In February, when Windows Phone 7 was announced, all Microsoft would say about availability was “in time for the 2010 holiday season”. Since then, there have been many rumors and quite a lot of speculation about when WP7 will be finalized, with most voices pointing to October as the month it will be ready to ship.
But Microsoft one-upped everybody’s predictions and just announced that they’ve RTM-ed Windows Phone 7. That, in Microsoft speak, means “released to manufacturing”, but since there are no DVDs to actually manufacture (like in the case of a desktop OS), the translation here would be that it has been released to manufacturers. Of future WP7 devices.
From Microsoft’s point of view, the OS is finalized. Now all that’s left is for it to be tightly integrated into each manufacturer’s upcoming phone. So this major milestone unfortunately doesn’t mean that we’ll be seeing WP7 handsets on sale tomorrow. There’s still presumably a lot of work to be done to make it work flawlessly with all the possible hardware combinations that Microsoft’s launch partners could come up with.
Still, this is very good news, and it means that the first WP 7 devices may even hit the streets as soon as next month.
There were also a few minor changes made to the OS since the Technical Preview stage. Namely, you can now filter Facebook contacts so only the people you really know show up in your integrated contact list. Also in Facebook territory, you can like posts straight from the People hub and quickly post a message to someone’s wall directly.
Now it’s time for Samsung, LG, HTC and all the other smartphone makers to step up their game and work hard to finish integrating the OS with their devices, so we can finally play with WP7 in retail hardware.
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