Come November 8th, those of us in the US will be able to buy a smartphone running Microsoft's radically new Windows Phone 7 operating system. That is, you'll be able to buy one then if you use a GSM carrier (ATT and T-Mobile). CDMA phones for Verizon and Sprint will be coming later.
Windows Phone 7 is absolutely nothing like the old Windows Mobile-- they look completely different (that's a good thing) and don't share the same core features (sometimes a good thing). Gone is the Today Screen with your appointments and other important info. In its place we have tiles that are a part of the Metro user interface. In some ways, Windows Phone 7 has more in common with the iPhone and iOS than Windows Mobile. It's more consumer oriented, not particularly hackable and it offers side-loading via the Zune music service.
The first Windows 7 Phones are the Samsung Focus, LG Optimus 7 and HTC Surround on AT&T and the HTC HD7 on T-Mobile. For our video we use the HTC HD7 with a 4.3" display and hardware that's nearly identical to the old HTC HD2. All Windows phones stick with Microsoft's minimum hardware requirements at release: a 1GHz CPU, WVGA 800 x 480 capacitive multi-touch display and a good helping of internal storage (there's generally no removable storage).
We've broken our video review into two parts, and together they are 27 minutes of in-depth Windows Phone 7 coverage.
Our review of the HTC HD7 on T-Mobile will follow soon.
-------------------- Lisa Gade Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview