Windows Phone 7 was widely regarded as a great base for an OS platform. It was different from all other OS’s in so many ways. The most visible of which was the start screen. Typical smartphones home screens revolved around a row of icons, iOS, Android, WebOS and BlackBerry OS7. In this way, Windows Phone was a massive departure from the norm. Featuring a 4 x 2 layout of solid coloured live tiles, the OS was visually different and starkly polarizing. Hence while some reviewers praised the live tiles and start screen, others viewed it as confusing and disorienting. Another pain point was the usefulness of tiles on the start screen. The Windows Phone start screen was intended as a dashboard of sorts, meant to lay emphasis on a glance and go philosophy where a user could scan the tiles and then plunge directly into the apps that were most important to them. In practice, this was a little complex with only the native app tiles having only full live tile functionality and third party applications being handicapped in that area.
Another area of difference was the presence of hubs. Windows Phone hubs offered a degree of integration which provided a good baseline that could was built upon in the next few releases before being overhauled in 8.1 Blue. The initial hubs were the people hub, Zune, games, photo hubs. The People Hub was the Windows Phone equivalent to the contacts app, with a huge difference. Rather than merely focusing on phone number and email address, Windows Phone 7.0 focused on social aspects of these relationships. Once you signed up with your Windows Live mail, Google Mail or Facebook account, you quickly get an influx of contacts from all these accounts which could be linked together for a cohesive social profile. This hub pulled in pictures, posts on social media, messaging history and others. The main page of the hub consisted of three screens, the first showing your contacts, the other being a what’s new feed that aggregated posts on social media and the last being a panel that showed you your recently viewed contacts. The people hub remains one of the most fantastic aspects of Windows Phone till date, and further improvements to it over the years cement this reputation.