Microsoft tonight showed off the first production device running Windows Phone 7. Revealed during a taping of the Engadget Show, the early prototype is an LG-made QWERTY slider that bears a strong resemblance to the eXpo. Not much is known about the device itself besides its 5-megapixel camera, but it will have to meet Microsoft's chassis guidelines, which includes the three-button interface, a fast processor and an 800x480 or larger touchscreen.
The company's Aaron Woodman also provided some details of the software, such as the apps list. In its current form, it uses a single-column app list and should let users "promote" apps to the panel-based Start screen. He also noted that the back button doesn't necessarily go back up a level; a user can start the Zune media player, jump to messaging, and hit the back button to go back to the Zune section.
Woodman was still elusive on some subjects. He acknowledged that some tasks, like music playing, would always run in the background, but wouldn't say whether third-party apps could do the same. The executive was also shy on whether or not phones like the HTC HD2 would qualify for upgrading to the new OS. More information should be available at the company's MIX developer conference in the next few weeks.
The company has had an "internal debate" over whether or not it should open up syncing to platforms like the Mac, but people like Woodman aren't in a position to know definitively whether this would go ahead. The Zune HD and all media-only devices have so far used just the Zune app for Windows and have often been difficult or at times impossible to sync with other software or platforms.
When the LG phone would ship isn't specifically known, though Woodman clarified that the official holiday target wouldn't come late. It would be sometime in the middle of the "wave" of holiday spending. More than one rumor has put the phone's release in September as one of the first flagship Windows Phone 7 devices.