7 awful things about Windows Phone 7 (updated)

For every wonderful trick and treat Microsoft presents in Windows Phone 7, there were plenty of functions absent that iOS and Android have made names for themselves doing. Once compared, it's obvious WP7 is not finished, Considering how advanced Windows Phone 7's competition is, the following seven deficiencies make a mockery of Microsoft chairman Steve Ballmer's claim of Windows Phone 7 being "thoroughly modern."

1. No Flash

This one's a stunner, but Ballmer has reportedly been talking with Adobe so WP7's lack of Flash may only be temporary.

2. No multitasking

Another stunner. Once Android showed how multitasking could be done on a mobile phone, even Apple was forced to play catch-up. For Microsoft to unveil a new, "modern" OS and not include multitasking is puzzling to say the least.

3. No Unified Email

The whole idea behind Microsoft's hub-based gestalt is to focus on activities rather than sterile apps. But "email" isn't included under "messaging," and there are separate apps for Outlook, Hotmail, Gmail and every other email source. This does't meet Microsoft's "fewer clicks" design goals and could prove to be frustrating to users.

4. No Cut-And-Paste

We know this is only temporary — the last item mentioned at the Windows Phone announcement was that cut-and-paste would be part of a software upgrade early next year. But like all of Windows Phone 7's other missing tidbits, not including this basic capability, which caused iPhone users to loudly howl, makes it seem Windows Phone 7 was rushed to market before it was ready.

5. Where Are the Apps?

Several high-profile apps such as eBay, IMDb, and Sims 5 were showcased at the Windows Phone 7 unveiling, but the only other mention of apps was vague generalities — hundreds of thousands of developers downloading the SDK and thousands of apps expected. When and how many? Excellent question.

6. No Desktop Client *

I've said it before and I'll say it again: without a desktop client, the mainstream phone-using consumers Microsoft hopes to convert will become frustrated if they don't have an easy of way of loading music, videos, photos, etc., onto their handsets. (see update below)

7. It's Three Years Too Late

Windows Phone 7 is in about the same shape Apple's iPhone OS was in 2007. Individually, no single one of these missing capabilities is a problem. But reviewers are likely to take Microsoft to task for missing so many of them, leading to negative comparisons with iPhone and Android Microsoft can barely afford.

Of course, this isn't the complete picture. For another take, check out our list of 7 great things about Windows Phone 7.

* UPDATE
Zune software is the official desktop client for Windows Phone 7, although this was not made clear either at Monday's Windows Phone 7 launch event or afterward. Sometime during or soon after the event, Microsoft updated the Zune software, after this initial story had been filed. It took Microsoft two days to confirm all aspects of Windows Phone 7/Zune syncing, and we're still waiting for final details.

The company has confirmed music (including support for iTunes AAC and AAC+), video, podcasts and photos all can be synced via the Zune software, and the Zune Marketplace has been expanded to include Windows Mobile 7 games. All PIM data — calendar and contacts — are synced over-the-air via Microsoft Exchange Server and Hotmail Connector for non-Exchange Server users.

Contrary to reports, a version of Zune software is NOT being released for the Mac this year. Instead, Microsoft will release a "beta… of a tool that allows Windows Phone 7 to sync select content with Mac computers." We'll have a better idea of the compatibility of Zune software and Windows Phone 7 once we get a review handset. but there's an excellent personalized WP7 demo on Facebook. Even with our other enumerated complaints, Zune software and our other enumerated "great things" makes Windows Phone a formidable alternative to both iPhone and even more so for Android phones, which lacks an official desktop client.

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