WM7 already in Beta + Various Feature Combos Confirmed?

UX Evangelist today is suggesting that Windows Mobile 7 already is in Beta and in fact, will be revealed in November at PDC (Professional Developers Conference) 2009.  Of course we're expecting Steve Ballmer to drop some info on WM7 at CES 2010, but that doesn't necessarily preclude something at PDC either.

On top of that, UXE has scoured LinkedIn (opens in new tab) to find any info on developers and what they've put on their resumes in regards to WM7-- it is quite the list with many technologies mentioned.

So can developers expect an actual beta in their hands of WM7 in November?  Read on for the clues and grab that salt shaker--it's speculating time!

Beta Release in November?

UX Evangelist points to three bits of info to back up his claim about a November beta release for WM7:

  1. Microsoft has a history of not only announcing but releasing software at PDC -- so developers can expect to walk away with something like a beta. 
  2. We've seen MS aim for a WM7 beta this year and even a November mention before to boot (see above image) -- same month as PDC 2009
  3. A LinkedIn profile of a Motorola employee states "Runtime Environment: Windows Mobile 7.0 (Beta)"

(Motorola has a close working relationship with MS we have been told from our own sources). UX Evangelist goes on to suggest that it will be announced on Day 1 or 2 in a keynote and then on the following days, working devices will be available  for interaction.

Sounds plausible to us. If Microsoft is aiming for a release in 2010, you can bet WM7 is quite far in development and we suppose a November announcement could happen.  Then again, maybe it will be all Windows 7 talk?

So what cool new things could WM7 bring to the table?  That leads us to the next topic.

WM7 Features

In a follow-up article, UX Evangelist laid out his results from a daunting task: he scoured over LinkedIn, looking up developer's profiles and seeing if he could find any mention of Windows Mobile 7. Guess what? He found a ton, which we'll shamelessly re-post below.

What do we learn from this amazing finding? 

  • Microsoft is serious about handwriting recognition
  • WM7 will have compass & accelerometer support
  • Texas Instruments (TI) & Qualcomm chipsets get support. TI's OMAP processors in particular, which are suppose to be great
  • Something about AT&T's video calling service
  • WM7 should "... rock on Motorola and Samsung devices"
  • ActiveSync is still there and is not going away with Device Stage

Read below to see the actual tech-jargon and see if you folks can pick up any gems we've missed.

Developer for the WM7 Handwriting Recognition system. SourceI am responsible for designing and developing the Multimedia subsystem development for Tegra (APX2500) on Windows platforms including latest OS Windows Mobile 7. SourcePlanned, designed, architected and implemented MEMS sensor capabilities in Windows Mobile 7-based platform, including accelerometer and compass. Source (Hey, I thought this guy made karate movies! lol. =B )Owned the testing of the Nickname Cache feature and Windows Live ID feature implemented by the Exchange Mobile Client team to be included in the Windows Mobile 7 release. SourceSr. SW Dev. Engineer – Symbian S60 & WM7 (2008 to 2009), System Integration & "Bring Up" Flow, using diff. Design Platforms (Linux/Java, Symbian/S60 and WM6/WM7) SourceResponsible for the integration of BCM4325 wlan chip on Caesar Platform (OMAP3430) on WM7 as a native host driver. SourceOversaw development of the Rich Video Call(AT&T Video Share) UI, session control, and porting of the IP Multimedia Subsystem stack to Windows Mobile 7. SourceWorking on creating and maintining automation software used for automated testing of ActiveSync in Windows Mobile 7. Source(Premium Mobile Experience Group) RIL, GPS, WiFi, and USB on Windows Mobile 7. SourceManaged Test Automation for Windows Mobile 7 Outlook Mobile syncing. SourceLow level programming (database/sync management) for Outlook in Win Mobile 7. SourceWindows Mobile 7 Board Support Package for Freescale chipset. Bootloader development, NAND and OneNAND Flash Memory drivers. SourceDevelopment of Test automation for Internet Explorer 7 for Windows Mobile 7, the next generation of Mobile Operating System. Source (Most likely at IE8 now)Last assignment was as consulting Dev PM/Lead on the Windows Mobile Platform Team (MESE Dogfood). Working to help make Windows Mobile 7 rock on Motorola and Samsung devices. SourceDevelop Windows Mobile 7 BSP for Freescale ICs. SourceCollect requirements from internal teams and create a long term deployment plan for Windows Mobile 7 Labs. Design and direct the creation of self servicing lab spaces for three Windows Mobile 7 add on projects. Oversee the public launch of one of the Windows Mobile 7 add on projects. SourceWindows Mobile 7 integration on TI chipset platform. SourceNow, I'm leading a team, responsibility for Qualcomm platform and Windows Mobile 7. SourceWorking on the (then) next generation Windows Mobile 7 Messaging Application. Focusing on Messaging functionality and interface. SourceAs a researcher, gathered requirements from the project team and formed the test task list and test document of WM7 IME, Live Video Search, and Mobile Search usability test. SourceMicrosoft UX Team Project Manager for the Mobile Insights Panel• Drove progress for this $2 million instrumented mobile phone research project to collect user activity data from 400+ users to improve the Windows Mobile software experience.• Worked with the Windows Mobile team to create special data collection software for the MIP devices. The WM team is looking to include parts of this software in the production release of WM 7.SourceCreating feature prototypes for Windows Mobile 7 in Silverlight. Source

 So what do you all think about these findings?  Fire away in comments!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • Ha ha nice Steven Segal referance :p Great news to hear, and in my opinion disproves the "delayed" crap from a while back.
  • So, the question is do I install the OFFICIAL Telus TP2 WM6.5 ROM in October (if such a beast exists) or the XDA WM7 ROM that'll probably come out around noon on Day 2 of the keynote in November :)
  • lol, good question. Though to be honest, I think WM7 will be so different in architecture, I doubt it will run on current chipsets--at least not without serious hacking and performance compromises. Just memory allocation and usage will be radically different, let alone CPU minimum requirements. This isn't like previous AKUs or 5/6.x upgrades--this is a whole new beast. It is like asking if we can get WebOS to run on a 700p ;-)
  • AT&T video conferencing? As if their network wasn't suffering enough.
  • AT&T's "Video Share" is not video conferencing-- it's sharing of recorded videos (something like MMS).
  • That WM7 keyboard looks about the same size as awful one we have now :(
  • Actually I dont think the screenshots are relevant anymore... since the new WM 6.5.1 or whatever it is has a much different bottom bar and top bar... I just dont get how this keeps getting delayed for a company as big as Microsoft. Even palm pre was able to create an OS from scratch faster... WM 6.5 is just BS... most of it is 6.1 magnified... Plus, its laggy, buggy, and CHome is very inconvenient and unusable for touchscreens. About the compatibility problem, one of the comments mentions WM7 for Qualcomm chipsets. As much as I hate qualcomm, I really think WM shud bunk it and move on to tegra-only development. Otherwise, im sure our folks at XDA can atleast port a minimal version of wm7 on some existing phones...