(The name itself is probably a mistake, by the way. Not only is it unlikely to excite consumers much but it’s also nothing like Windows – although I suppose once Windows 8 comes around it might.)
Anyway: a major factor in all of this is obviously cost, and I’ve always preferred to be on SIM-only deals rather than long-term contracts because they seem to be much better value. Virgin, for example, will give you 500 minutes, 3000 texts and 1 GB a month for around £15 a month – and you can cancel whenever you like. But buying an unlocked iPhone outright is, what, around £600? I bought the Optimus 7, on the other hand, for £200 – and the hardware feels nice, too.
But it’s the software that really matters, and although it may just be a matter of taste, I generally prefer the quite innovative feel of the Windows Phone to everyone else’s rows and rows of icons. Integrating services together makes sense, too: my Facebook account has pictures for everyone and my Outlook knows their phone numbers, so why not link them all together and combine all the information seamlessly? Touching, typing and scrolling all work well, although there are a couple of strange failings, like calendar text which is far too small to read and no custom ringtones. (This latter one is being fixed, though.) Also, I don’t know how common this is across all smartphones, but it’s silly that the phone’s alarm can’t turn the phone on.
Plenty of commentators have said the same thing: that the Windows Phone is a decent smartphone platform that’s just too late to the game, and can never catch up with the others. They might well be right, and if you want the widest choice of apps then you need to look elsewhere. But aside from that, it doesn’t really matter a great deal. Most of my mobile data (contacts, calendar, e-mail, Twitter etc.) is either in the cloud* or synced with my laptop or both, and I could just as easily switch to another smartphone in the future without much hassle. For the moment, though, Windows Phone 7 genuinely offers something both new and a little delightful.
(*In the cloud with Google, mostly. Just because I’m on WP7 doesn’t mean I want Windows Live handling everything.)