We are finally getting some better looks at the upcoming Windows Phone 7 in action. At a recent Microsoft event, an LG Panther (a hardware prototype that was outed in February) was demoed by a senior Microsoftie with WP7 installed and working..and according to Pocket-Lint.com it was working pretty damn well…even if the exec in question couldn’t be convinced to forget the phone in a beer garden.
It was noted that the OS seemed to be running quite smoothly on the touch screen/QWERTY device, and among the elements that were already fully functional were Facebook integration and the Zune media player. XBOX integration is still to come. On top of that, one nuance that seemed especially popular was that any street address entered into the phone becomes a link to a BING map showing you where it is along with any details.
It is clear the Zune functionality, as assumed due to previous comments, is integral to the device since Microsoft’s UK Mobile Business Group Director, Alex Reeve, confirmed to pocket-lint that the Zune Store will be available in the UK for downloading music and video before Windows Phone 7 is rolled out, hopefully avoiding some of the content woes that plagued the Zune HD at rollout. Judging by reactions to the Zune HD some applications would be nice too…hint hint. A really nice feature that will be part of the the Zune software in WP7 will be the ability to get album art and info directly from the net, not requiring you to sync the phone with a PC client to get that kind of metadata.
Reeve also confirmed that the Panther is definitely going to be one of the handsets launched right off the bat along with Windows Phone 7.
Personally I like the look of slate-style phones and the one is no exception. The QWERTY keyboard is a big selling point for me, but I am waiting to see the OS in action before deciding to stick with Windows Mobile when I buy my next phone. To be honest, Windows Phone 7 looks a little two consumer focused for me, which makes Android or possibly Maemo real alternatives when I shop for my next business phone in a year to replace my Treo Pro. Hopefully more will be revealed as we get closer to Windows Phone 7’s debut.