Windows Phone 7 portal goes live

Microsoft has just launched their new Windows Phone portal which heavily features Windows Phone 7 and provides a load of content for prospective buyers and owners. This portal has actually launched earlier than many would have expected, considering that Microsoft will be announcing the availability of Windows Phone 7 on Monday.

The portal is designed with a heavy focus on squares, rectangles and the Segoe font, in essence the Metro UI used on the devices. The portal has 4 main areas for both Windows Phone 7 and 6.5 devices. The areas are “discover”, “buy”, “how-to” and “applications”.

The discover page allows users to watch videos of the some of the features of Windows Phone 7 with a great focus on the Live Tiles and Hubs which aren’t found on other mobile platforms. There are even walkthroughs for the email and calendar functionality, searching and maps, and the accompanying Windows Live service which incorporates Find My Phone.

Currently there is nothing listed in the buy section of the site although it is expected that this page will be populated on Monday after Microsoft hold their event in New York and London.

Microsoft appears to have gone all out on the amount of topics covered within the how-to part of the portal. All hubs have about 20 different help topics, plus there are many basic, and getting started, help areas. There are also several videos which expand on the help topics, such as showing users how to customise their device. Microsoft will provide “featured topics” and “popular topics” lists to surface key things on the mobile OS.

The final area of the portal has some information about the apps that will be featured on Windows Phone 7; however, currently there isn’t much information. There are small blurbs about some of the Xbox Live games that will feature on the devices and more information for each game can be found on the Xbox site. There are even links to help and how-to topics on this page.

There are some showcase pages too which show off key applications such as Office. On the Office page, all 5 of the applications have a small blurb and also have a corresponding “help and how-to” page with many features documented.

From digging around this new portal, some small pieces of information have been discovered. It is now possible to download the Zune PC Software outside of the US (without needing to change one’s location on the website). This is only version 4.2 of the Zune software and not 4.7 which will be necessary to sync with Windows Phone 7.

It appears that Office will get a new page or site at office.com/mobile of which its purpose is currently unknown. It might be a way to access documents stored in the cloud on mobile devices or it might just be additional information on how to use Office Mobile.

It looks like Microsoft will use this portal to ensure that new users can find out how to do anything they want on the device and will even point out some features users might not have realised.The portal could yet prove to be even more interesting when all the links are working and the “buy” page is populated with devices that can be purchased.

Windows Phone 7 devices are expected to be announced on Monday and Neowin will be covering both the New York and London events.

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