>>Windows Phone 7 devices aren't expected to ship til the holiday season but you don't have to wait that long to get a preview of what to expect from the OS. Hi, everyone, I'm Bonnie Cha, Senior Editor at CNET.com and I've got here a preproduction Windows Phone 7 device. Microsoft will actually be shipping similar devices to developers starting July 19 so they can do some real world testing for their apps. We've actually seen a lot of the features before both at Mobile World Congress and CTIA but it's been a while so we thought it might be good to go through some of the features again. I should also tell you that this isn't final software so some of the surfaces don't work such as Xbox Live and Marketplace. Also, this is just a prototype device from Samsung called Taylor. It has all the requirements such as the Snapdragon processor and the three hardware keys but this won't be a model that comes to market.
So, let's take a look at the home screen first. This page consists of live tiles that provides you quick access to your favorite apps and contacts. To ping contacts and apps to the home screen you have to go to the main list of apps or the people have to do so which is a little inconvenient. You can then rearrange the layout by doing a long press on the home screen and move the tiles around. To be honest I'm not 100% sold on the layout of the home screen or the app menu list. I really don't want to be scrolling up and down the screen to access things which I imagine can get a little unruly the more tiles and apps you have. Now, if you'll remember a lot of Windows Phone 7 is centered around what Microsoft calls hubs which brings together related content into a single view. For example, there's the people hub which merges all your contacts from various accounts like Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook and then displays their latest status updates and also your most recently contacted people. The picture hub brings together your photos as well as your friends and family photos. There's also the music and video hub which includes support for the Zune Marketplace and Zune Pass so you can easily stream and download new music and video to your phone. The multimedia experience on Windows Phone 7 is eons better than previous versions of Windows Mobile and probably one of my favorite parts about the phone.
In general I really like the idea of hubs and how it organizes content and allows you to perform functions relevant to the category. There are other things I like about Windows Phone 7 too such as exchange and office support which is topnotch. The chrome let's you use the interface and new topography are a certainly refreshing too but as much as I appreciate the new UI I still think it's not very easy to navigate and there are other things that concern me such as the lack of universe search and copy and paste and while there's multitasking it's pretty much limited to native apps. Like I said at the beginning this isn't final software so we don't have a complete experience and to make any kind of judgment would be unfair. We do discuss more of our like and dislikes in detail in our Windows Phone 7 preview so be sure to check that out and definitely let us know what you think. I'm Bonnie Cha with your preview of Windows Phone 7.
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