1 of 10Image
On Tuesday, Microsoft gave ZDNet UK a hands-on demonstration of its Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system.
One of the successors to Windows Mobile 6.5 — Microsoft's enterprise customers will be served by the upcoming Windows Embedded Handheld — Windows Phone 7 marks a clean break with the past. The platform requires entirely new applications and is based on technologies including Silverlight and XNA.
Microsoft senior product manager Greg Sullivan, who gave the demonstration, told ZDNet UK that the operating system on show was close to complete, although some services "haven't really lit up yet", meaning they are not yet working. These include the marketplace and the games hub, both of which are currently unpopulated with content.
Otherwise, Sullivan noted, the OS will require only "general tweaking and polish throughout the system" before it launches "in the market in a meaningful way this fall for the holiday buying season".
The demonstration was given on a Samsung Taylor, a prototype device of the sort that Microsoft is currently sending out to developers. The handset, which won't ship to the retail market, conforms to Microsoft's minimum specifications for a Windows Phone 7 phone, such as a gigahertz processor and 8GB of internal flash memory.
Manufacturers who have confirmed they will sell Windows Phone 7 phones at launch include HTC, Samsung, Dell and Asus. The launch regions have not been announced yet, although some hints can be gleaned from the fact that the OS will initially be available in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish.
This shot shows the Windows Phone 7 homescreen, which is based on tiles. Some represent applications, while others represent hubs — groups of applications in categories such as multimedia or gaming.
"We don't have faux three dimensionality or chrome — it's about the content," Sullivan said.