Just as we were finally getting to know all the ins and outs of Windows Mobile 6.5, Windows Phone 7 is getting ready to drop - ain't that just like Microsoft? According to the guys at PC Magazine , who recently got some hands-on time with the new platform, we've wasted all that time fiddling with Windows Mobile (as we had already suspected), because Phone 7 is nothing like Mobile, especially its earlier versions.

The concept behind the Windows Phone system - acting as a 'hub' for all of your digital everythings - is far from groundbreaking, and it's an idea Microsoft has been trying forever with its desktop Windows OS, as millions of users and the Justice Department know well.

Still, the upcoming new mobile OS iteration is one giant leap for Redmond-kind in catching up with Apple and the Android, even if the privilege of being able to sync with your Zune doesn't matter so much in an iTunes world.

Built-in Facebook integration is already a part of the beta test Phone 7 version being passed around now, with seamless integration with contacts and similar support in the works for Linkedin, Twitter, MySpace and other social networks. That's a major upgrade from the days of Mobile 6.1, which essentially assumed you'd continue to use a clunky version of Internet Explorer on a tiny screen to get what you needed online onto your phone. And only with Mobile 6.5 was a practical (and still small) App Marketplace introduced. The app marketplace for Phone 7 is currently empty, or perhaps just not live, but that's bound to change before the phones start shipping.

Early beta reviews are mostly positive, but note how far behind Microsoft is in bringing a serious team to the smartphone game, and then there is this review from Infoworld , which is filled with blistering passages like this one:

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.

Ouch. Dude almost makes us actuallyfeel sorry for Microsoft with that word weaponry. But with CNET bringing word that 2010 Microsoft apparently forgot to consult 1985 Microsoft to include such no-brainer features as the ability to copy and paste, we must concur that we're a little worried.

All in all, the consensus seems to be that Microsoft has come a long way with this latest mobile iteration, but it still has plenty of work to do, and may not have enough time to catch up.

Photo by Jeffwilcox on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

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"Just as we were finally getting to know all the ins and outs of Windows Mobile 6.5"
Dude have you been living under a rock? You say that as if Microsoft was doing an injustice to us by reinventing a better Mobile Os... Windows Mobile 7 is like Osx was to Os9. It is completely different from the ground up. It is revolutionary, because its taking a different approach to the now classic mobile interface...look at the winmo7 Os compared to the iPhone and Android, it makes the iPhone and Android look like they've been built inside a programmers bubble.

Think about it... Windows Mobile has been out since 2000, the iPhone's snazzy look and feel was a dramatic improvment over Window mobile yes but at it's heart was built with the same classic UI concepts "I click an Icon I get a list- I click an item in a list I get a Page", Android the same thing. Windows phone 7 actually looks like they just went out and blazed the trail with something completely new and different...

I owned 3 computer networking businesses starting in 1985. MS paid my mortgage, my salary, put food on my (and my employees) table. I do ADMIRE the financial success, marketshare, and depth/breadth in the industry that MS has acheived. I still use (out of habbit) a MS OS & Office. If anyone had something nice to say about MS Mobile it would be me.

However, possibly the WORST consumer electronics usability/UI experience I have EVER had was with the Windows Mobile platform.

Consumers: do yourself a favor and select ANY OTHER OS. MS: do yourself a favor and stop fooking around in an arena you obviously know nothing about. Can you spell

I don't have time to hate either Apple or Microsoft or Google. I just look at the facts. Windows Phone 7 is very impressive. Aside from the Windows Phone 7 OS features already outlined in so many reviews, there will be soo many more options for the end user to choose from when compared to the iPhone. Ex: Carrier (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc), touch screen or slide out keyboard, upgradeable memory, and replaceable battery. Features like Xbox Live integration and capability to stream music/video from your PC over the internet to Windows Phone 7 is incredibley awesome. Best of all, you'll be able to hold it any way you'd like without the iPhone reception problem. The fact of the matter is, the tech industry is cyclicle and the pendulum is swinging back to Microsoft's favor for now. Checkout the following Microsoft solutions - Windows Media Center, RemoteFX, Kinect, Media Room, Windows 7 Embedded, Google copying Bing's features, upcoming Internet Explorer 9 speed tests vs. upcoming Google Chrome, etc. All these solutions are designed to integrate with Windows Phone 7. Thats simply awesome and you cannot deny Microsot's game is back on track. Lastly, the fundamental advantage Microsoft has over the competition is that it is a Software and Services company...not a hardware manufacturer providing very limited options like Apple, or an "information gathering for revenue" company like Google. This is the fundamental reason why so many large corporations will always standardize on Microsoft backbone technology - they buy the software and services, add whatever they want to it, and then rest assured that their data remains on their own private infrastructure (and not some Google search server). Come Fall 2010 I predict we will start to see a significant shift back into Microsoft's direction. Just my two cents...

come come now its hardly fair to bring MS up on forgetting copy and past its just the trend now (make its all flashy and pretty then charge for updates of basic utilities) i mean what version of the I phone/pod OS was mac on before it remembered that itd missed copy and paste?

Is that a picture of the windows mobile OS coz it looks awful like a less elegant HTC UI (i mean the one i saw a while back that had a stupid bar for icons and some daft scroll screen thingy *shudder* i hope they got better) as for integrated facebook whoopdie doo i personally dont want to be able to update my status in the middle of a supermarket or on a train (i mean honestly what are you gunna say?) twitter i can understand thats ment to be inane babble but come on face book actually gets looked at by employers nowerdays do you really want to risk a ill advised update seconds after you leave the office?