Today I picked up a new phone, the Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phone. My previous phone was a Samsung Galaxy S Android phone and before that I had the iPhone 3G. I haven’t disliked any of these phones but I’ve switched platforms each time because I love trying new and different things. They all have their strengths and weaknesses and I’ll not go into “X is better than Y” because the differences between them is actually what appeals to me.

First impressions of the Lumia 800 are superb. Windows Phone 7 offers a refreshingly different approach to the modern smartphone and Nokia have wrapped this up in an excellent chunk of hardware. The slightly bulging screen protruding from the front really makes it feel like a futuristic device and the size, weight and texture of the phone in hand has a premium and robust feel.

Windows Phone 7 is a very welcome surprise and sets a good benchmark for what we can expect in the upcoming windows 8. In the first few hours with the phone I found the user experience delightful with a lot of thoughtful touches that really adds to the familiarisation process. For example, in the email application, after performing an action a couple of times (using the context menu to enable a multi-select facility) the phone prompted me to a touch gesture I could use (tap to the side of the list item) instead of going via the context menu to save myself a tap. This is an excellent example of interface-led-discoverability as without this gentle prompt I would have been unlikely to work out this short-cut unless by accident or having to read through documentation somewhere (never going to happen :P).

There’s plenty of reviews for the Lumia 800 so I’ll not go in depth on the phone and features but wanted to share my initial reactions. With the festive period coming up I am hoping to find some time to experiment with developing a couple of Windows Phone 7 apps to become a bit more familiar with some of the intricacies of the process and will document my experiences here.

Good job Microsoft and Nokia, I sincerely hope this is the start of a new competitive player in the smartphone market. More competition encourages more innovation and with a bit of luck one or more of the platforms will have innovated enough to warrant another switch the next time my contract renewal comes about.