Admit it: you're curious about Windows Phone 7. It's impossible to look at thoseand not be.
Of course, short of driving to your local cell phone emporium and standing there like a dweeb, there's no easy way to test-drive the OS. (It's not like anyone you know has a Windows Phone. Am I right?)
As it happens, you can test-drive Windows Phone 7, and you can do it right on your Android phone or iPhone. For reals! Microsoft just introduced an interactive, browser-based Windows Phone 7 demo, one that gives you both the look and flavor of their please-won't-somebody-buy-it mobile operating system.
If you're reading this on your phone, just tap the link in the previous paragraph. Otherwise, point your mobile browser to http://aka.ms/wpdemo.
What you'll see next is an HTML5-powered page that shows you the Windows Phone 7 home screen (in all its photo-flipping glory) and lets you try all the main features: Phone, People, Messaging, Outlook, Family, and so on.
Tapping any one of these tools leads you through a semi-guided demo, one that allows you to scroll screens and flip pages along the way. If you tap where the glowing swipe and/or tap indicators tell you, you'll eventually get to the "end" of that particular demo, with the option of starting over. (On my iPhone, I discovered I could also tap Safari's Back button to return to the Windows Phone home screen.)
Truth be told, this was my first exposure to Windows Phone 7--and I liked it. The interface is just lovely, a monumental improvement over the train wreck that was Windows Mobile. There's a logic and elegance to it that, quite frankly, is lacking in both Android and iOS. I'm not saying I'd abandon my iPhone for it, only that I could see myself using and enjoying a Windows Phone.
In other words, mission accomplished, Microsoft. You gave me a little hands-on time with your redheaded stepchild of a mobile OS, and got me thinking about adoption.
What do you think of the demo? Cool? Meh? Something in between?