July 19, 2010, 4:34 PM — Microsoft is so desperate to prove Windows Phone 7's worth in the fiercely competitive smartphone market the company's already giving technical previews to the press, months before the platform's holiday launch.
Already testing Windows Phone 7 are Engadget, Boy Genius Report and InformationWeek, which got to use Windows Phone 7 or see it up close on a Samsung phone that will never be released. From these technical previews, you can get a decent idea of what's good and bad about Windows Phone 7. (Photos are from the evaluating sites.) Here are my gut reactions:
Hot: UI Like Butter
Call me superficial, but it's always bothered me how even the best Android smartphones don't rival the iPhone in terms of smoothness. I really think this can make the difference when drawing in smartphone shoppers, and with Windows Phone 7, Microsoft shows that fast, responsive interfaces aren't the exclusive domain of Apple.
Not: Missing Features
We've known for months now that Windows Phone 7 won't support copy and paste, third-party multitasking or HTML5, but it's always worth repeating. No matter how good a job Microsoft does on Windows Phone 7, these missing features will haunt the platform.
Hot: The Virtual Keyboard
Engadget and BGR both raved about Windows Phone 7's on-screen keyboard. Period and comma keys are always present, and there's even an emoticon button, but most importantly, the keyboard is reportedly quite accurate. With a virtual keyboard like that, who needs physical ones?
Not: Office Limitations
In theory, document editing should be the shining star of Windows Phone 7, with support for mobile Microsoft Office.
But as Engadget notes, the software has a few major drawbacks: You can't change fonts or copy and paste, there's a limited selection of colors, and you can't create new PowerPoint documents on the phone. Users should not have to seek workarounds for these features.
Hot: The Camera Button