Microsoft’s next-generation operating system for mobile phones isn’t expected to launch for at least a few more months. But the company has started sending out demo units to a handful of reviewers. And the results are… interesting. Engadget and Gizmodo have both written up fairly lengthy articles about the phones they’ve received with a pre-release version of Windows Phone 7. Neither seems all that impressed. Here are some of the highlights:
- The user interface is speedy and responsive to touch.
- The UI is divided between homepage tiles, an app list, and hub pages .
- There’s a drop-down menu for notifications (like Android) instead of pop up alerts (like iOS).
- There’s no copy and paste.
- Third party apps don’t support multitasking (like playing music in the background).
- The on-screen keyboard rocks.
- The People app is a mess, which adds social networking data to your contact list whether you want it or not.
- The web browser includes desktop browser code, and is almost as fast as Safari on an iPhone 4.
- There’s no support for Adobe Flash or Silverlight in the browser.
- Mobile Office has some handy social features, but not a lot of editing features — you can’t change fonts, for instance.
- Windows Phone 7’s biggest strength is probably integration of Microsoft services including Bing, Zune, Xbox Live, and Office.
- The “hubs” are sort of like multi-page, multi-faceted apps. For instance, the people hub has a screen for contacts, flick to see a news feed, flick again to see recent contacts, and so forth.
- There’s no support for widgets, but the Live Tiles on the home screen show live updates of things like incoming email messages.
- The keyboard looks like it should suck… but like Engadget, Gizmodo seems to really like it.
- “The Outlook app might be the best mail app on any phone.”
You can check out a hands-on video with the prototype from Engadget after the break.