Microsoft unveiled its new and highly-anticipated Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system in New York City this morning with its new software and supported devices on full display. Here's a hands-on look at the stylish and über-modern user interface, seen here on the HTC HD7.
The Xbox Live is surely present, with EA backing most of the titles. Online gaming functionality has been added, and Microsoft reps demoed the process of making your own personal avatar.
While a calendar application is pretty straightforward, like most of WP7, this app feels clean and organized.
Most of the apps found on the Windows Phone 7-based handsets turned on and worked swiftly, yet Internet Explorer hasn't improved much. While the Wi-Fi network was probably crowded, it still took between 30 seconds to a minute to load a page.
If the music player is your favorite app on a smartphone, then check out the HP 7 Surround, which boasts its own slide-out external speaker.
The Music app brings up plenty of information and details about each song when on deck, with album art work and images of the artists that fades into the background.
While the WP7 interface is easy to navigate, it can be a bit bulky and the Settings menu is buried away. This one also doesn't toggle to landscape mode.
One of the niftiest and most impressive apps demonstrated during the presentation was the Maps program. Users can quickly identify their locations on the map thanks to the built-in GPS, and the aerial views are incredibly sharp as well.
Most apps let the user toggle between landscape and portrait viewing, although not everything does. On most of the WP7-devices, this isn't much of a problem. But it can be frustrating when using the slide-out QWERTY keyboard seen on the LG Quantum.
Users can scroll through their contacts lists with photos on the side and save their most important people to the home screen for quicker access.
Microsoft Office has never looked better on a smartphone, but time (and reviews) will tell how much easier it is to operate.
Social networking and third-party apps have not been slighted, as evident by the pre-loaded presence of Twitter.
Nearly all of the WP7 smartphones have a side shutter button for the 5.0-megapixel camera/camcorder with LED flash. And if you need to check out that last photo you just snapped, just slide backwards on the touch screen. No need to surf through a ton of menus and pop-up windows.
All of the WP7 feature high-resolution touch screens. But if you're a texting demon, you might want to consider the LG Quantum on AT&T.
Of all the beautiful new interface designs seen in WP7, the cleanest, freshest and most modern has to be seen in Mail app, which is intended for both business and personal accounts.
Contacts are easily accessible and plainly laid out within WP7 Mail.
Part of the beauty found in the Pictures app isn't just in the photos, but the design layout as well.
WP7 users can toggle images from portrait to landscape within the Pictures app.
Facebook has been further integrated into our lives with the addition of Facebook profiles and walls in the People app, more commonly known as an address book.