to Google maps... enough said Photos - why does the OS automatically resize? There are times when I want the full photo in all its detail. Win8 - have yet to see any guarantees devices today will get the upgrade. Hardware.... I could go on and on but until they bring it up to Android/iOS level I cannot see myself committing to a 2+ year contract for a device with "old tech". It is not a matter of can it, but will it be able to continue doing it a year+ from now. I have my doubts especially if this takes off. Enough from my soapbox for now. Win OS is nice. Until it grows up and gets modern hardware I will continue to skip it. My main job; IT there says it is currently not good enough but will revaluation after Win8. This means 2013 eval and may add into the fold by 2014. Meanwhile full use of iOS and Android 2.3+ is being implemented as I type this.

el_nene_4_u
el_nene_4_u

First, I am an IT Pro and need my systems to be integrated; that is what WP7 (Mango) does for me. Second, I love WP7. Third, this is a really nice article but what it says about the OS of the Lumia 900 are just standard characteristics of Mango. This OS is not just for the Lumia 900, it is part of every WP7... Fourth, I like the iPhone and the iPad but I hate iTunes; I have one iPhone 4 and two iPods. I have three different WP7 models, and one more on the way, and other three non WP7 (and I love each one of them), but my WP7's are my first choice. The Nokia Lumia 900 is a great phone and I can understand the decision of AT&T to promote it more aggressively than other models, but the HTC Titan is also a winner (the Titan II is coming soon, but what I have read do not justify a change, for now); actually this is my preferred WP7 model so far, even over the Lumia 800 and the Lumia 900. Just like AT&T, the other carriers are not really supporting WP7; if the case were different, why AT&T (and other carriers) and Microsoft do not promote their plethora of WP7 models? Every day all that I see in the newspaper are promotions of iPhone, lots of Android phones and a few low-end WP7 models. Why the carriers are not encouraging their customers to buy other high-end WP7 models? Is it because the HTC Titan is more expensive? The iPhone is even more expensive and you can find AT&T bragging about it everywhere. The HTC Titan has far better hardware and more battery life than the Lumia 900, and it could be a better alternative to the iPhone or Android. Apps are more for the "iProducts" and the Android market, but the apps for WP7 are not bad at all; there could be more and better, but amount does not mean real quality. This is like upgrading a device just for the sake of the upgrade and not for the real merits or benefits; just to have the latest, even if it does not really justify a meaningful major change (ask Apple about the New iPad or ask Mozilla about the annoying disruptive changes to their browser). Everyone is focused on Nokia+Microsoft; what about other manufacturers like Samsung, LG and HTC? The carriers and the press (count here CNet and many others) are the number one enemy of the WP7 deployment. TechRepublic is not the exception always pushing the "iProducts" and not openly, really and objectively talking about prime alternatives. How would you expect your readers to love and respect you, if you are always holding back information or misleading them? Finally, Windows Phone 7 truly arrived before the launch of the Nokia Lumia 900, but no one was really paying attention because everyone was looking at Apple, ICS, and Microsoft+Nokia. Microsoft is also very guilty of this image and the misconceptions of WP7 because it forgot about other loyal and potential WP7 partners.

daboochmeister
daboochmeister

I think one of the realities that MS will face is that enterprise IT departments don't want to support multiple ecologies when managing user mobile devices - that creates duplicate work in standing up software support stacks, business processes, security management, etc. So unless MS can make the bar [i]incredibly[/i] low in terms of maintenance, I think there will be a tendency to stick with the stack that's been implemented already, for at least a time, and not add yet another set of problems. My guess is that that effect will limit (not completely prevent, but limit) WP7 adoption in enterprise space to a certain degree.

Justin James
Justin James

Kudos to Jason for giving the phone a fair shake... more importantly, a fair shake from the perspective of the target audience, not "tech journalist in the rarefied atmosphere" or "hung up on some pet feature that 99% of real world users don't even know about" like so many of these reviews are like. J.Ja

blarman
blarman

Windows Phone being so new to the market, the carriers have had to wait for the SDK to finalize around a final build. Remember Vista and the lack of drivers and AV? That was because Microsoft was still changing the entire OS and SDK up until a month before release! That leaves app developers absolutely no time to build anything prior to launch. Another issue is the market itself. No carrier in their right mind is going to spend a lot of their money and time developing for a platform that hasn't taken off in the market yet when they have already invested heavily in the competition that is and has a SOLID customer base. It's not good business. This isn't a carrier issue. Microsoft deserves the lion's share of the blame here. If Microsoft wanted more carriers to support Windows Phone from the get-go, they should have worked with the carrier (ie invested) their own money to make it happen.

Justin James
Justin James

They come fairly regularly, too. My Samsung Focus (one of the original launch models) has never missed an update, including the big "Mango" update and smaller, more recent updates too, despite being a year old. The only real update delay was the first couple right after WP7 launched, and they found issues with the update process and delayed things to fix it. J.Ja

Justin James
Justin James

... since many of your complaints are factually, provably incorrect. "Email - the lockin to Hotmail and inability to use another email as the driver for contacts / calenders / etc...." Other than needing a Live account to identify your device (just as Android requires a Gmail account to do the same), WP7 draws contacts, calendar, etc. from a wide variety of sources. In fact, I find its unified view of data to be more consistent than Android. "VPN - nada" - Wrong "Facebook - it does some things well but others (photo tagging / Flikr) are missing" - Wrong again, photo tagging is there. Even automatically detects faces to suggest I need to tag them. "Maps - compared to Google maps... enough said" - Maps work fine and are "feature complete". Bing Maps work just as well as Google Maps, which is to say there is a small chance you'll be sent down the wrong path. In my experience, Google Maps send me in the wrong direction slightly more often, but Bing's driving time estimations tend to be wildly optimistic. "Photos - why does the OS automatically resize? There are times when I want the full photo in all its detail." - It doesn't resize them. You can zoom in plenty on the device, and see them in full size after syncing too. "Win8 - have yet to see any guarantees devices today will get the upgrade." - That's true for EVERY phone OS with the exception of iPhone, which has done a good job at ensuring OS upgrade availability. J.Ja

blarman
blarman

The problem (for Microsoft) is that many of the hardware and telecomm vendors have already invested heavily into supporting and promoting the iPhone and Android platforms. Microsoft being so late to the party means that they are likely going to have to monetarily underwrite getting these same vendors to support their products to get them out on the market. There is also the slight problem with Microsoft's heavy-handedness in licensing. Microsoft is going to have to back off and not insist on a lot of royalties from these same vendors (like they have in the past) because they are the newcomer rather than the established player here. In short, it looks as if Microsoft might actually have a product that can go toe-to-toe with Android and iPhone. The question is: will Microsoft try and continue business as usual or truly approach this as a new market they have to win?

Skruis
Skruis

It's not like Android where the differences between each device are possibly huge. In fact one of the complaints about WP7 (from consumers) is that pretty much every device is the same. With Windows Phone, apart from a few minor patches, the OS on every device is the same.

mark.cooper
mark.cooper

I really like my WP7.5. Justin - what VPN client do you use? I have not received any updates since Mango, I believe. My phone is at 7720 and I've been tangling with AT&T for the last week to see why I haven't received any of the later updates. The boss lady at one of my client's just updated to WP based on my recommendation. Her carrier is Sprint so we went with the HTC Arrive. We just set up a WP for the warehouse manager at the same location. The corporate carrier is Verizon, so his phone is the HTC Trophy. My carrier is AT&T, so my phone is the Samsung Focus (original model). What's really great about WP7 is it is consistent from device to device. From carrier to carrier. We just went live with an Exchange Server last Wednesday. We have Blackberrys, several Androids, an iPhone 4, and my and the warehouse manager's Windows Phones. We have several BlackBerry 9650s. One mangles the server-based signature. We have several BB 9330s. One mangles the server-based signature. We have an HTC Thunderbolt and the signature is fine. We have a Samsung Stratosphere and it mangles the signature. My Focus and the warehouse manager's Trophy handle the signature fine. Waiting to see about the Arrive because it has not yet been activated. Exchange setup on the Stratosphere was different than the setup on the Thunderbolt. I talked the iPhone owner through the Exchange setup over the phone (I'm in Columbus Ohio and his office is in Myrtle Beach) and it was pretty simple and quick. His iPhone was my first experience with setting up an iPhone and that was done in early January of this year. I would not want to talk a BlackBerry or Android owner (non-techie) through setting up an email account over the phone. I agree that this review by Jason was the least biased review I've seen on a tech site. WP7 makes the phone it runs on pretty irrelevant. As an amateur photographer I'd kind of like to see Nokia's 41 megapixel camera on a Window's phone. Capturing full res images will sure suck up the available phone storage though. Mark

Justin James
Justin James

Sorry folks, I made a mistake on VPN. I was positive I had seen VPN as a networking capability at one point, but it's not there. J.Ja

tech_ed
tech_ed

You say "VPN - nana" - Wong. Can you back that up with actual references? I mean...I checked the Microsoft Marketplace and saw only one client for a proprietary pseudo VPN-like application...that is not true VPN. Where's CheckPoint? Where's PPTP, or LTP? OpenVPN client? Doesn't exist...Heck, the OS doesn't even support IPSEC! Without VPN, the OS will never be a corporate level OS...simple as that.

blarman
blarman

VPN is important to us for access to internal apps, etc. You mention that you disagree with rhonin with regard to the VPN's, yet don't provide any actual products/apps. Can you name one?

jason2000mj
jason2000mj

@J.Ja I agree with you on all points except for Maps. One feature that I love about Google Maps is Street View. There is no Street View for Bing. Correct me if I'm wrong.

gke565
gke565

ATT is now investing heavily in the new Lumina 900, they have crowned it their 'hero' phone which from what I read means it will be front in center in stores, their website (which it is the first phone to pop-up today 4/8), and it is free to employees for personal use, testing and promotion. Now that Verizon and Sprint have the iPhone, ATT has decided they need a new advantage. As for maps, Nokia has Nokia Maps which are some of the best in the world, they have an agreement with Good for WP, and Skype will most likely appear on them first (although if you were paying attention to WP news there was a hidden beta of Skype for WP released several weeks ago, I believe its down now). I have the orignal Focus and still love the phone, bought my wife the Arrive on Sprint (but if they don't start carrying more WPs at next upgrade we're done after 12 years). I'll be updating to another WP phone when the Focus dies.

daboochmeister
daboochmeister

... that gets managed by only allowing certain models of Android phone, the subset that work with your support infrastructure. The issue is the additional work of establishing a different support infrastructure, set of business processes, and security maintenance approach. That whole support stack has to be established for WP7, as an additional effort above having already done that for Android or iOS. What I'm not clear on is how much of your existing Active Directory system/GPOs come into play -- the more MS can leverage from the infrastructure already in place for desktop support, the better. But it won't be 100%, especially for WP7 (might improve when Windows 8 makes its way to phones). The same effect I'm mentioning has already impacted Android adoption at the enterprise level -- Apple got there first, and companies don't want to stand up another support infrastructure for Android.

AudeKhatru
AudeKhatru

Just wondering how this is a bad thing?

mark.cooper
mark.cooper

Verizon and the other carriers make their money on the phone/data plans. What difference does it make with the handset/OS? I've heard reference to the Kin. So what? Again, Verizon made their money on the plans. Thanks - Mark

tech_ed
tech_ed

Without VPN, how do you access corporate data? Surely you have your corporate SharePoint access on a backend network and use VPN to gain access to the SharePoint file repository...I mean, that makes the most sense. Because there is no SSL when accessing the files outside the webpage! I hope you also use SSL on the web UI, at least *THAT* traffic is encrypted! Without VPN, every document you access is open to anyone else on the WiFi network you happen to be on....and don't tell me you don't use WiFi....carriers are pushing data traffic onto their WiFi hotspots without your even knowing they are even doing so! Tell me where you use your phone and I'll steal corporate secrets from your Windows Phone...really...it's as easy as running FireSheep on a FireFox browser....

Justin James
Justin James

Mark - I don't use VPN on my phone, since we restrict it by IP as well as user. I stopped using my Focus in mid-February (got a Lumia 800), so I don't know what updates it has had in the last month or two. From reports I've read, it seems like Verizon is a bit slower than AT&T when it comes to WP7 updates, but that is, in no small part, because Verizon has a real chip on their shoulder around WP7. J.Ja

tech_ed
tech_ed

Here is another reason VPN is a necessity... Oppressive Government control over internet access. There are regimes on this planet who fear the internet and the enlightenment it brings. As such, they lock down all internet access. For this reason, VPN is a necessity! You say this is silly? The following is just one person on another blog who is asking for VPN support....*FROM IRAN* Reply hi . this is one of windows phone lovers i m from iran . here are a lot of windows phone such as HTC & Nokia but our Internet is filter by government , and windows phone is useless for online stuff . There is no VPN support , please think about us , we are customers and we pay for this phones , don't let us to migrate from beautiful windows phone to Android You may think that this a rare occurrence, but I've seen the same request coming from China, Egypt, North Korea...Where ever there is a repressive regime, there are phone users who need to access the unexpurgated internet...but if they use Windows phones, they can't...Microsoft is, in essence facilitating these dictatorial wishes by offering these megalomaniacs the tools to keep their population under their thumb... shame Microsoft....shame....

tech_ed
tech_ed

That's why I'm looking at the Samsung Note...that 5.3 inch screen will be perfect for on-the-go emergency maintenance...The titan (or titan II) may be nice too, but no VPN, no corporate use. As for RDP being miserable on a phone? Yeah, with an iPhone...that dinky 3.whatever inch screen is just stupid small for anyone but a tween to enjoy! For me, a screen doesn't get readable until it reaches 4.5 inches, and even then it's hit or miss at best! Currently, I can't be more than 15 minutes away from my network connected laptop since I manage a server farm of over 500 Windows servers, physical and virtual...I would love to lose that anchor and replace it with a usable phone! All I need now is corporate buy-in to allow me to get the Samsung Note. They're maximum phone allowance is $199....

Justin James
Justin James

Remote administration is my one big use for VPN... and remote access to file shares. Since WP7 doesn't let you access file shares anyways, that's out, leaving RDP/VNC/etc. as the one really useful scenario for VPN on a phone... and honestly, RDP/VNC/etc. on a phone is miserable. The screen size alone is going to be a real barrier to getting anything done. So yes, while I recognize the use case, I don't think using a smartphone to address it is really appropriate anyways, regardless of the VPN issue. J.Ja

tech_ed
tech_ed

OK, scenario. You're at an event/restaurant/whatever, not at work. You get a call from one of your techs saying that there is a problem with the backend Exchange cluster. How would *YOU* handle this situation if all you have is a phone? I know *I* don't want to be dragging a laptop with me where ever I go...so a mobile phone with RDP is more than adequate for my needs. I fire up VPN into the corporate backend network (all backend servers *SHOULD* be on a separate network, not accessible to the outside world), RDP onto the Exchange active cluster node, identify the problem and fail the cluster resources back onto the active node and go back to dinner. Or this one. Tech calls up to say that client needs a document that is on a SharePoint site that he doesn't have access to. I VPN into the corporate backend network (all company employee computers *SHOULD* be on a backend network, preferably double-natted for security) RDP into my desktop, map a drive to the SharePoint folder, grab the document in question, upload it to my phone, make the necessary customer required changes, and then send the modified document to the customer via an encrypted attachment in an email. Or you receive an alert that there is a hard drive failure on the corporate NAS. You need to log into the NAS to identify the severity of the failure. Of course, the NAS is on the corporate backend network, not exposed to the outside world....again...VPN into the backend network, SSH into the NAS and determine that the problem is a bogus alert, clear the SNMP alert and go back to dinner. Let's say you are at a corner coffee store enjoying a whatevs. You access the coffee WiFi for some web browsing with your phone. You decide to check your Yahoo mail...but, of course, you fail to use HTTPS to access your account. You log in to your Yahoo account and there is someone else on the WiFi running FireSheep. They capture your login and since your Yahoo login is used to authenticate your FaceBook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts, this person then proceeds to steal your online identity...all because your phone doesn't have VPN...In fact, what's even more galling is that more and more home routers now include VPN standard! My home router does and since I have an external IP for my home network, I've added all my family to my VPN so that they too can browse safely when they are foreign networks! These are *ALL* things I can currently do with my Windows Mobile 6.1 phone, an Android phone and even an iPhone...but for some reason, Microsoft felt that their phone doesn't need it....deal breaker really

danbi
danbi

All of this is true, but... As it was already commented, no VPN- no enterprise! It is as simple as that. Even if every transaction is encrypted, there are at least few remaining shows toppers: - no outside access to the corporate network. That is, without VPN. - don't want strangers to know what I do. With VPN they see one stream, without indication what I do.

Justin James
Justin James

I'm kind of curious... what's the "requirement" for VPN, exactly? I do run a network with a VPN, and I certainly understand the need for VPNs in general... but I do NOT see the need for VPN on a phone. * Email? Exchange Active Sync is already SSL encrypted, adding VPN doesn't give any additional security. * SharePoint? Again, should be using SSL already. * Internal applications? Should be using on-the-wire encryption to begin with too. Seriously, how many applications would be sending sensitive data in-the-clear? Any application that requires VPN for data encryption is one that I would be VERY cautious about using in general. So, that leaves the authentication end of things. If you look at the capabilities of modern applications and how they are written, authentication gets performed as part of various service calls. Sure, the client can use their current user credentials (which is where a VPN may be useful), but since the phone isn't joined to the AD domain anyways, the credentials need to be entered on a per-application basis and authentication needs to be part and parcel of the service calls. So the VPN gives little benefit in terms of authentication. The one thing that a VPN gives you, as far as I can tell, is an additional password to get through, assuming that the user does not use auto-signon or something. Having that additional password to get at the corporate resources may be important. But past that? It's security theater. J.Ja

fplath
fplath

Yes, Bing has "Streetside", which is akin to Street View. Whether mobile will support this I cannot speak to.