Windows Phone 7 Reviews Are In: ‘A Completely New Smartphone OS’

Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 Series is getting rave reviews from the likes of Gizmodo and Engadget. You can practically see the Engadget reviewer’s eyes widen as he tries out the phone, offering first impressions: “This really is a completely new OS — and not just Microsoft’s new OS, it’s a new smartphone OS, like webOS new, like iPhone OS new. You haven’t used an interface like this before.” Over at Gizmodo, the level of ardor for Microsoft’s new foray into mobile is similarly high: “Windows Phone 7 Series is more than the Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) smartphone we’ve been waiting for. Everything’s different now.”

Phonescoop: The Windows Phone 7 user interface has been totally redone. Instead of the typical grid of icons, the Microsoft system uses actively updating “live tiles” and “hubs” that gather features and content into onscreen panels. The feeling is similar to the one on Microsoft’s Zune HD media player, which is also accessible on the Windows Phone 7 system. In addition to Zune, Windows Phone 7 devices will also play games from Microsoft’s Xbox Live service. Naturally, the phones running the Microsoft OS will get the Office Mobile suite of apps, as well as OneNote and Sharepoint for business users. Windows Phone 7 also makes it easy to combine contact info, photos, status updates and activities from users’ social nets.

The only bad news from the reviewers salivating of the new system is that it won’t be available until the 2010 holiday season. Microsoft is currently talking with handset makers such as HTC, Samsung, LG (SEO: 066570), Sony (NYSE: SNE) Ericsson (NSDQ: ERIC), Dell, HP, AT&T (NYSE: T), Verizon Wireless, Sprint (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile USA about offering Windows Phone 7 enabled devices.

The only other criticism among the reviewers who got to try out the phone before Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s Barcelona press conference unveiling Windows Phone 7 is the name itself. Gizmodo notes that the name is a “mouthful, and unfortunately, the epitome of Microsoft’s worst naming instincts, belying the simple fact that it’s the most groundbreaking phone since the iPhone.” Gizmodo also wonders what took Microsoft so long, saying the company should have come out with this system three years ago.

Check out more coverage from the Barcelona conference by MocoNews’ Tricia Duryee here.