Microsoft has released the latest Windows Phone Developer Community Technical Preview (CTP) for Windows 7 and the folks at XDA Developers didn't waste any time unlocking it to see what the ROM includes. Progress has been made, but time is running short for MS to finish it up, get it to manufacturers to get devices to market by the end of this year.
Since being unlocked, XDA Developers has discovered Office is now part of the package. Engadget wrote up a post about Office for Windows Phone a little over a week ago.
The uninstall mechanism for apps is also in place. When you press and hold an application's icon you can pin it to the start screen, rate and review it for the Marketplace or uninstall it. You'll no longer have to find a dedicated uninstall screen on the device or in the Marketplace app.
The phone dialer UI has also made some progress. XDA Developers has a number of screen shots of screens now available, including the dialer interface, call history and more.
As much as Microsoft has revealed about Windows Phone 7 thus far in the past two months, one critical, differentiating element that it's going to be able to lord over its competitors -- true Office support -- has been a bit of a black box. We're starting to see a little bit more about the Office team's next-gen mobile product now, though, thanks to a pair of new videos that have been published this week. The first focuses on the email and calendar experience, but we do see one pretty awesome trick when the demo opens a PowerPoint file inline from the email client, edits it, and sends it back to the original sender. The second video dives deeper on the actual Office hub, where we get a quick look at the Word editor -- and as you might expect, it's squeaky-clean and nearly UI-free, just like pretty much everything else in the platform.
Time is running short for Microsoft to meet some of the rumored release dates we've heard for some of the devices. Q4 is the timeframe we've been told devices will ship and you have to assume that Microsoft wants devices on the streets in time for the holiday shopping season. Back it up from there about three to five months which is about how long it has historically taken device makers to get the final build of Windows Mobile, put it in a device and complete carrier testing, and you are into the June or July timeframe to wrap it up, which is just 60-90 days away.
You can get more information on the Windows Phone Developer CTP at the Windows Blog, including a download link.