Telstra has long made a habit of customising phone interfaces with its own specific applications. That hasn’t always proved popular with users who would prefer the native interface, but judging from an early look at its Telstra One Hub application for Windows Phone 7, it’s done a pretty good job of adding its own content in a way that’s sympathetic to the Microsoft phone OS’s design.
(Click on the image for a larger version.)
I had a brief play with an early version of Telstra’s Windows Phone 7 suite at Microsoft’s Tech Ed conference on the Gold Coast. Seducing developers into producing applications for Microsoft’s next version of Windows for phones is a major agenda item at the conference.
The Telstra suite covers pretty much the functions you’d expect: access to news headlines (with a big emphasis on sport) and weather details, and quick links to other Telstra properties like the White Pages and Trading Post. Many of these links weren’t working in the version I tried, but the panoramic scrolling between news stories and weather worked very smoothly, and emulated pretty closely the general tile-based experience that Windows Phone 7 offers. (The screen grab shows the entire app, with the area you can see on a typical phone screen highlighted.)
There’s no doubt Microsoft has its work cut out trying to get major market share for Windows Phone 7, given the popularity of iPhone and Android devices amongst smart phone consumers and the continuing dominance of BlackBerry in the business market (to say nothing of Nokia’s grip on the value market). However, if enough productivity apps come along that match this level of performance, it could be an interesting contender when it arrives, allegedly before Christmas.