I got a couple of answers (and many "Wait until Mix 2010" non-answers) from Casey McGee, Microsoft Senior Marketing Manager, to my long list of questions about Microsoft's just-unveiled Windows Phone 7 platform.
Windows Phone 7 series phones are due out before the end of 2010 from a variety of Microsoft partners, Microsoft officials confirmed today during a press event at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona. Microsoft officials are saving the details about the development story around the platform for its Mix 2010 conference in Las Vegas in mid-March. Which version of IE is WP7 running? "It doesn't map cleanly to any version number." It sounds like something between IE 7 and IE 8. Right now, WM 6.x phones running an IE 6 variant (that isn't the same as IE 6 on the PC)
Will WP7 devices be able to run Windows 6.x applications? Wait until Mix 2010 for more on that, McGee said. (I'm betting the answer is no -- at least not without a lot of work.)
Can phone makers change the default search engine to something other than Bing in Windows Phone 7 handsets? No. The button on the front of phones is a Bing button. Users who want something else will have to use the browser to access a different search engine. Will Zune HD apps run on WP7 devices? No comment for now. Also no comment from McGee as to whether Windows Phone 7 apps will be able to run on Zune HD devices.
Will existing Xbox games run on Windows Phone 7s? "A select number of games will be available." Microsoft isn't saying at this point which ones will be on that list.
Are Windows Phone 7s able to multitask? McGee and other Microsoft execs note that during the demo at MWC, Microsoft execs showed music playing while performing another function. But McGee wouldn't say whether only Microsoft services that are part of the "hubs" will be able to do this, or whether third-party apps also will be able to multitask.
How is Microsoft going to change the "Dorado" Zune software to support Windows Phone 7s running Zune music/video? No comment. Wait until Mix 2010 for more on that, McGee said. He also declined to say whether and when Dorado software would run on Macs.
What happens to My Phone, Microsoft's backup/restore service announced for Windows Mobile 6.x phones last year? No comment for now. Sounds like another topic for Mix.
Will Microsoft make the Zune music/video service available outside the U.S.? Yes, McGee said. "It will be available in all countries where Windows 7 Phones will ship." Microsoft is not yet disclosing that list of countries.
Update (February 16): McGee e-mailed me with a point of clarification to his comment: "It’s the playback experience on the phone and the use of the Zune PC software that we announced yesterday as available in all the regions that Windows Phone 7 Series ships in. We are not yet discussing additional Zune services."
What is the OS underlying Windows Phone 7 devices? The operating system running these devices is now officially known as Windows Phone OS 7.0. McGee was not allowed to talk about whether Windows CE is still at its core, or which version of CE it was.
What's with the word "Series" attached to the Windows Phone 7 name? "Series" refers to phones running any version of Windows Phone OS 7.x, McGee said.