Microsoft Windows Phone 7 Previews Arrive

BGR along with others managed to get hold of a Samsung Protoype Windows Phone 7 device to test for a week. The hardware it’s self will never be launched although the preview is for the software that will be running on it, Windows Phone 7 from Microsoft [MSFT].

The preview covers hardware briefly although it doesn’t cover the specific Samsung handset used due to it never being launched. The requirements though were mentioned which includes a 1GHz CPU, 3.7 inch 4 point capacitive multi-touch display, 5 megapixel camera, 3 hardware buttons, dedicated graphics chip and memory built in with no removable storage allowed. Microsoft are being strict on the requirements to ensure that the Windows Phone 7 experience is good on any approved device that runs it.

The bigger question about Windows Phone 7 is whether it has managed to drop the chains of Windows Mobile 6.5 that would essentially hold it back. We have seen a completely different UI in presentations indicating that there are no connections with Windows Mobile 6.5

BGR describe the UI os being minimalistic and so much so that it feels so minimalistic that it’s actually too lonely and open.

One last thing that really bugs us with the UI is that there is no application switcher. At all. On a BlackBerry you can hold the BlackBerry key, on Android devices you can hold the Home key, and on the iPhone you can double tap the home button. Just simply navigating back, back, back, back and back doesn’t really cut it, and during every day usage, it got tired quick.

Overall the UI was found to not be as polished as other offerings with pixelation and problems with scrolling in that getting to the end of a list was a sudden stop and then a skip back up slightly. It seems like Microsoft still need to work on the scrolling and general UI to make it more friendly.

In terms of the music “Zune Player”, it worked well…

We’ve never been huge Zune fans over here, but we do have to say using the music player on WP7 was a really pleasant experience. We’d absolutely put it second to Apple’s iPod on their iPhone. It is miles ahead of anything coming out of RIM or Android at this point, and it’s great to see a phone that is just as focused on multimedia as it is on say, email.

Problems with the phone call UI were highlighted in the preview with comments on how confusing it is. The number pad cannot be shown by default and when clicking on a recent call you go to a profile page first and then can select to call from that point.

It’s a shame that it has all these problems from the start. The list goes on although they do praise the email functions on Windows Phone 7 although there are still problems highlighted there including emails that slip through filters for example.

Lets just hope the small problems will be ironed out ready for launch. Engadget have a slightly different approach on the preview that is worth a good read also.

The BGR Preview can be found here and the Engadget Preview can be found here.

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