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What we learned from Molly Wood's Windows Phone 7 challenge

Windows Phone 7 Challenge: Week 2: The Verdict
(CBS) - Molly Wood, executive editor at CNET, has been through a lot - of cell phones, that is. She has tried the original Motorola Droid, the Samsung Fascinate and the Droid X.

Sadly, after updating her Android with Gingerbread, which introduced a slew of "improvements" to the operating system (faster speed, better app management and a different interface, just to name a few), her mobile device suffered connection problems, battery life and spontaneous restarts.

"And all the players involved in the near murder of my phone have been conspicuously silent: not a word from Motorola, Verizon, or worse, Google. Nothing but rumors and whispers and tweets telling me to just root it, install Cyanogen mod, and get a custom ROM...what's the big deal?" she said in a blog post.

Now enter Windows Phone 7 Mango, which is set for release this fall... Brandon Watson, director for Windows Phone 7, challenged Wood to try it out (at least, the beta version). It couldn't hurt. And besides, it seemed that Wood has had it with her Droid's current state. Plus, if she doesn't like WP7 Mango, Watson said he'd donate $1,000 to a charity.

Complete coverage of Windows Phone on Tech Talk

On the weekend of August 6, Wood got her hands on a WP7 Mango. She activated it, added Facebook integration and three Google-based email accounts. She set out to use the new gadget as her daily device for everything - pictures, navigation, email, calendar, Facebook, Twitter... for two whole weeks.

Now, the experiment is over. How did the Mango do? Here's what we learned from Wood's research:

No differentiator here

"You have all the above benefits: an intuitive and attractive UI, feature-matching (for the most part) with Android and iOS, and a powerful multimedia smartphone experience...but no significant differentiating factor, and a betalike new platform feel that's hard to pick over the mature Android and iOS options."

Instead of iTunes, you have Zune Pass

"The on-phone multimedia app isn't very intuitive... I really wanted to see Zune Pass offer some kind of untethered cloud experience. Both Amazon and Google let you upload music to the cloud and then sync it with devices; Apple is promising to at least scan and match your iTunes library and stream it back to your device; and even Spotify lets you find and manipulate music either on your computer or on your device and sync it up wirelessly. Zune Pass stands alone in the now ancient-feeling request to 'connect your phone to your computer' to load up music."

Nice try, Mango

"Mango is, by and large, a good effort. But at this stage in the game, it's got to be on point if Microsoft has any hope of convincing people to turn their adoring eyes from iPhone or pull them away from the massive marketing machine of Android. Mango is good. A lot of people could use it every day and be totally happy with it. But it's not great."

So will we buy the Windows Phone 7 Mango when it comes out? Probably not. What about you?

  • Ysolt Usigan

    Ysolt Usigan is the editor of lifestyle and technology for women at CBSNews.com