Preview of Windows Phone 7

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Wired Magazine put up a quick look at the technical preview version of Windows Phone 7 that Microsoft has been floating around. This video doesn’t show much in the way of details (and is a pretty lame review overall), but it does give you a general sense of the thinking and flow behind their new UI design:

With the caveat that I haven’t actually played with the new phone myself, I’m left with the impression that the ’tiles’ design of Microsoft’s latest mobile OS – what they call the “Metro” UI – is going to require a lot of scrolling around – especially if you have a lot of applications you normally work with. For better or worse, Windows Phone 7 is clearly not another iPhone knockoff – something I do give Microsoft props for. It is approaching the phone as a social tool, and weaving all forms of communication you have with people together into a cohesive stream anchored by the people you connect with instead of through discrete services.

That said, I just don’t have a good feeling about this. I’m getting the sense that Microsoft is getting the spin machine started up early – never a good sign. No amount of PR is going to save this phone if it fails to deliver, and the competition is only getting tougher the longer it takes for them to release it. Their ambitions and focus seem to be in the right place, but the OS will need to translate that into something that is easy for people to understand and use in real world set ups and situations.

Train wreck, wild success, or something in between, with Microsoft’s entire mobile strategy riding on this new OS, it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Once I get to spend some time with it, I’ll post something more detailed on the specific pros and cons I see – stay tuned…

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