Ok, so we have learned a lot about 7. We know that all Windows 7 Phones will have three buttons on the front – start, back and search. Search is powered by Bing. The Bing integration is smart. It knows your location (MS’s location API at work) and if you type something it guesses if you mean a web search, a local search, news, etc. So pizza brings up food in the area and Avatar brings up the movie times in the area.  Keyboards will be permitted and even encouraged. They will all be capacitive. It will run what they described as desktop internet explore and in the demos it was showing a full desktop view and moving pretty quickly.  I did not see it change the column size to wrap text as zooming took place though. It does let you zoom in a ton without getting large pixels in the text. It runs Zune software and syncs that way also. Syncing appears to be all over the air. When connected to a PC it looks like Zune software, not ActiveSync, kicks in, but over the air syncing in through ActiveSync. What this brings to the table to differentiate it from the iPhone is a single app that is entirely integrated. As they noted, you shouldn’t need thousands of apps. You should have one OS that integrates everything for you. The big benefit is that you don’t need to keep opening and closing separate doors to get to what you care about. Social networking and integration play a huge roll in the OS. It sounds like developers will be able to tap into the OS a bit. By that, I mean that you can add panels that also take advantage of the live updates and integration so that ne apps will be a part of the system and not just separate apps. They showed Pandora would be in the Zune app for example and Facebook is integrated throughout (in photos, contacts, calendar, etc). This makes sense. All of your music should be together.  Also, Microsoft will limit who can build Windows 7 phones to ensure that the products are up tot heir standards. One thing that strikes me as odd is how much dead space there is on the right side of the phone. I get that you need a visible back button, but that takes up a good chunk of real estate for the entire length of the phone.

We also learned that every app we know may be useless going forward. Ballmer noted that this was like the move from DOS to Windows. Sort of true, but you can run DOS within Windows…let’s see if that’s true of legacy apps as well.

The OS is pretty for once…and smooth. You can get a great overview of the panels and what it actually looks like in practice on Microsoft Windows 7 Site": windowsphone7series.com. People who have seen it hands on say that the flat graphics really make things pop a lot.

Oh and they will be in our hands by the end of the year. And yes, for some reason there’s some AT&T love involved but I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear any of that.

MS made it clear that this is not a PC in your hands. It did make me think that my PC needs a lot more of this type of integration. I think it’s a hit. What do you think?

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