Microsoft UK head of mobility Phil Moore confirmed that we won't see Windows Mobile 7 phones on the market until late 2010.
Mobile news reports that in a Q&A session at the 'Connect!' technology summit in London recently, Moore said "It has been put back until late next year but it is definitely coming. You're going to see a lot more on Windows Mobile 7. Giving the enterprise users and consumers what they want will be part of Windows Mobile 7. You'll get flexibility on a much easier touch UI."
Moore also admitted that Microsoft is "still playing catch-up" to Apple's iPhone. "It's true, Apple caught us all napping. It launched something that was very iconic, new and unseen with a very good user interface." Moore's admission that the iPhone is leading the way in the smartphone wars is a first for Microsoft. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer famously laughed at the iPhone when it was first introduced, saying "that is the most expensive phone in the world".
In September this year, Microsoft confirmed that the current team of 1,000 developers, working on Windows Mobile 7, are planning to feature social networks as a key element of Windows Mobile 7. Since September it has been quiet on the Windows Mobile 7 front. Microsoft officials confirmed they would talk about Windows Mobile 7 at the upcoming MIX 2010 conference in March next year. Microsoft also posted what appeared to be a concept UI for Windows Mobile 7 on the Office 2010 mobile site.
Microsoft lists CES 2010, Mobile World Congress 2010 and International CTIA Wireless 2010 as upcoming events for Windows Mobile. Maybe we'll see some of Windows Mobile 7 before MIX 2010.