Windows Phone 7 Goes Gold Master, Released to Manufacturers

When a device, or the software powering a device gets announced, there's a lot of hard work that has to go into those early stages, all the way up to the final moments when it can get released to the manufacturers that's going to put that hardware, or software, onto other things. Microsoft can tip its cap tonight, as they've officially announced that their upcoming mobile Operating System, Windows Phone 7, is finally, really complete, and is now being released to manufacturers.

That means that the final touches from the manufacturers can now be put in place, based on the final product created by Microsoft. When it reaches those manufacturers (and carriers), the final tweaks will be put in place, whatever they may be. When it comes to carriers, like AT&T (the premiere carrier partner for Microsoft here in the United States), the question remains whether or not there will be any carrier-based "bloatware" on the handsets. That also means manufacturers and carriers are going through their final tests, making sure the devices are good to go for release into the world.

One feature that we can talk about right now, is the way that Microsoft has enhanced the contacts side of things. Initially, the contacts list was literally overrun with contacts, mostly because of Facebook sync. Thankfully, Microsoft has managed to find a way to make it all make sense. There's now a contact filtering system. What that will do, is look for "double-contacts," or contacts that are similar enough to be grouped together. So, have someone with the same email, but with different names? They'll get linked. Of course, you'll be able to make adjustments where you see fit — everything won't be completely out of your control. Of course, if you need to see what you'll be going through on a daily basis with your WP7-based device, check out our technical preview.

We should also mention something about customization to the User Interface. Companies like HTC have made themselves pretty famous with their hugely updated HTC Sense UI, which is now one of the more attractive extra features on Android-based handsets. With that in mind, and knowing that HTC is such a big partner when it comes to Windows Phone 7, people were wondering if skinning would be able to be done. Well, we know that, to an extent, it won't be. Which was previously confirmed. But, while the core elements within WP7 need to stay unchanged, it looks like companies aren't completely blocked out of adding some kind of customization. We'll have to wait and see what comes of that — if anything.

[via Windows Phone Blog]