updated 05:00 pm EDT, Wed September 1, 2010
Microsoft says Windows Phone 7 now RTM
Microsoft today said Windows Phone 7 had been released to manufacturing. The move gives phone makers a gold build of the mobile OS and also includes some important changes since a Technical Preview just weeks ago. Facebook now has a unique feature that will filter contacts to show only truly known contacts, and the People Hub now allows for a direct Facebook "like" or wall post.
Actual releases will still depend on individual phone designers, which have to finish tailoring certain parts of the OS to their devices. Microsoft has previously mentioned in an internal presentation that WP7 would ship to the US in November and a month earlier for Europe.
The launch of WP7 may be the most important mobile introduction in Microsoft's history, as its future in the space depends on its success. Microsoft is spending billions in launch efforts and has Dell, HTC, LG, Samsung and others promising to have devices available on release. Developers have admitted that they consider it a reboot and have knowingly left out common features like copy-and-paste and most multitasking in order to launch on time.
The OS revolves around the Zune-like Metro interface, which organizes most features into hubs rather than isolating them into apps. It will also focus heavily on the gaming and media playback functions that were neglected in Windows Mobile, including high-profile Xbox integration and music and video players lifted mostly from the Zune HD. Some features, such as a much more accurate web browser and multi-touch, are considered direct catch-up features to bring some parity with Apple's iOS and Google's Android.