Though it will take some time for Windows Phone's Marketplace to match the App Store or Android Market for volume, there's already plenty of big names hitting the store.

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The lack of Twitter integration in the OS is offset by the addition of an official Twitter app. It matches the Windows Phone 7 aesthetic nicely, but isn't as good as its iPhone sibling. Links open in the browser in a new tab, potentially getting rid of a tab you may have already had open.

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The Facebook integration in Windows Phone 7 is somewhat scattered about (you find new photo updates in the Photo hub, for example, while your friends' status updates come into your People hub). There's also no way to send someone a private message, only write on their wall or reply to comment or status update.

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The Facebook app brings everything together in what is actually one of the better Facebook apps around. It looks much closer to the standard desktop Facebook web interface than other apps, making it instantly familiar to those used to accessing the social network from their browser.

HTC 7 trophy

HTC has added several apps to its Windows Phone 7 phones to make them stand out from Samsung Omnia 7 and the LG Optimus 7. The Trophy comes with the Sound Enhancer app, which includes the Dolby Mobile and SRS Enhancement options, as well the HTC Hub and Photo Enhancer.

The former is an app that contains the familiar HTC clock and animated weather, and also leads to further HTC apps through the Marketplace and suggests games.

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The Photo Enhancer is a very simple photo touch-up tool, enabling you to apply a filter to photo stored on the device. Most are a bit heavy-handed for serious use, but one or two can actually make a photo a look better before you upload it to Facebook or email it to someone.

The Window Phone 7 calendar is pretty simple, but nice enough to use. It can tie into Google Calendar, but this function is hidden in the email settings, for some reason, rather than anywhere useful (such as, say, the Calendar app).

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A Maps app is included, powered by Bing. It's fairly fast to load, and the GPS antenna was quick to pick us up. However, we found it generally inferior to Google Maps on the iPhone, and quite far behind the Android version.

The direction search in particular is just far too assuming. Instead of giving you options when you type in something vague, it just decides what it thinks you mean, and is often badly wrong.

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The maps themselves aren't as clear as Google's offering, with the stark white and grey aesthetic not really lending itself to useful route planning.


Being a Windows Phone, Office functions were always likely to be a corner stone. Sure enough, Word, Excel and PowerPoint have made the trip to the new OS, along with OneNote.

While you can create new Word and Excel documents, you can only view and tweak PowerPoint files. While both Word and Excel are capable of doing what you would generally want from them in this form factor (you're hardly going to be laying out a complex pamphlet on a 3.8-inch screen), there were a few niggles.

Unbelievably, accessing the formula bar in Excel doesn't bring up the plus or equals signs prominently. Considering that you need the equals sign to tell Excel that you're inputting a formula, rather than plain text, this is totally ridiculous. Again, we're hoping Microsoft will have a look at this in future versions.

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OneNote is a nice handy tool for combining pictures, words and recordings regarding a subject together into a file so you can keep track of notes in any media. However, without copy and paste to and in bits from websites, this is a pale imitation of what it should be. That's not to take away from the solid foundation here, but it really is a glaring gap in the feature list.

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Xbox Live

Xbox Live is definitely one of Windows Phone 7's trump cards. Though Apple's attempts to create a gaming network with Game Center are admirable, they barely register next to Microsoft's fully armed and operational battle station.

While the ability to see and alter your avatar is nice – as are the bragging rights offered by quick access to your achievements – we think Microsoft has something bigger on its hands here.

With the importing of your friends list and the ability to send messages, Microsoft has effectively created its own social network by adding Xbox Live to its phones. It's a brilliant idea, but one that feels half-formed at the moment.

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You start at the Games hub, with your games available and your avatar visible, but if you want to go in-depth on anything, then an Xbox Live app seems to launch after a little wait. It just makes the whole thing seem not as integrated as Microsoft would have you believe. This stuff should really be part of the Games hub – hell, why not just make it the Xbox hub?

Hopefully, we'll also see some more ambitious games coming soon. There's nothing wrong with Flight Control or Bejeweled, and we're sure people will go for The Sims, but let's see a Windows Phone equivalent of the iPhone's NOVA please.

Oh, and Worms. If there's any game begging for the Xbox/Windows Phone crossover, it's Worms. Get on this, Team 17 and Microsoft.