No beta yet, no launch: Windows Phone 7 still months away

The recent receipt by AT&T stores of marketing materials that mention Windows Phone 7 has led some to speculate that it could arrive sooner still—any time between July 24, when the AT&T stores will refresh their signage, and September.

This seems unlikely, as the software still isn't ready. Microsoft wants to give developers access to Windows Phone 7—both the software and test hardware—ahead of the launch, to ensure that there are plenty of good applications available on release day. This still hasn't happened. Nor have the development tools even hit beta: the most recent release was in April, and was merely a preview.

There has been recent progress on that front: the winners of one of the contests in Microsoft's Imagine Cup received developer handsets, which Redmond claims to be the first time that anyone outside of the company has been given such hardware. Broader availability of development hardware cannot be too far behind.

Nonetheless, time is marching on. October is only three months away, and even once the software is finished, OEMs will need time to test and validate the operating system themselves. October still looks viable, if tight; July, not so much.

Tags: Microsoft, mobile phones, Windows Phone 7

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