How to make your Windows tablet look like Windows Phone 7

I recently noticed that when I told people I bought an ASUS EP121 Eee Slate tablet PC with Windows 7, they usually asked me “What do you do for easy access to nifty apps and news and stuff?” And sadly, it was a question I could not easily answer without adding sarcasm or criticism (a very tough thing to do, mind you).

In all fairness, I did agree that my overpowered, $1,200 multi-touch tablet PC was lacking a nice home-screen user interface like the iOS or Android 3.0. So like all the other problems I had faced in my life, I turned to the internet for help.

Immediately, the internet told me to wait for Windows 8 (which Techerator has been covering already). But unfortunately, I have never been one for waiting for solutions to my life’s problems and, more importantly, I have stopped purchasing operating systems when they are in their product infancy (lesson learned: Windows Millennium Edition). But thankfully, a few short Google searches later I found that the folks at How-to Geek had located a better solution than just waiting for a new OS: use Rainmeter and Omnimo UI to make your Windows 7 desktop look like a Windows Phone 7.

So that is exactly what I did.

Rainmeter and Omnimo

Before
After

Rainmeter is a free program that allows for custom skins to be added to one’s computer desktop for added functionality. All the skins are user-created, and can range from simple battery meters to to-do lists and RSS feeds. If you do enough searching, you’ll find a skin to load into Rainmeter that fits your liking. For my tablet, I followed How-to Geek’s lead and chose Omnimo UI, a custom skin that takes its influence from the Windows Phone 7 OS design and its sleek Segoe UI font. Installation of both Rainmeter and Omnimo UI are accurately detailed in the How-to Geek article, so I will not elaborate too much.

Once installed, Omnimo walks you through the skin selection process and gives you three options: two skins with nifty Windows Phone 7-esque panels and clear text, and the third skin being a blank slate to start from.

If one chooses the pre-built skins, it is important to note that thanks to Omnimo’s features, they are not set in stone. Rather, every single panel and text item can be tweaked, moved, and deleted to suit one’s preferences. Editing a panel can be done by finding the wrench icon located nearby and the deleting can be done by right clicking anywhere on it and going to the “unload skin” option.

So...many....OPTIONS

The right click menu is also where all the other tweaking happens. Panels can be added and subtracted, and whole homescreen skins can be backed up and stored for future reference. The configuration options are extensive and comprehensive, with the only things being excluded are adding one’s personal preferences to the panels.

If one feels ambitious enough to start from scratch, they can use the “WP7” menus to choose panels to add and place them on the screen to their liking. This one above was created in one evening to suit my “Quick demand for what’s happening around the world while eating breakfast” mood.

I will say this, though, creating a custom home-screen is not as easy as it looks due to the fact that some of the panels and editing menus are tiny and tweaking them to exactly your liking can become increasingly frustrating and tedious.

Two tips when dealing with custom panel movements:

  1. Use the tablet pen to move the panels around and edit them (that makes a huge difference).
  2. Lock the panels into place once they are in a suitable location by right clicking on the panel, going to “Manage Skin,” and deselecting “Draggable” in the lower right. Adding shortcuts can also become extensive as the editing menu will not find the icon for you once you add the path of the executable.

So take that, tablet PC objectors. Thanks to Rainmeter and skins like Omnimo, one can have the luxury of an expensive, high-powered tablet with Windows 7 and a clean user interface at the same time. No sarcasm intended.

Launcher 7 Brings the Windows Phone 7 Experience To Android

Windows Phone 7 may not have caught on like Microsoft was hoping it would, but it does present some interesting ideas. One of those is its minimalist, tile-based homescreen. Thanks to the wonders of Android, you can now get that same experience on your Android phone with Launcher 7.

Windows Phone 7 (and by proxy Launcher 7) eschews the familiar rows and columns of icons used by stock Android and iOS in favor of two columns of tiles. You get less information on the screen at one time, but it certainly looks nice while still remaining usable.

Like most Android homescreen replacements, Launcher 7 is dead simple to start using. After installing, just hit the Home button on your phone. You’ll get a list of your installed homescreen replacements, and if you wish you can set a default at this time. If you end up trying out a bunch of homescreen replacements simultaneously, consider installing Home Switcher. It simplifies the process of launching your various homescreen replacements and changing which one to use by default.

Launcher 7 keeps things simple with only two “main” screens. The tiles screen is where you’ll find your most-used applications. You can also simulate Windows Phone 7’s active tiles by adding standard Android widgets through the Add Special Tile menu option (due to space limitations only 1×1 and 2×1 widgets can be added).

Swiping to the right brings you to a list of all your installed applications. If your list is as extensive as mine you can jump to any other letter by tapping a visible letter on the screen. Turning one of these applications into a tile on your main screen is as simple as dragging it over.

If the default color scheme isn’t to your liking it can be modified from the Launcher 7 Settings menu option, along with a host of other customizations. Individual tiles can be modified, rearranged, and deleted by long pressing on them.

Launcher 7 is available in the Android market in both a free ad-supported version and an ad-free version for $2.

Is Nokia building a Google Wallet competitor?

Nokia has alluded to a Near Field Communication (NFC) driven wallet app for a long time, but is it finally almost here? According to NFC Rumors, Nokia is in talks with JP Morgan to bring an NFC payment app to Windows Phones and possibly devices powered by Symbian, their home brew OS.

Nokia is still the reigning leader in the number of handsets they produce each year, and this could provide much-needed competition for Google’s runaway train Android, which has been giving the Windows Phone an unceremonious ass-kicking in recent months.

Google Wallet, which has been released for public testing on the Sprint network and only with the Nexus S, has been met with positive reviews but is also being met with resistance, as payment with Wallet is contingent upon the presence of a MasterCard PayPass terminal. Nokia and Microsoft entering the fray may bring some clout to the idea of ubiquitous mobile payments and hasten the transition from traditional payment options.

So, if the rumor holds true, what does that mean for us? For starters, it gives credence to Google’s idea of carrying your wallet in your phone by showing the public that companies will be competing for the space. This should allow the mobile payment niche to start maturing and gain consumer confidence. It also shows that Nokia and Microsoft are poised to make some big moves with Windows Phone 7 on Nokia hardware.

A lot is unclear about this deal, like whether Nokia will be producing the software or simply facilitating it with hardware. Supposedly, we’ll be finding out soon, as the deal is with JP Morgan is nearly complete.

Windows Phone 7: Where’s my Browser?

Padlock
Microsoft has locked itself out of the competition.

With the release of the Mango update back in September, Microsoft undoubtedly improved Internet Explorer on their Windows Phone platform. WP7 now features a full-fledged version of IE9 designed specifically mobile devices, which is leaps and bounds ahead of the browser that was available before the update.

However, many WP7 users like me would love to have Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, or even Safari on their handsets. Why are these popular third-party browsers nowhere to be found on the platform?

Blame Microsoft

For some reason, the folks in Redmond have decided that all web browsing on their mobile OS should be based on Internet Explorer, meaning that any third-party browsers must use the IE rendering engine that is native to the phone.

Developers are limited to customizing the UI of the browser, while using the rendering engine of the phone’s native IE9 Mobile. A few developers have done just that, with varying success. A couple of the most notable browsers available in the Marketplace, Browser+ and Browse On, have done well to improve the lacking interface of IE, but still have their problems.

If Mozilla or Google were to bring their beloved browsers to the platform, they’d without a doubt be great. Unfortunately, they have no plans to do so, thanks to the restrictive nature of Microsoft’s platform.

Microsoft has told developers they’re welcome to try to make a good web browser with Silverlight, the technology that most apps are built with on WP7. As a developer, that doesn’t sound like fun at all. It’s not surprising that Mozilla is ignoring the platform entirely.

Google has several apps available for Android and iOS, including Google+. On WP7, Google currently has nothing more than a Google Search application that, upon clicking on a search result, opens the target page in Internet Explorer. Good grief.

It appears that Microsoft’s close-minded approach to third-party support is keeping some of the industry’s largest hitters away from the platform, which is effectively limiting the platform’s ability to grow into a respectable player in the smartphone market. Frustrating third-party developers is a sure-fire way to frustrate your user base, which is a questionable approach for a company that is trying to strengthen their position in a highly competitive market. Hopefully Microsoft changes their stance on this issue, not only for their own benefit, but for the benefit of their users, and for the benefit of the smartphone market as a whole.

A Windows Phone and My Mother: A Perfect Match?

It’s that time again. Yep, I am of course talking about contract renewal day for the family cellphone plan. For me and my sister, the phone choices are pretty obvious (an Android for me and an iPhone for her). But once mom starts talking smartphone, the whole cellular arena starts to get a little grey.

Now granted, my mother is already at an average level of technological intelligence. She does approximately 75% of her job with a company computer, uses a digital camera and can organize and back-up her digital picture library, and has all of her contacts precisely managed via Microsoft Outlook. So with that in mind, which smartphone OS is truly the best for her? Android? Apple? Or how about that newcomer by Microsoft, the Windows Phone 7? Well, I got to the bottom of it by doing an exclusive interview.

The Interview

Me: For starters, what phone did you have prior?

Mom: I had the HTC Ozone, which was similar to a Blackberry. It was a smartphone with a physical keyboard and [non-touch] screen. I didn’t like that the screen was too small, and it was hard to find the settings for the phone. It had plenty of settings options, but it had many different menu screens to get to them. The phone was complex and not very intuitive.

Me: Which new phone did you pick then?

Here's a hint: she got the HTC Trophy

Mom: I picked the HTC Trophy in the end [Which is a 3G Windows Phone OS 7 device by Verizon]. It has easy syncing with my Microsoft Outlook [through Microsoft Exchange]. Also, I really wanted a touchscreen.

Me: Is the touchscreen easy to use then?

Mom: It takes a bit to get used to…some training. Some days, I will touch where I do not want to, and an unwanted program will open. Ultimately I wanted to get to a new technology, and Windows Phone was the easiest.

Me: Alright, let’s talk contacts next.

Mom: Everything was done with Microsoft Outlook, so all my contacts synced well. I didn’t need to manually load any of them. I like the search function in the contacts app, and [when immediately opened] it shows me the last six to eight people I called. I can then take a person and pin them to the front home screen. Like speed dial. Besides that, [the contact interface] is easy to use. Once I dial a number or get a call I can add it to my contacts, which makes it very intuitive.

[Authors Note: Due to the liability of personal information being leaked, the home screen and their customizable boxes were not photographed. See the official website for more pretty pictures of the Windows Phone OS in action.]

Me: Any other things you like about the HTC Trophy?

The Windows Phone 7 main app menu

Mom: I like the physical little search button on the phone; it takes me right to the internet. The main menu screen is easy to use and everything I need is right at my fingertips. I am just learning how to add apps, but I do not know how to get rid of the programs I don’t use. For a phone with new technology, it is so easy to figure out. I added the family’s home email account all by myself. I thought, “Oh, that’s pretty easy.”

The messaging application is simple, and gives me a list of who I’ve talked to most recently. Also I like the text messaging conversation boxes. It shows what I said, then on the other side of the screen it shows what they said.

I also like that I can move boxes around on the home screen…[Gets engulfed in her new phone for a few seconds]…I can get apps now; I couldn’t do that before.

Me: Okay, so what don’t you like about the phone?

Mom: The phone feels clunky when it is dialing. I also don’t like how I have to use the volume control to set the phone to Vibrate Mode. I just want one button to set it; boom and done. I am getting used to using the top button to turn the touchscreen on and off as well.

I also do not like the where the physical camera button is. It’s in the wrong place. See how the adapter is on this side and the camera is placed in the exact same spot on the other side? When you plug the adapter in you can accidentally hit the camera button. The adapter should be on the bottom. I’ve taken more pictures of nothing than anything else! The camera itself is fine, though.

I had to setup a Windows Live email account with this phone, which is crazy as I will never use it.

I haven’t tried Bluetooth yet; I wouldn’t even know how to set it up. I also don’t like how the Airplane mode is hard to…Oh wait, here it is. And Bluetooth too. The settings menu is so easy to use.

Me: So it appears that the Windows Phone OS has a few pros and cons associated with it. If you could ask Microsoft to change one thing, what would it be?

Mom: I want more choices for changing the reading panes [On the home screen and main menu screens]. Currently, I can only do White font on a Black background or Black font on a White background with the colored panes; I’d like more color options. When it asks to “match my mood,” its either “dark” or “light.” I wish it had more.

Me: Bottom line, would you recommend this phone?

Mom: Yes I would. I know I can’t convert anyone else to this phone and between Apple and something else I can’t really compare it, but from what I went from to this has been positive and easy. Overall, I’ve been very pleased….except for the battery life, of course.

[End of the Interview]

Author’s Closing Comments

Sometimes, it is important to take a piece of technology and see how a different demographic would handle it. Therefore I wish to thank my mother for allowing me to capture her opinions and reconstruct them into a honest review of a Windows Phone device. From what I can tell, the Windows Phone 7 OS operating on the HTC Trophy is crisp, easy to navigate, and fairly intuitive for the average user. More importantly, these conclusions equate to my mother being satisfied with her smartphone choice. And really, that is all I truly care about.

Review: Minesweeper for Windows Phone 7

Minesweeper for Windows PhoneLast month, Microsoft released two free Xbox Live games for Windows Phone 7, one of which being the classic Minesweeper. While releasing any game for free is a great way to ensure a lot of people play it, is Minesweeper for WP7 worth your valuable time?

Being the nerd that I am, I was excited to see Minesweeper see a release on WP7. I’ve sunk many hours into this game over the years, becoming quite good at Expert level puzzles. Originally released for the Windows platform in 1990, this version manages to add some nice new features while staying faithful to the original.

Gameplay

The core of the game consists of the original gameplay we all remember. If you love Minesweeper on the PC, everything will feel familiar here. The game board consists of a matrix of little squares, with the size of the board and number of mines varying based on the difficulty. The game starts when the player clicks on an arbitrary square, at which point the mines are randomly generated and hidden behind the squares. Of course, the challenge comes from figuring out which squares contain the mines. Clicking on a non-mine square will reveal a number indicating how many adjacent squares contain mines, giving a clue as to where the mines may be hidden. However, make a single mistake, and BOOM! It’s game over.

New Features

Gameplay
Updated, yet simplistic graphics for your finger-poking pleasure.

While the core game is definitely not groundbreaking, Microsoft has added some new twists to make the game really shine. The most obvious new feature is the power-up system, which gives the player certain powers designed to help solve the puzzle. One power-up acts as a shield and allows the player to click a single mine without losing. Another uncovers a certain amount of squares and automatically flags any mines within the range.

As the game is played, experience points are earned which unlock new power-ups. Each power-up has a cost associated with it, and each time it is used, tokens are deducted from the token bank. Over time, the tokens regenerate, at which time the player can use more power-ups. This system definitely helps add a new dynamic to the classic gameplay, while paring down the difficulty of some of the harder puzzles. Did I mention that highest difficulties are downright tough?

Aside from the power-up system, this version also adds Speed Mode, which is nothing more than playing with a count-down timer, rather than the classic count-up timer. You will also find Xbox Live Achievements, with a paltry 50 Gamerscore available to be earned. More importantly (this is a mobile game after all) Microsoft has given players the ability to suspend a game at any time and resume it later. This is perfect for receiving phone calls or texts, or when your real life requires you to temporarily stop playing, without losing any of your progress.

The only drawback of the game being free is that it is ad-supported, so be prepared to watch ads come in and out across the top of the screen. It in no way hinders gameplay or enjoyment of the game, but it is worth noting.

Bugs

I did experience one minor bug worth mentioning during my extensive playtime with the game. Occasionally when I would try to start a new game, the power-up selection screen would pop up, even when I had not clicked on it. I’d click the exit button to get it to go away, and then start the new game. This would seem to cause the new game board to be unresponsive, forcing me to exit back to the main menu. It’s definitely annoying, but it’s not a game-breaker and fortunately, it doesn’t occur all that often.

Summary

Overall, the WP7 version of Minesweeper is a solid brain-teaser. Minor glitches aside, if you love the classic Minesweeper you’ll probably love this updated version as well. If you never got into the classic game, this version may add enough fluff to warrant a second look.

Windows Phone 7 ‘Mango’ Has Officially Been RTM’d

Windows Phone “Mango” has officially been RTM’d. What’s RTM? It means that Microsoft has given the new build its stamp of approval and released it to the manufacturers. Once it’s in the hands of companies like Samsung, HTC, LG and others, the finished software will go through rigorous testing and configurations to make things run smoothly on their respective handsets. That means that everything is on schedule as the company preps for a fall release.

But the real questions is: Why should you, as a potential Windows Phone 7 user, be excited? Well, there are about 3 reasons.

People

Windows Phone Mango is furthering Microsoft’s vision of making your phone about more than just communicating, they want it to be primarily about the people you communicate with. Meaning that the focus should be on them, not on how you get in touch with them.

One of the new features that addresses this is unified messaging – the messaging app can switch between SMS, Live Messenger, and Facebook Chat without breaking a sweat or interrupting your thread of messages. Threaded email will also be introduced, along with the ability to selectively merge your inboxes; for example, you can choose to combine your Hotmail and Gmail accounts, but leave another email account separate.

Grouping of contacts is now an option as well, letting you see social updates from a specific group of people or easily send out group emails, text messages, and so much more. To add to this, there is a deeper integration of social networks beyond Facebook. Twitter and LinkedIn are both slated to be added to your contacts, allowing you to keep up with their social presence in one simple glance.

Web

Before you get too excited, no, Mango will not be the first mobile software to introduce Flash to the market. What it will have though, is Internet Explorer 9. Not a mobile version of the desktop browser, but the same desktop browser just loaded on your phone. In early tests, the new browser was substantially speedier than it’s current iOS, Android, and BlackBerry counterparts.

Bing has some great new features as well. Local Scout extends the search functions to give you detailed information based on your location. This could mean highlighting the hottest restaurants or informing you of seasonal attractions that may be on at the time. Plus, you’ve got Bing Vision, which is essentially Google Goggles for Windows, allowing you to scan barcodes and QR codes to gain additional information.

A cool use of Bing Vision was demoed by scanning the cover of a book, which then opened the Kindle app and the user could instantly purchase the eBook. This is a recurring theme in Mango, offering up apps as solutions to searches; for example, a search for movie showtimes may bring up the Fandango app that’s loaded on your phone.

Finally, Bing Audio will also be added. It’s essentially a Bing version of the popular app Shazam, and allows for the tagging of music that is played to the device as well as lyric searches and instant mp3 downloads.

Applications

Microsoft has really stepped up their game here in order to lure in developers from competing smartphone platforms. One of the biggest changes is multitasking support, which will allow some simple tasks to be operated in the background, with most apps simply being suspended until they are reopened. Holding down the “back” button will bring up a grid of open applications that you can slide through with ease.

Live Tiles have gotten a few tweaks, giving developers access to previously restricted content that will allow them to deeply integrate live tiles with their respective applications. This means less time spent on your phone as more and more information will be available at a glance, just like Microsoft has wanted all along.

Now are you starting to feel the excitement? Mango may not be a huge change, but it is bringing a polished feel to the mobile OS that it needed in order to compete with it’s more mature peers and it seems to be only a matter of time before it takes its rightful place beside iOS and Android.

Review: Official Twitter App for Windows Phone 7

When it comes to smartphones, there are certain apps that people cannot seem to live without these days. Sure, any old cell phone can make phone calls and send text messages, but who wouldn’t want to tweet random thoughts throughout the day, upload photos and comment on their friend’s walls during a long road trip, or check-in to each and every fine establishment they ever set foot in? Social media has changed the way we live our everyday lives, making these apps an essential download on every smart phone.

Available as a free download from the Microsoft Marketplace, the official Twitter app functions about as well as you would expect. With the touch of a finger, you can view recent tweets from all of the people you are following. With one more touch of a finger, you can create a new tweet to send to the world. Add in a few swipes, and you can see all of your mentions, messages, and lists, all without leaving the home screen. There’s nothing really groundbreaking here, but it works well.

It’s entirely possible to manage your entire profile and all of your Twitter settings straight from this app without need to use the Twitter.com website at all. However, there are some places the user interface that could be tweaked to be a little more user-friendly. For instance, to access your profile, you must click the “…” in the lower right corner and then select “profile.” This will allow you to view your profile, but how would I edit it? The pencil icon in the bottom toolbar looked a lot like an “edit” button to me, but upon poking it with my index finger, the app wanted to start a new tweet. To edit your profile, you must again hit the “…” in the lower right corner and then select “edit profile.” Here you can upload a new photo from your phone, as well as modify your personal information. Why it’s hidden under so many extra clicks and deceiving icons, I’m not sure. In the end, it does work well, albeit a little clumsily.

Another feature the official app doesn’t offer is the ability interact with other social networking sites, specifically the ability to simultaneously post your tweets to your Facebook profile as status updates. Other third-party apps provide this functionality, but I have not had the opportunity to work with any of them. I tend to shy away from third-party apps due to the threat of malware, at least until they’ve been released for a while and build a solid reputation.

And did I mention the official app is free? Who doesn’t like free?

Overall, the official Twitter app for Windows Phone 7 is a great app, providing all of the functionality you would expect from Twitter.com. None of the interface flaws or questionable design decisions hold it back too much, and future updates are sure to shore up some of my complaints. While I haven’t had the opportunity to spend time with competing apps, this one more than whets my tweeting whistle.

Windows Phone 7: A Guided Tour

Windows Phone 7

Windows Phone 7 is the most refreshing take on a smartphone OS to date. I find iOS to be awkwardly simple, with little innovation or interest generated by the operating system itself. Instead, Apple relies on its App Store and solid hardware to keep the customer’s attention. Android has its established fan base that appreciate the many options and customizations available to them, but I can’t stand the user interfaces that come preloaded.

When my iPhone took a nasty tumble the other day, it gave me a perfect excuse to spend some time perusing the Internet for anything and everything Windows Phone 7.

Read on to find out what all the fuss is about!

Windows Phone 7 Basics

The Home Screen

Home Screen

Windows decided on a flat, colorful, graphic interface that really makes it stand out amongst its peers. Instead of taking the TouchWiz route that Samsung went with for their Android Custom UI and copying the already successful design of iOS, they took an entirely different approach.

It is all big, bold squares and white icons with lists and primary colors. No 4×4 layout; the tiles are more varied in sizes with both rectangular and square icons. The home screen can be customized the same as most smartphones, by choosing which apps are available and allowing you to switch around their order at will.

Hubs

People Hub

These are apps that actually span multiple screens. This concept is used in the Twitter, Facebook, and Netflix apps. It seems to work well, swiping across the screen to see status updates or Twitter replies. Certainly a lot nicer than opening up separate apps. A great example of just how useful the Hubs can be, is the People Hub.

You can slide left or right across the screen to see different information about your contacts, even showing a collage of profile photos. A swipe to the right brings up a list of all your contacts and clicking on a name not only brings up their phone number, it also brings up the option to write on their Facebook wall. In addition, it will show their current profile photo and status update.

Live Tiles

Live Tiles

It turns out the simple squares on the home screen are actually not that simple. For instance, the email and phone tiles both show the number of unread emails and missed calls respectively. But of course, that is not all they do.

The subject and time of your most recent upcoming appointment will be featured on the calendar tile and pinning contacts to your home screen will display their profile photo, as well as their latest status updates.

Notifications

Toast Notification

The consensus on Windows Phone 7’s notification system is that it is better than iOS (not hard to achieve), but still not quite as good as Android’s system tray. They are known as “toast” notifications, sliding down from the top of the screen when you receive a new message, or email, etc. Battery life and Wi-Fi information are handled in the same way, visible after sliding down from the top of the screen.

Office Integration

Office Integration

Here is where Windows Phone 7 really shines. After all, who does Office better than Microsoft? No one. It’s called Microsoft Office!

Oh, if only that were true! It’s not. The Office integration leaves a lot to be desired. They seem to have put the focus on collaboration rather than creation.

Word has quite a few missing features that you’d think to be easy to implement, like the inability to change fonts or the choice of only four text colors: orange, green, red, and black. At least they can display the documents well enough.

Excel seems to fare better with many of its features successfully making the transition to the small screen. But who is going to use Excel on their mobile?

PowerPoint is more of the same. It allows you to playback already finished slideshows, but if you are hoping to do any editing or creation, then you are out of luck. But I guess it is better than nothing.

Apps

Netflix

Surprisingly, the Windows Phone 7 market is faring quite well in terms of the Apps available and its overall quality. The obvious ones are there, like eBay, Netflix, Flixster, and Pandora as well as Facebook and Twitter. Angry Birds, however, isn’t due until May 25! *gasp*

In the meantime, might I suggest “Bye Bye Brain”?

Devices

Samsung Focus

Front of Samsung FocusBack of Samsung Focus

Stop right there. The Samsung Focus is the “Be All, End All” of Windows Phone 7 devices. It is the thinnest of all the devices on offer and has the best screen thanks to Samsung’s Super AMOLED technologies. However, if you are on the other side of that big body of water (read: Ocean) you will be equally happy with the Dell Venue Pro or the Samsung Omnia 7. Or if you are a Sprint subscriber, the HTC Arrive will be your first choice!

Don’t be Interesting, Be More Interesting than Every Person I’ve Ever Met

“I don’t have to be more interesting than you. I don’t have to be more interesting than your friends. I have to be more interesting than your phone; more interesting than ALL the friends you’ve ever had.”

Nick Douglas nailed one of the biggest problems we have with modern social interactions in a recent YouTube rant (note: brief NSFW language at the end) – it’s hard to get somebody’s attention when they’ve got all their friends’ life stories in their hand.  I’m just as guilty as the next person, there are some times when you simply get glued to your phone and tune out the real world.

Microsoft has been making big headlines this week with the introduction of their new line of phones, Windows Phone 7, and they’ve capitalized on this concept with their latest marketing campaign.

Besides being a brilliant advertisment, they reinforce the point that we’re wandering through some pretty amazing situations and hardly noticing (although it should be noted that their goal is to sell us their phone, not really stop us from being distracted).  It’s not just your mobile phone’s fault of course, the simple fact is that there is a lot of interesting material available at your fingertips through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and all over the internet.

It’s safe to say that digital distractions are only going to get worse as technology permeates through additional facets of our lives.  I’m excited about the digitalization of society – but what price are we willing to pay to have the internet be a part of our social lives?

Share your thoughts with me in the comments. I mean, I already have your attention, right?