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Windows Phone 7 Hits Technical Preview Milestone 195

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the touch-me-there dept.
suraj.sun writes "Microsoft's upcoming Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system has today reached its biggest milestone yet, with a technical preview announced placing the OS on the 'home stretch' to launch. 'We are certainly not done yet — but the craftsmen (and women) of our team have signed off that our software is now ready for the hands-on everyday use of a broad set of consumers around the world — and we're looking forward to their feedback in the coming weeks, so that we can finish the best Windows Phone release ever together,' Terry Myerson, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President of Windows Phone Engineering, wrote tonight." There's coverage around the net including CNet, NeoWin and Engadget.
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Windows Phone 7 Hits Technical Preview Milestone

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  • Nice (Score:2, Informative)

    I foresee that this will be like Vista, Win7, or Zune. It's all hyped up by Microsoft's marketing department where advertising money is no object, and a few people buy it, and whammo! Kludgy, weird user interface that is harder to use than what they had out ten years ago (e.g. Win CE).
    • by DWMorse (1816016)

      I disagree that Win 7 is ALL hype, though it was fun to attend the conference for a half-hour, get free donuts, and a copy of Win 7 Ultimate, and a shirt. There's substance to it, regardless of whether or not it's on par with [insert favorite distro here.]

      Last I heard, Phone 7 didn't even have copy-paste. Is that still true?

      • by ashridah (72567)

        It won't, on launch, but it'll probably catch up with one of the first few 6-month mandatory updates (the carrier can't hinder that process either, it's in the contract they have with MS), i'd imagine.

        That said, i can count on one hand the number of times i've used copy&paste on my old g1. I think i did it to copy content from failed SMSs that bounced due to network congestion/no signal, and that's about it, so i find it hard to get worked up over that. Perhaps i wrote more on my phone (i tend to browse

    • Re:Nice (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hedwards (940851) on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:33AM (#32950792)
      To be fair, the Zune could've been a success had MS not screwed it up. The hardware was actually quite good and the few people I know that owned them really liked them.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Darkness404 (1287218)
        The Zune could have been a success if MS hadn't decided to basically be late to the iPod revolution. I don't think there is a single person who looks at the Zune and doesn't see it just as an MS branded iPod in poo colors. Yes, the Zune's hardware was nice, but the average person sees it as a crappy rip-off of an Apple product, not to mention MS has tried to do things similar to the Zune with "Plays For Sure" except for the fact that the Zune can't even play that content.

        The Zune was dead on arrival, ha
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by GF678 (1453005)

        Well it would have been nice if Microsoft bothered to sell the Zune overseas, such as here in Australia. But they didn't. Why they didn't is an exercise left up to those who give a shit. Not my problem if Microsoft didn't think seriously enough about their product to warrant worldwide competition with the iPod.

      • Inertia is a powerful thing though. A system must be a LOT better to displace an established competitor. Linux fans should know this well, their OS is technically superior to Windows in pretty much every way, but Windows has the established customer base. Once systems are in place they tend to stay in place.

        That's why getting into the phone market is so important to Microsoft. If they can't break in soon they never will. It may already be too late.

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          A system must be a LOT better to displace an established competitor. Linux fans should know this well, their OS is technically superior to Windows in pretty much every way, but Windows has the established customer base.

          Windows' dominance comes from the fact that damned near every PC sold has it preinstalled. Were all PCs shipped with Linux preinstalled, it would be dominant and MS would be dying.

          • Windows' dominance comes from the fact that damned near every PC sold has it preinstalled. Were all PCs shipped with Linux preinstalled, it would be dominant and MS would be dying.

            That's technically true and yet misses the point completely.

            Windows, whether you think it merits it or not or was simply coasting on application offerings / inertia, was what people mostly wanted. If it wasn't, it wouldn't be on damned near every PC. Microsoft would have had zero power to strongarm OEMs if they didn't have a pro

      • The Zune wasn't a bad player, but MS was going into a very crowded market and there wasn't much to distinguish it from all the other players including the market leader, iPod. Squiting would have been nice it hadn't been so crippled.

        In my opinion, MS messed up badly on the marketing. They wanted it to be cool and obscure and marketed it that way. Unfortunately, that's the wrong way to get people to use your new product in a crowded field. Watching the TV commercials, the general public would have no clu

      • Heck, Microsoft never even sold it outside of the USA.

  • My question is... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:27AM (#32950720)

    Is this a release that, purely on quality/merit (let's not talk about mindshare or openness -- presumably both are lost causes), is at all competitive with the alternatives?

    In a sense it's amazing to me, given how much longer Microsoft's been trying to get something done in the Mobile arena, that they have been completely unable to gain any traction so far. Were Windows CE etc. trying too hard to be compatible with Desktop Windows? I don't know, but it's baffling that a company with so much of a headstart over would now be its chief competitors managed so little.

    It's hard to point to openness as the reason with Apple's walled garden as a ready counterpoint, but what did go wrong?

    • by hedwards (940851) on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:36AM (#32950832)
      I had a Win CE device, and the problem was that the Desktop paradigm doesn't really translate very well to mobile devices. Pushing it to the netbooks is a bit of a stretch, but by the time you get to PDAs and mobile phones it completely breaks down. The iPhone and Android UIs work a lot better for screens that size, I think that they might even translate up to around about the netbook range without a whole lot of trouble, but then again trying to go beyond that point would likely cause trouble in that they're meant for small devices.
      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        I had a Win CE

        I had a WinCE OnCE too. Why does Microsoft insist on giving its products names like that? WinCE, WiMP, Ex-Pee... did the guy in the marketing department that thinks up names get a pay cut and is now getting his revenge? If I was Balmer I'd fire the dumbass!

    • Never a head start (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149) on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:36AM (#32950842)

      I don't know, but it's baffling that a company with so much of a headstart over would now be its chief competitors managed so little.

      The thing is, they never had a head start at all - because they were always going down a different path. It's not so much compatibility with Desktop WIndows, as it was reliance on a stylus and a physical keyboard.

      Android and iOS were built from the ground up to make use of touch. Neither iOS or Android (to some extent) are reliant even on a physical keyboard, though one can be present... for small mobile devices that simply is a better path, and one Microsoft never chose to explore.

      So it's not so much Desktop compatibility, as it is trying to simply move the existing UI conventions to mobile (unless that is what you meant by compatibility).

      • So it's not so much Desktop compatibility, as it is trying to simply move the existing UI conventions to mobile (unless that is what you meant by compatibility).

        It wasn't, but that's a really interesting observation.

        I kind of hate touchscreens (especially on something like an mp3 player -- buttons I can operate without looking at decreases my chance of dying while driving or running) but I have to agree that on something like today's incarnation of a smartphone, there isn't any other form of UI that's even

      • by samkass (174571) on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:53AM (#32951052) Homepage Journal

        Android and iOS were built from the ground up to make use of touch.

        Every prototype of Android device looked like a Blackberry until the iPhone came out. At that point Android bolted on their multi-touch look and feel... there's no "ground up" design relating to touch in either the iPhone or Android. The core OS just handles files, memory, network, power, processes, etc. Apple could replace UIKit eventing with some keyboard/stylus-based input API and replace a small fraction of iOS.

        To get it right takes a lot more than the touch UI being right. It takes an entire infrastructure to make the device disappear and become the task. Despite Microsoft's size, they've never been an infrastructure company so it'll be a challenge.

        • by GooberToo (74388)

          Can you point me at some pictures? Every android prototype I've seen looked like an iPhone rival (mytouch 3g basically). Considering Android, from the get go, has been looking to directly compete with Apple, frankly, I'm not sure that prototypes really have anything to do with anything.

          You need to keep in mind, especially during early development, its not uncommon to develop on easily obtainable, low cost hardware simply because actual production units are not available, available in low yields, or too cost

          • by tayhimself (791184) on Monday July 19, 2010 @11:34AM (#32951618)
            Not sure why you couldn't google it, but none of the google images show devices looking anything like iPhones. http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Android+prototypes [lmgtfy.com]
          • by samkass (174571)

            Can you point me at some pictures? Every android prototype I've seen looked like an iPhone rival (mytouch 3g basically).

            Considering Google had been making Android prototypes since before the original iPhone was ever released to the public, I'll ask you the same question... can you find any pictures of any Android prototypes that look like the iPhone but pre-date its unveiling?

            I can't.

            If I go to Google Images and google for Android Prototypes, I get lots of things that look like a Blackberry and nothing that

            • Maybe Android and iPhone copied the form factor from Windows phones? http://www.mobiletechreview.com/phones/Cingular-8525.htm [mobiletechreview.com] There are plenty of those that shipped a year before the iPhone was even announced.

              Everyone needs to stop with the revisionist history.

              • by samkass (174571)

                Maybe Android and iPhone copied the form factor from Windows phones? http://www.mobiletechreview.com/phones/Cingular-8525.htm [mobiletechreview.com]

                Um, that doesn't look much like an iPhone. Much less so than any Android phone. The screen is bigger than the blackberry and the hardware keyboard is missing, but other than that its interaction patterns seem utterly different. I'm not saying that the iPhone doesn't build on some previously developed concepts, but there's a pretty distinct break between pre-iPhone smartphone desig

        • Thats because they were made by TI:

          http://www.crn.com/hardware/206504527;jsessionid=JH3QI5R0XZVC5QE1GHRSKHWATMY32JVN?pgno=2 [crn.com] - this was a device built to develop Android on OMAP cpu's. It was never even intended to resemble a shipping product.

          The first Official Google/HTC dev phones shipped to the public like the ADP1 and ADP2 were made by HTC - and was a slider that can be totally operated by touch - so I dunno - Android 1.0 certainly seemed more touch friendly than WinCE ever has been.

          That's one of the coo

    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      >It's hard to point to openness as the reason with Apple's walled garden as a ready counterpoint, but what did go wrong?

      This has nothing to do with openness and has everything to do with MS giving up on improving their products. The WinMobile line, at the time, was pretty hot stuff. You could install whatever program you wanted and there was no shortage of apps. I remember owning a Treo on Sprin't EVDO network and calling Russia on Skype on EVDO. I'm not sure what phone lets me do that today. iPhone ha

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CODiNE (27417)

      It's hard to point to openness as the reason with Apple's walled garden as a ready counterpoint, but what did go wrong?

      One part may be what I recently noticed with my wife and her iPad. You see she immediately wanted one instead of a laptop, and she's immensely more satisfied with it than her previous (more powerful) laptop. Here's one reason why iOS is successful.

      She can install apps on her own. Previously I'd tried to train her on this... you find the download link on the website (not always easy). Yo

      • For us downloading and installing are simple as can be, but to a non-techie it's just a fog of gibberish and confusing steps

        For me, a techie, I think the App Store and Android Marketplace make downloading a fog of gibberish and confusing steps. All I can think about is the underlying file structure of the downloaded content, and paranoia of malware (at least Apple sort of has a leg up on Android, requiring approval of apps prior to making them available to the masses, but on the other hand Android is more

      • So yes, openness and the "walled garden" is a significant part of Apple and Google's success.

        Android's store is not quite a "walled garden". For the most part, anything goes there.

        Then again, the usage scenario that you've described does not need a "walled garden", either. It just needs an easy-to-use centralized software repository.

  • by filesiteguy (695431) <kai@perfectreign.com> on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:39AM (#32950876) Homepage
    ...run Linux? :)
  • by yelvington (8169) on Monday July 19, 2010 @11:03AM (#32951174) Homepage

    From http://www.infoworld.com/d/mobilize/windows-phone-7-dont-bother-disaster-211?page=0,0 [infoworld.com]

    There's no kind way to say it: Windows Phone 7 will be a failure. Announced to much bravado in February as the platform that would breathe life into Microsoft's mobile ambitions, Windows Phone 7 looked based on very early previews as if it might bring something new and exciting to the table. Back then, I noted that I was impressed by what I saw -- with the caveat "so far."

    No caveats now: Windows Phone 7 is a waste of time and money. It's a platform that no carrier, device maker, developer, or user should bother with. Microsoft should kill it before it ships and admit that it's out of the mobile game for good. It is supposed to ship around Christmas 2010, but anyone who gets one will prefer a lump of coal. I really mean that.

    • by lwriemen (763666)

      Sounds like Microsoft hasn't learned much from it's AutoPC days. If this article is on target, then the phone companies probably shouldn't waste time developing Windows Phone 7 platforms.

    • by Rogerborg (306625)

      Thanks for the link. Virtual +1 powerup from me.

      And... ouch. Harsh, but no surprises. After the Zune and Kin debacles, not to mention... well, ever other version of WinME/Mobile... you'd have to be pretty risk-tolerant to bet on Microsoft doing anything other than their usual half-arsed emulate-abandon-dump strategy with Mobile 7.

    • by benjymouse (756774) on Monday July 19, 2010 @11:45AM (#32951746)

      From http://www.zdnet.com/blog/cell-phones/microsoft-windows-phone-7-technical-preview-a-definitive-guide/4286?pg=8&tag=mantle_skin;content [zdnet.com]

      Windows Phone 7 is a huge departure for the smartphone group at Microsoft and takes quite a radical approach to the way people use their phones. Unlike the iPhone, Google Android, and Palm webOS, WP7 is not focused on the application experience, but is centered on helping you interact with the people you want to and complete the tasks you need to complete with apps mainly working in the background or having other technologies (like Bing Search) do better at meeting your needs without more apps.

      The current experience is amazingly stable and fluid and I am quite impressed with what they have done. It has taken some time and they were pretty much out of competing for customers for most of this year, but it looks like they will come out firing with all they have this coming holiday season.

      • From the article:

        My typical day consisted of sending and receiving lots of text messages and email messages through various accounts, checking my Facebook feeds, using Twitter through the Dabr.co.uk mobile Twitter site (Microsoft please get Twitter integration or an app added soon), managing my appointments, and checking out friends' photos.

        Wouldn't that also be a great description of the Kin's strengths?

        Although I think Kin was able to work with Twitter...

    • by Minwee (522556)
      No matter how poorly Windows Phone 7 does, Microsoft has done everything in its power to ensure that it lasts longer than its predecessor, the Kin.
    • by Tawnos (1030370)

      http://www.infoworld.com/author-bios/galen-gruman?page=1 [infoworld.com]

      Not exactly an unbiased source. Apple fanboy all the way.

    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      No caveats now: Windows Phone 7 is a waste of time and money. It's a platform that no carrier, device maker, developer, or user should bother with.

      Now, now that's surely not fair. After Kin, Verizon should be champing at the bit to release loads of Windows 7 phones and plans.

  • by aapold (753705) on Monday July 19, 2010 @11:04AM (#32951186) Homepage Journal
    And "mobile". Hell, just called it Seven.
  • by sargeUSMC (905860) on Monday July 19, 2010 @11:06AM (#32951202)

    My guess is that the thing that will kill this device (like most MS devices that have to compete in a market they haven't cornered), is the fact that by the time the management, sales, and the lawyer teams get done "improving" the device, you won't be able to do anything on it without having to pay through the nose. Repeatedly. Forever.

    So, even if the device ends up being a marvel of technology (which seems unlikely given the MS mobile paradigm), it will end up being locked behind a walled garden, which is locked up in a castle, surrounded by a moat, filled with alligators, etc. Sorry, couldn't resist a little hyperbole.

  • Hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jav1231 (539129) on Monday July 19, 2010 @11:09AM (#32951254)
    Seriously, if they're building a phone OS at this point in the game, it better offer a paradigm shift. Otherwise, it's the Kin or at best the Zune, relegated!
  • has today reached its biggest milestone yet,

    So what exactly is the milestone? I'm used to milestones being a big logical-AND of finally successfully achieving a bunch of technical requirements. This seems to be a "marketing milestone"?

    The concept of a "milestone" from hiking or whatever, is that according to the surveyors you've come exactly 5280 feet since the last milestone. Not "here is a pretty picture", or "we figured we'd generate some buzz by placing the milestone here".

    As a side question to all you hikers from the civilized world, do you g

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      Microsoft uses the term "milestone" to denote steps along a product's development. They have various names - some actually have the word 'milestone', such as Milestone Quality, Milestone 1 (M1), etc. - but CTPs (Community Tech Previews, essentially early non-public betas), public beta, RC, RTM, and the various post-release maintenance and service packs are all milestones (SPs often have multiple milestones of their own). Unlike "traditional" milestones, the distance (either in time or changes) between milst

  • "We've got the software running, someone give us some hardware to run it on!"?

    Seems a bit bass-ackwards to me. But then again, it's windows. Sorry, "Windows Phone 7."

  • it will place and receive calls without giving you the "blue screen of death"?

    "I'm sorry your call to 9-1-1 cannot be placed at this time because your phone is rebooting. Please try your call later."
  • I just want to let the quotes say few things first:

    However, customizing and navigating the screen can sometimes be a cumbersome task.

    More importantly, we're just not sold on the layout.

    Now, some might complain that this type of navigation requires too much scrolling and can be overly complicated and admittedly, when compared to iOS and Android, this is true we fear this will be a turnoff to consumers.

    I had the same exact observations few months ago when they demonstrated their new mobile OS for the first time. Looks like Microsoft's attempt at making an interface that's easier and more innovative than Android/iPhone ends up "complicated" and "cumbersome".

    If their goal was to make a complex post-modern interface targeted to a small niche of geeks willing to get involved with such a taxing concepts as their scrolling clipped hub views, that'd be fine.

    But

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