One of WP7’s big selling points is the unique visual aesthetic, which is meant to carry over through all the applications on the phone, making everything feel like part of a unified whole. Personally, I think Microsoft’s hard line against manufacturers and carriers significantly changing the UI is a fantastic thing, and prevents the platform from descending into unusable bloatware — like you see with some versions of Android (Sony, I’m looking at you.)
Not everyone feels this way, and in an interview with Pocket-Lint, HTC’s director of user experience Drew Bamford said this:
Q. Windows Phone 7 doesn’t let you customise the user interface as much as you would probably like, does that frustrate you?I see it as another challenge. It’s another constraint in the design, but it’s what makes design fun for most designers. Constraints allow you to know the space you are working in, and then let you go nuts in that space.I suspect that those constraints will loosen in time allowing us to do more. Microsoft will let us loosen the reins a bit, but certainly it’s a real constraint the kinds of things they are enabling.I wouldn’t preclude HTC in the future doing something on a different operating system or even doing our own operating system. I don’t think that’s out of the question, because our goal is to address the needs of our users, and if we don’t have the freedom to do what we need to on a given platform we’ll try another platform or create our own.At the moment on Google and Microsoft, we are able to provide a great experience for our users, so everything is working great at the moment, but we will do everything necessary to meet the need of our users.