I recently switched phones, from a Blackberry 9800 Torch (running Blackberry 6 OS) to a LG Quantum (running WP7). I changed for the duel Exchange access, the native Outlook mobile allowing me to flag (or create a task) on the phone and for more processing power.
After seeing the Windows commercials I looked forward to getting more social with my new phone. I trusted the cute little blue animals and the “really…” marketing ideas, but what I found was my old Blackberry was twice the “social” phone my WP7 currently is.
WP7 Social Hub
The new “Social Hub” is Windows’ way to do more with your social network without spending your life trying to find the people that you are looking for. Once you touch the social tile, you are brought to the “What’s new” section, showing your friends latest Facebook posts. Sliding to the right you can see your recent phone calls (through the medium of tiles). Once more to the right will bring you to your address book.
I love the inclusiveness of the information, but the app falls short due to the staleness of that information. The app does not gather current posts until you open it. So from the time you closed it to the time you opened it, not only did you miss other posts, you will have to wait for the phone to go and seek the information. How long does that take… how do you feel about AT&T?
WP7 Facebook and Twitter
These apps are well designed and use the WP7 form factor to its fullest. Once again, my issue is not with how they perform, but when they start. You have to open the app, Facebook or Twitter, to allow the phone to seek the information. You wait and you are late to the social discussion (rhyme completely intended).
Blackberry Social Apps
Blackberry is not known for being a social media company. In fact Blackberry is known for corporate business. When I first set up my Torch I was pleasantly surprised by the level of customization I had with their social apps. I could leave them all in the social area or I could include them in my email feed. I choose the latter.
I don’t follow a lot of people or have that many Friends, but I loved the way that I would get a little message in my email feed that would tell me when I have new posts and tweets to read. If someone sent me a message or wrote on my wall in Facebook, the app would bring it to my attention. I could open the alerts, they would take me right to the message and I would respond, without waiting for the phone to update. This is most likely do to the true multi-tasking ability of the Blackberry OS. I do miss it.
Windows Phone 7 vs Blackberry 6 Winner: Blackberry’s Social Apps
Microsoft can learn a lot from the multi-tasking Blackberry 6 OS. There are rumors of updates for the Windows Phone, but none of these missing updates call for an update to live tiles for Twitter and Facebook, as far as I know.
When I geek out with other tech-heads, my recurring feeling is one of embarrassment. Not for the phone, but embarrassment for Microsoft. Their overreaching publicity about their “Social Hub” and “live tiles” mislead me, when the social tile is really just a slide show of your friends’ Facebook icons covering up a static app that should tell you what is happening now, rather that you asking the app what happened 20 minutes ago.