Smartphones running Windows Phone 7 aren't expected until this fall, but Microsoft is already showing off the LG Panther, one of the models to be based on this upcoming operating system.
The Panther will have a landscape-oriented keyboard that can slide behind its WVGA touchscreen, but will still be just a bit thicker than an iPhone. It is going to have a trackpad below its touchscreen, and also will sport a front-facing camera.
It will hit the market when Windows Phone 7 itself debuts, which Microsoft says will happen in time for the holiday shopping season.
More about Windows Phone 7
Despite its name, Microsoft's next smartphone operating system has little in common with its predecessors. It will have a completely different user interface and won't run applications written for the earlier versions nor will any current models be upgradeable.
Its focus has moved to consumers, and its UI emphasizes social networking, pictures, games, etc. It has also been redesigned to be controlled with a fingertip.
Just about the only significant similarity between old and new is that both include Microsoft Office Mobile and support for synchronizing with Microsoft Exchange.
Meeting the Requirements
Although the full list of specifications for the LG Panther has not yet been made available, it's nevertheless possible to give a fairly complete description of it. That's because Microsoft is requiring all devices running Windows Phone 7 to meet some fairly stringent hardware requirements.
At launch, all devices running this new operating system will have to have a WVGA (800 x 480) capacitive touchscreen, Wi-Fi, at least a 5 megapixel camera with flash, a GPS receiver, and 8 GB of storage and 256 MB of RAM or more. The feature list also must include an accelerometer, compass, proximity sensor, and an FM radio.
Microsoft is even specifying the number and arrangements of buttons below the screen, one of which has to be dedicated to the Bing search engine.
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