Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 was expected to be on sale in Australia by Christmas with sources at the Redmond giant letting slip that they were planning a "major launch" with Telstra in December.
Engineering samples of a Samsung Windows Phone 7 were shown off at Microsoft's Tech Ed conference on the Gold Coast last week.
It's fair to say that in many ways this new mobile operating system is a big step forward although the lack of Adobe's Flash and a unified inbox will leave many scratching their heads.
Microsoft program manager Peter Torr told iTnews that mobile Internet Explorer lacked plug-ins although it was working with Adobe to support Flash.
This was another obstacle Microsoft needed to overcome as it resets its mobile device strategy. Another hurdle was that Windows Phone 7 lacks application compatibility with previous versions of Windows Mobile
Another missing feature - one that Apple was fixing on its iOS mobile operating system - was a unified inbox. Each email account was separate so that the only way to access unread messages was to toggle between each account. Given that most people have two accounts - for work and home - that disadvantaged Windows Mobile.
And instead of supporting as many devices as possible, Microsoft may have borrowed from Apple's play book by seeking to control the device at every level.
Microsoft was courting developers, making tools to kick start apps for Microsoft MarketPlace. Developers would need to shell out $150 for membership but that gave them access to free downloads of paid applications and the right to sell apps on MarketPlace. But corporate developers and those creating programs for internal company use need not bother as this was available for free to them.
Windows Phone 7 Office applications could be created and edited easily. Phone users liked to edit documents but didn't need the desktop experience.
At Tech Ed, Microsoft ran a conference stream on Windows Phone 7 with the centrepiece a new property app from Fairfax Media's online real estate site, Domain. Although we saw a beta running on engineering sample hardware, the user interface was very clean, buttons were big enough to be pressed with a finger and controls, such as picklists, were finger friendly.
There's no need to use a stylus any more.