Recently my housemate bought a brand new iPhone. Up until this point he'd been using a Windows Phone that he won at the Worldwide Developer Conference last year. He'd been using it almost non-stop ever since. He's kindly lent it to me to use for a week until it goes on in his family. So before my impressions; here's some information about what I have at the moment.

I have a BlackBerry Bold. The keyboard on it is great! The rest, well… isn't. Upon taking it out of the holster I get the equivalent to an hour glass icon popping up to state that it's doing something in the background. But it won't let me unlock the phone while this is happening! The apps are another thing. After uninstalling one you're graced with a reboot request. Despite knowing that it's a smart phone and does need to boot occasionally, I don't like not being able to use my phone for 10 minutes while it does that. Also, the recent BlackBerry Internet Service blackout wasn't the most fun I've had with my phone. 

Windows Phone 7 changes that. I pull it out, instantly I can unlock it and start using it. No waiting, no frustration. There are a tonne of apps. Almost all of them better than on the BlackBerry (I'm a particular fan of BlackBerry's twitter app!). There do seem to be some rather odd ones though - I think they're there because it's so easy to develop for, and they must've made SOME money at least! Installing apps is fast. Uninstalling them is instant and no reboot. The internet is far faster than on my own phone, despite being the same network.

My concern about using a touch screen phone was the keyboard. I've not had much luck with typing on a touch screen phone before. Random letters I don't want and missing keys. Coming from one of the nicer keyboards around I preferred the accuracy. The HTC Trophy's touch screen is awesome. I've been able to type just as quickly and accurately thanks to that, and Windows Phones prediction and auto correction.

Being a student at the University of Reading means I get access to Live@Edu (similar to Office 365). Which works great with Windows Phone 7's Office application. I can access Excel, Word, Powerpoint, and SharePoint on the go. So I can have the lecture notes visible while writing notes on paper, or something I'm a particular fan of; OneNote. Not only can you do all of this, but it'll save it directly to SkyDrive. So you can forget about the task of syncing manually by plugging in your device. It'll do that automagically!

It's been good to realise that the idea for a game I have would work well on the platform. Once I've got some spare time I plan on having a go at making it!

Developing for Windows Phone is easy, as I found whilst working on the Imagine Cup last year. You can have an app up and running in moments using Blend and following the huge amount of materials available online. It's easy for a student to get started for free, and make money by publishing apps for free! Just head over to Dreamspark and get started!

It's a breath of fresh air to my daily routine, and I'm certainly glad to have the opportunity to use it, despite it being for a short time. Streamlined experiences and frustration free socialising are a real plus. We all like a shiny new piece of tech and I look forward to being able to kick my BlackBerry and replace it with a Windows Phone 7 device soon!