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Windows Phone 7 music apps preview: Slacker, I Heart Radio, MusixMatch

Microsoft showed off three music apps that will appear on Windows Phone 7 smartphones.

Windows Phone 7
We previewed three music apps coming to Windows Phone 7. Screenshot by CNET

Microsoft sure is drumming up excitement for its forthcoming Windows Phone 7 smartphones. In addition to next Monday's big announcement in New York, a Microsoft team was here in San Francisco, showing off music apps as part of the Billboard Music Entertainment Live event preceding CTIA (see all CNET coverage).

We got a private hands-on tour of Slacker Radio, I Heart Radio, and MusixMatch apps prior to a showcase event.

Each of the apps for Windows Phone is similar to its counterpart on other mobile platforms with a few unique exceptions and additions--Slacker Radio won't launch with offline caching, for instance, but it will play on-device songs. What's more striking is the interface of each app, which mirrors the Windows Phone 7 look and feel with its panoramic, side-swiping menus and vertical lists. These commonalities made the apps easy to use. The one exception was I Heart Radio, which doesn't implement the side-sweeping menu navigation until you drill down a level.

Although neither the apps we saw or the hardware we used are in their final stages, the snappy performance stood out. There was occasional lagging in trying to exit programs, but responsiveness was high overall.

Get a closer look at the music apps in our slideshow and take a look at Windows Phone 7's interface in the video below. We also have a preview of more Windows Phone 7 apps that CNET's Ina Fried looked at yesterday.

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