As faithful readers will recall from a previous article, I have managed to retire my old Windows PC and Windows laptop, and am now getting along quite well with only my MacBook.
Unfortunately, I am not completely divorced from Windows. I’ve been doing some work related to Windows Phone 7 (which may eventually turn out to be used on the new Windows 8, who knows?). This requires that I run some development tools from Microsoft that work on Windows, not Mac. And that requires that I either (a) have a Windows computer or (b) be able to run Windows on my MacBook. I’ve opted for the second option, and am running Windows 7 as a virtual machine using Parallels Desktop. This is great (well, sort of), as it lets me run the needed Windows programs along side my Mac programs.
Unfortunately, both Microsoft and everyone on the Internet (except one guy) believe that the Windows Phone Emulator, which is itself a virtual machine, will not run within a virtual machine. Or, in other words, the Windows Phone emulator won’t run on my MacBook. For a while, I was able to somehow thwart that and run the emulator, although quite slowly, but after a Parallels upgrade, I cannot.
Since I cannot run the emulator, I cannot test any of the code that I’ve written to verify that it actually works. Since it’s important to know that the code actually works, I need to be able to run it. Since the emulator won’t run, I need to run it on an actual Windows Phone.
And this long introduction brings us to the title of this article: Nokia Lumia 800.
Not wanting to commit to swapping my iPhone for a Windows Phone, I shopped for an “unlocked” phone — a phone that does not come with a contract or a carrier. There were many such phones using the 7.0 version of the OS available, but I opted to buy one with the newest OS, 7.5, code named “mango”. All the phone needs to make it a phone is a SIM card, associating it with a phone number and a contract. However, it can also be used without a SIM card, in which case everything except the phone works. That’s the way I’ll be using it.
I opted for a Nokia Lumia 800, and placed an order from amazon.com.
It arrived yesterday. The first thing I noticed was that the box contained both another box (the phone) and an electrical adapter. “Uh oh,” I thought, “this is a European phone.” Sure enough, the included power charger needs the adapter to fit a standard US outlet.
The next thing I noticed was when I turned on the phone. The interface was in German. I poked around a little bit, and was somehow able to find the settings to turn it into “English (US)”.
The next thing I noticed was that the Quick Start Guide was also written in German. Fortunately, a google search quickly found an English user guide in PDF format. Score for google!
The next thing I noticed was that the micro-USB port is cleverly hidden behind a hatch that doesn’t appear to be a hatch. After performing a maneuver that I would have thought might break something (except that I’d read about it in the user guide), I was able to find the USB port and charge the phone using the included charger and adapter.
The next thing I noticed was that it didn’t include a CD or any other additional software. Having found the English user guide online, however, I was able to determine that I needed to download and install the Zune software. Easily done, and Zune connected to the phone without troubles. Nice!
Which gets me to the phone itself. It looks nice and feels nice. I’m getting used to the Windows Phone interface. It just takes poking and pressing things until I discover what works. For instance, after setting it up to monitor my Facebook account, I wanted to also set it up to monitor my Twitter account. Finding the “add account” option wasn’t obvious, but with enough poking and prodding, it was discovered.
I’ve read some reviews of people that switched from iPhone to Windows Phone, and think the Windows Phone is more elegant. My initial impression doesn’t support that, but I’m willing to give it more time. Maybe with more poking and prodding, it will grow on me.