Windows Phone 7 hits technical preview as first reviews roll in

Microsoft's upcoming Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system has today reached its biggest milestone yet, with a technical preview announced placing the OS on the "home stretch" to launch.

The technical preview of Windows Phone 7, Microsoft's hot new operating system which it hopes will challenge the likes of Apple's iOS and Research in Motion's Blackberry OS, will soon be in the hands of "thousands" of developers on prototype devices built by manufactures including Asus, LG and Samsung.

According to Microsoft, more than 1000 employees have been testing the operating system for "usability, battery life, network connectivity, and many other metrics," which it says have helped make the technical preview edition of Windows Phone 7 a "surprisingly high quality" operating system.

"We are certainly not done yet - but the craftsmen (and women) of our team have signed off that our software is now ready for the hands-on everyday use of a broad set of consumers around the world - and we're looking forward to their feedback in the coming weeks, so that we can finish the best Windows Phone release ever together," Terry Myerson, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President of Windows Phone Engineering, wrote tonight.

"We're almost there - but there is much work left to do. Together, with our early adopter customers, developers, OEM, and mobile operator partners we are in the home stretch."

In light of the milestone, Microsoft have provided a number of high profile blogs, including Engadget and Boy Genius Report, a device running the preview of Windows Phone 7, with initial reviews appearing today.

It's believed that the final launch of Windows Phone 7 devices is still expected to occur sometime during the 2010 holiday season.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Apple pulls Chatroulette-like app from the iTunes App Store

Next Story

Foursquare in talks with search engines over data partnerships

69 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

"We're almost there - but there is much work left to do."

So which is it? Whenever anyone says "but", ignore whatever they said before it.

Litespeed said,
So which is it? Whenever anyone says "but", ignore whatever they said before it.
Hardly. If you're 90% of the way through a huge project, that 10% that is left is still significant.

With all the Windows Phone 7 coming out, I wonder what this will do to Bing's market share. I use Bing as my default search engine and it's very competitive to Google.

Oh dear, the hordes of MS shills have descended on the comment sections of the review sites. Redmond is trolling these review sites for pr/propaganda. Are they truly afraid of the opinions of ordinary people, to the extent that they have to deface tech sites/blogs with their mindless manufacturing consent?

LoveThePenguin said,
Oh dear, the hordes of MS shills have descended on the comment sections of the review sites. Redmond is trolling these review sites for pr/propaganda. Are they truly afraid of the opinions of ordinary people, to the extent that they have to deface tech sites/blogs with their mindless manufacturing consent?

My response: http://conspiracylol.com/images/conspiracy.jpg

Found it on Bing, just for you

LoveThePenguin said,
Oh dear, the hordes of MS shills have descended on the comment sections of the review sites.
Yes, how dare anyone see any benefits to WM7. It's not Android or iOS so it must be terrible!

I'm just getting tired of everyone trying to cast this as a zero sum game where only Microsoft, or only Apple, or only Google can win.

Microsoft makes money with Xbox. Sony makes money with PS3.
Microsoft makes money with Windows. Apple makes money with OSX.
Microsoft makes money with SQL Server. IBM makes money with DB2. Oracle/Sun makes money with their database products.
Microsoft makes money with Office. Oracle probably isn't making much off of OpenOffice since it is free, but it co-exists and competes.

Anyway, I think you get my point. All can exist. All can make a profit. And frankly, even if you are a fanboy of any of the parties, you should want them all to succeed. Because if your favorite brand has a competitor nipping at their heels, said brand will be that much quicker to innovate or reduce prices to keep customers happy.


Firethorne said,
I'm just getting tired of everyone trying to cast this as a zero sum game where only Microsoft, or only Apple, or only Google can win.

Microsoft makes money with Xbox. Sony makes money with PS3.
Microsoft makes money with Windows. Apple makes money with OSX.
Microsoft makes money with SQL Server. IBM makes money with DB2. Oracle/Sun makes money with their database products.
Microsoft makes money with Office. Oracle probably isn't making much off of OpenOffice since it is free, but it co-exists and competes.

Anyway, I think you get my point. All can exist. All can make a profit. And frankly, even if you are a fanboy of any of the parties, you should want them all to succeed. Because if your favorite brand has a competitor nipping at their heels, said brand will be that much quicker to innovate or reduce prices to keep customers happy.


YOU FOOL!!! THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE!!!!!

I think people are being really hard on the device and its unfair for reviewers to smsh it, rtm will shine.

sorry for not being on in awhile, Europe Vacation =)

So far, most of the previews have been rather positive (with the exception of InfoWorld, but......they're InfoWorld). The big drawbacks that I see in the platform right now are

1. Copy/Paste: While the feature itself is overblown and the current method in WP7 is good enough for most people, it's still a feature needs to be there especially for Office. Good news is that they've already revealed that it's coming (when we don't know).

2. Full multitasking for 3rd party apps: This one's a bit harder to implement since they won't know how app usage will affect the phone until after the platform has been released. I'd like to see a system similar to Android except with the ability to outright kill an app built into the UI (rather than just keep sending apps to the background like Android's default setup does).

3. HTML5 support: The only reason this is absent is due to the fact that IE9's rendering engine is still being worked on. There will probably be no IE9-based Mobile IE until the rendering engine's code is frozen.

Everything else with the platform is looking better by the day.

The Beta Dev tools have only just come out, these phones are near final software, so devs can test their apps. Release is either October or November it seems, so still a month or two to go to finish it all.

Then work can start on the first updates...

jakem1 said,
I'm sure work has already begun on the first updates - especially copy & paste.

They've already annouced that copy and paste will be coming shortly after launch. Likewise with Flash but that's Adobe's responsibility to finish it up. They've said that third party multitasking will be coming but they are looking at the best way to implement it. They want to allow users the desired functionality but not if it drags down the speed of the phone, user experience, and battery life.

Shouldn't this be past Tech Preview stage already? I would think they should be getting close to RC at this late stage with only a couple months to go.

I wonder if this is all something a little too late.

Microsoft have arrived at the smart phone party very late in the day when Apple and Google have got a good foot hold on the hills and it will take Microsoft along time to pull themselves up that particular hill. It happened to Nokia, they sat back and watched as others overtook their share of the market - as they stuck with S60 (the same as MS stuck with 6.5/6.5.x) and hoping for the best as they had nothing new ready. Hell MS even admitted they missed a generation of smart phone users by waiting.

Yes the 360 has been a blinding success for the gaming division - but they have only the PS3 to really compete with - in the phone market there are plenty of players with experience on the ground - and that counts when it comes to UI and features. If the phone sucks badly then no one will want it - if it has huge issues no one will want it - they are not Apple where people are loyal - even in the face of the problems of the ipone4 - it is still selling - MS need to ensure the product is something people will *want* - just having the MS name on anything will not be the major selling point this time. It is not a desktop OS nor a games console - it is a phone - and if you press people they are all aware of the iphone - but "Windows Phone 7" ... Not so sure that moniker rings a bell in the "teen" market - maybe the oldies may have a clue (all be it small one).

It happens to the big players - the HD2 and Desire are both "HTC" phones - but a lot of people probably don't care one is WM and the other Android - they see a nice big screen and some cool features - that's all that matters to them and they (HTC) probably don't care either as long as they sell.

If WM7 wants to get up and play with the big boys it will need to have and do something that the others don't have or don't do. And from my look at it I don't see anything that stands out as a must have selling point or feature, I just feel that this is going to be a product screaming for SP1 ...

Defiant said,
I wonder if this is all something a little too late.
.
.
.
If WM7 wants to get up and play with the big boys it will need to have and do something that the others don't have or don't do. And from my look at it I don't see anything that stands out as a must have selling point or feature, I just feel that this is going to be a product screaming for SP1 ...

It has the fact it's a new Windows Mobile version from the company that speaks OS like no other. Who cares about the preview tbh; the uselessness of pinning a products success or failure on a tech preview has already been well covered in this thread. The difference with this MS offering at this point in time is that the shark can smell the blood in the water so to speak. Smartphone and mobile tech is 'teh hawt' right now and is only getting hotter and MS is going to (not convinced they have yet with WP7) want a piece of this and eventually put a huge amount of resources and money into this mobile OS. At that point, let the real comparison's begin because I suspect they are going to go after this market with a renewed passion.

Defiant said,
I wonder if this is all something a little too late.

The smart phone market is wide open. Most of world is still using feature phones. The biggest winners will be the ones that cater to the lower end of the smart phone market. Not saying that this will be WP7 (IMO, it most likely it will be Samsung's bada OS), but it's far too early to say anybody is too late.

Defiant said,
I wonder if this is all something a little too late.

Considering that most people still own flip phones or feature phones, it's still very early in this game yet.

lordcanti86 said,

Considering that most people still own flip phones or feature phones, it's still very early in this game yet.

That might be true in the Americas, but in Europe and Asia we're all pretty geared up with new phones, in fact the death of analogue GSM was a huge jump forwards for us. We gained 3G along with video calling, MMS and true web access pretty quickly. 99% of anything you buy over here now is a socially aware and connected phone, as a result the flippy phones have all been consigned to history.

bj55555 said,

The smart phone market is wide open. Most of world is still using feature phones. The biggest winners will be the ones that cater to the lower end of the smart phone market. Not saying that this will be WP7 (IMO, it most likely it will be Samsung's bada OS), but it's far too early to say anybody is too late.

There were late and have have admitted it. They knew they had missed the boat and now need to play catch up with the likes of iOS and Android. They now have a new mobile OS which they have to rely on. If it is found to be wanting come launch day, that will come back and bite them in the a$$. At least MS now have woken up to the fact that the mobile market *is* the market. A shiny OS it may be but without devs & apps it will be dead in the water.

Apple and Android do well because you can get a decent amount of applications for them. WM has been about ages (in various forms) ... how many applications are in the market place? 15000? Maybe? Ignoring all the fart app's there is a good choice over at Apple and Android is not doing badly either.

Without things to install and play with it might as well be a flip phone.

Defiant said,

There were late and have have admitted it. They knew they had missed the boat and now need to play catch up with the likes of iOS and Android. They now have a new mobile OS which they have to rely on. If it is found to be wanting come launch day, that will come back and bite them in the a$. At least MS now have woken up to the fact that the mobile market *is* the market. A shiny OS it may be but without devs & apps it will be dead in the water.

Apple and Android do well because you can get a decent amount of applications for them. WM has been about ages (in various forms) ... how many applications are in the market place? 15000? Maybe? Ignoring all the fart app's there is a good choice over at Apple and Android is not doing badly either.

Without things to install and play with it might as well be a flip phone.

MS recognized that they missed one upgrade cycle, but nobody, including MS, is out of this smartphone game. With carriers subsidizing hardware every two years, nobody needs to be married to a single OS. The smartphone market will always be wide open, and anything is possible in terms of marketshare fluctuation. I can even see Samsung wiping the floor with the iPhone within a couple of years. They're targeting the 1 billion+ unit feature phone market with their bada OS. By converting the current feature phone market to low to mid-range smartphones, they can easily eclipse the market share of iOS and Android in no time. I'm not saying that Microsoft has that luxury of going after that market (and they're clearly not going after it), but I'm saying anything is possible at this point. The current smartphone userbase is a drop in the bucket compared to the entire global mobile phone userbase.

And nobody needs f*cking 200,000 apps to choose from. Most people download free or 99 cent POSes and simply delete them anyway. There are 20K versions of the same cr@p. MS can start with a small set of quality apps covering a wide spectrum of genres and meet the needs of 99% of the users out there.

Defiant said,
99% of anything you buy over here now is a socially aware and connected phone, as a result the flippy phones have all been consigned to history.
Not true. Yes, if you're among a fairly well off population of people with new phones, you might get that impression. But that doesn't mean 99% of people in Europe already own them.

I like the fact that Microsoft went a completely different route with their UI from all the other manufacturers. Besides this is only going to be the first version of the OS, I can't wait to see how it will be a year later when most of the kinks have been worked out.

However I will say that the excessive use of black does make it look depressing, wonder if you can change the colors.

KeR said,
I like the fact that Microsoft went a completely different route with their UI from all the other manufacturers. Besides this is only going to be the first version of the OS, I can't wait to see how it will be a year later when most of the kinks have been worked out.

However I will say that the excessive use of black does make it look depressing, wonder if you can change the colors.

Black backgrounds are for the OMLED screens on the phones. It requires no power to display black on those screen types, since black is actually black....the absence of light.

If you have a normal LCD screen on your phone, the background will be white. You can change those yourself, but they're set for maximum battery life.

You can chose different colors for the homescreen tiles and the general "highlights" colors throughout the OS.

I love Microsoft. But this phone just doesn't feel Windows-like. This should have been a Zune phone.

Nothing about this phone feels like Microsoft...and thats what's throwing me off. I have used a Zune extensively in the past too and it's a good UI for that device. This OS is expanded and it looks kind of complicated. The start screen is dull and boxy. From the looks of it, I would rather have the device that was in the "commercial" on Microsoft research lab that focused on syncing multiple devices (I hope you know what Im talking about).

Who knows if I would change my mind if I handle a WP7 device though...

brolicboy said,
I love Microsoft. But this phone just doesn't feel Windows-like. This should have been a Zune phone.

Nothing about this phone feels like Microsoft...and thats what's throwing me off. I have used a Zune extensively in the past too and it's a good UI for that device. This OS is expanded and it looks kind of complicated. The start screen is dull and boxy. From the looks of it, I would rather have the device that was in the "commercial" on Microsoft research lab that focused on syncing multiple devices (I hope you know what Im talking about).

Who knows if I would change my mind if I handle a WP7 device though...

Windows is known better than Zune so the choice was simple to make. Also MS has made "Zune" into a media marketplace and not a device brand like "iPod". The thinking there is different though it all comes together fine for them once everything is in place. Windows 7, Windows Phone 7, Windows Live, Windows Phone Live etc. Later on when people hear "Zune" they'll think music and videos, just like Xbox makes you think about Games.

I tested the emulator of WP7. Out of the box is the only phone that can do this simple test: search for a movie in a zipcode, select movie, select theater, see theater in map app, and with one click search restaurants/parking near that theater, see reviews/hours of operation of restaurant, then call a friend and SMS the restaurant address so you can meet there, all without having to copy and paste or without having to switch manually to another app. After all these years, it has to be Microsoft that brings back the 'smart' to smartphones.

Charles Keledjian said,
I tested the emulator of WP7. Out of the box is the only phone that can do this simple test: search for a movie in a zipcode, select movie, select theater, see theater in map app, and with one click search restaurants/parking near that theater, see reviews/hours of operation of restaurant, then call a friend and SMS the restaurant address so you can meet there, all without having to copy and paste or without having to switch manually to another app. After all these years, it has to be Microsoft that brings back the 'smart' to smartphones.

This sounds good... I just wish they would partner up with Fandango (and other ticket vendors).

Charles Keledjian said,
I tested the emulator of WP7. Out of the box is the only phone that can do this simple test: search for a movie in a zipcode, select movie, select theater, see theater in map app, and with one click search restaurants/parking near that theater, see reviews/hours of operation of restaurant, then call a friend and SMS the restaurant address so you can meet there, all without having to copy and paste or without having to switch manually to another app. After all these years, it has to be Microsoft that brings back the 'smart' to smartphones.

...My current Windows Mobile phone that I've had for over a year does all of that. And it also does all of that without copying/pasting or switching out of the app.

Microsoft's always been pretty far ahead of the smartphone game, Windows Mobile always had bad rep though.

andrewbares said,

...My current Windows Mobile phone that I've had for over a year does all of that. And it also does all of that without copying/pasting or switching out of the app.

Microsoft's always been pretty far ahead of the smartphone game, Windows Mobile always had bad rep though.

The best part about it is the new bing integration. You just type in the name of a movie and it returns all the local theaters and showtimes that have it playing.

"all memory must be built-in (including micro-sd so long as it's not user-accessible)"

ERRR, WHAT!?
No way will I be getting a WP7 then.

n_K said,
"all memory must be built-in (including micro-sd so long as it's not user-accessible)"

ERRR, WHAT!?
No way will I be getting a WP7 then.


You will be able to access it, put songs on it, but you won't be able to replace the card.

Ambroos said,

You will be able to access it, put songs on it, but you won't be able to replace the card.

Why not? No reason. Just another Microsoft absurdity.

Ambroos said,

You will be able to access it, put songs on it, but you won't be able to replace the card.

Why tho? What does Microsoft have to gain from shackling the OS down?

hdood said,

Why not? No reason. Just another Microsoft absurdity.

So someone doesn't take it out and then wonder where the hell all his data went.

GP007 said,

So someone doesn't take it out and then wonder where the hell all his data went.


Yeah, major problem that.

hdood said,

Yeah, major problem that.

Yes, because I suppose you've never worked with n00bs who've gotten a new phone for once and wonder what went wrong for some reason. Or also, and this has happened to my mom, your SD card gets curropted for some reason and you just lose everything in the end.

I'd call that a major problem.

hdood said,
Have you considered a career in comedy, GP007?

He can follow your steps, hdood, for inspiration. j/k :-)

thealexweb said,

Why tho? What does Microsoft have to gain from shackling the OS down?

I vaguely remember you telling me you were a Microsoft supporter and you didn't just troll articles like these with bad vibes.

thealexweb said,

Why tho? What does Microsoft have to gain from shackling the OS down?


Phone settings, applications, and media are store on it. It is unacceptable that for those things to disappear when the SD card is remove.

thealexweb said,

Why tho? What does Microsoft have to gain from shackling the OS down?


Really easy to upgrade all those devices? Especially when MS will be updating the devices directly?

SK[ said,]Holiday season means Christmas time to the rest of the world yes?

Yes it is. The UK refer to it as holiday season too though.

SK[ said,]Holiday season means Christmas time to the rest of the world yes?

Holiday season, at least for me, means Nov-Dec, not just Christmas.

SK[ said,]Holiday season means Christmas time to the rest of the world yes?

From what I've heard, it's going to be an October release.

"Too bad so many reviewers ended up smashing it to bits figuratively"

I obviously didn't read the same reviews as you. Go and find Paul Thurrott's or Matt Miller's reviews for bias positive reviews rather than bias negative ones. Get the balance

jamiet said,
"Too bad so many reviewers ended up smashing it to bits figuratively"

I obviously didn't read the same reviews as you. Go and find Paul Thurrott's or Matt Miller's reviews for bias positive reviews rather than bias negative ones. Get the balance


On the other hand, Paul Thurrott gives 4 out of 5 for anything but a steaming pile of junk if it's from Microsoft.

Northgrove said,

On the other hand, Paul Thurrott gives 4 out of 5 for anything but a steaming pile of junk if it's from Microsoft.

Yep, my point exactly positive rather than negative bias is still bias!

Northgrove said,

On the other hand, Paul Thurrott gives 4 out of 5 for anything but a steaming pile of junk if it's from Microsoft.

Engadget also gave it a nice review.

Though, I always thought instead of listeing to what other people think of a device, you use it your self and you decide.

Same thing happened to Vista, majority of people who had not used it were the people who were saying how bad it was.

Northgrove said,

On the other hand, Paul Thurrott gives 4 out of 5 for anything but a steaming pile of junk if it's from Microsoft.

Engadget also gave it a nice review.

Though, I always thought instead of listeing to what other people think of a device, you use it your self and you decide.

Same thing happened to Vista, majority of people who had not used it were the people who were saying how bad it was.

mackenziepricee said,

Engadget also gave it a nice review.

Though, I always thought instead of listeing to what other people think of a device, you use it your self and you decide.

Same thing happened to Vista, majority of people who had not used it were the people who were saying how bad it was.

Exactly, you have to use it with your stuff to get a full picture of the device and what the OS can do with your data/media. If you have your windows live ID linked to FB/MySpace etc etc then you're good to go.

mackenziepricee said,

Engadget also gave it a nice review.

Though, I always thought instead of listeing to what other people think of a device, you use it your self and you decide.

Same thing happened to Vista, majority of people who had not used it were the people who were saying how bad it was.

Yes and it was bad... You dont have to listen to me, listen to the Microsoft CFO and the rest of the R&D and software eng. group.
But than... some people like anything they get from MS, just like Paul Thurrott.

Northgrove said,

On the other hand, Paul Thurrott gives 4 out of 5 for anything but a steaming pile of junk if it's from Microsoft.

He isn't bias, however.

Euphoria said,

Yes and it was bad... You dont have to listen to me, listen to the Microsoft CFO and the rest of the R&D and software eng. group.
But than... some people like anything they get from MS, just like Paul Thurrott.

If you're talking about Vista, then the CFO will ofc knock it now that Win7 is out and has great press to show how great 7 is and so on. I've got vista on a PC at work (it does it's job so no reason to update it) and it works fine. I also had vista on my main box till I upgraded to 7 and for those 6 months or so it never gave me any problems.

Managment will "always" knock the old thing to make their new thing look better and get you to buy it.

Northgrove said,

On the other hand, Paul Thurrott gives 4 out of 5 for anything but a steaming pile of junk if it's from Microsoft.

Paul Thurrott rofl

The review of the original 360 made by this guy was so biased i could not believe it.

I read his reviews and previews because they are deep with lot of informations but i take his thoughts with a grain of salt. When i read his blog i generally ignore his thoughts and try to keep the hard facts only.

I think Endgaget preview is a great one.

mackenziepricee said,

Engadget also gave it a nice review.

Though, I always thought instead of listeing to what other people think of a device, you use it your self and you decide.

Same thing happened to Vista, majority of people who had not used it were the people who were saying how bad it was.

I work in technical support and i used Vista A LOT for testing and it was not that great. We had troubles with it not only the lack of drivers at first but the OS too. Maybe we were just unlucky dunno but i doubt. Windows 7 is great so far just started testing it. We decided to not install Vista on workstation we will go from XP to 7.

LaP said,

Paul Thurrott rofl

The review of the original 360 made by this guy was so biased i could not believe it.

I read his reviews and previews because they are deep with lot of informations but i take his thoughts with a grain of salt. When i read his blog i generally ignore his thoughts and try to keep the hard facts only.

I think Endgaget preview is a great one.


The big problem with Thurrott is that he has a huge problem portraying the context of his opinions into his written reviews. He does a much better job of this on his podcast (Windows Weekly). His podcast really is the only way to get Thurrott's true opinion on anything, really.