Microsoft has begun providing a technical preview of Windows Phone 7, its upcoming mobile operating system platform, which it says is still very much on track for the 2010 holiday season. Most of what’s in the technical preview has been seen or discussed at either Mobile World Congress in January, where Microsoft first unveiled its new strategy, and at the company’s MIX conference in March. However, there are a couple of minor surprises.
Microsoft launched the Windows Phone 7 “hub” concept in February, when we received our first hands-on time. It’s not just the interface metaphor, but clearly at the heart of what Microsoft is doing with the Windows Phone 7 platform. This is Microsoft’s first handheld mobile device (the hardware I’m using comes from Samsung, as did another prototype we tried out in June) to effectively act as a hub for all your digital activities.
Some of the biggest differences in Windows Phone 7 revolve around Microsoft’s tighter control of the entire ecosystem: developers will build in Silverlight, XNA and .Net; apps will only be supported via Microsoft’s Marketplace; and there are a minimum set of hardware requirements for phones. The hardware basics include 256 MB of RAM, with a minimum of 4 GB Flash, WiFi (802.11 b/g), multi-touch capacitive screens and sensors for GPS, accelerometer, compass, proximity and light. Also, every phone will have the exact same feature buttons in the exact same places on the phone, including the hardware Bing button that will be one of three “power” buttons on the bottom of the phone.
Check out Windows Phone 7 Technical Preview video,