Windows Phone 7 is the new smartphone operating system from Microsoft. Instead of continuing the development of the Windows Mobile series (currently at 6.5), which has struggled to compete with both the iPhone and Android devices, Microsoft decided to “reboot” their smartphone operating system taking a fresh new look.
In a break from previous smartphone efforts Microsoft decided to have complete control over the hardware specification allowing manufacturers and carriers to modify only the applications and hubs that are provided on device. They also get closer access to the hardware enabling applications such as LG’s Look n Type messaging application that shows the live camera feed and ScanSearch that provides augmented reality search facilities with the camera.
The minimum hardware specific for Windows Phone 7 devices is:
- WVGA 480×800 or HVGA 320×480 screen.
- Capacitive touch screen with at least 4 contact points.
- GPU acceleration with DirectX 9 support and video acceleration.
- ARMv7 Cortext/Scorpion or better CPU.
- At least 256MB RAM, 8GB Flash or more.
- A-GPS and accelerometer sensors.
- 5 mega pixel camera or better, with LED flash and dedicated shutter button.
- Dedicated hardware buttons for Back, Start, and Search.
The WP7 Device Hub at WMPoweruser.com lists all the confirmed and rumoured Windows Phone 7 devices with specifications.
 At launch (and at the time of writing) only WVGA devices are available.
The Metro Design Language
The Windows Phone design team took inspiration from sources included Swiss-influenced print and packaging, transportation signage, and the Zune client software to create a design language called Metro to be used as the guiding principles for designing and developing Windows Phone 7 applications.
Metro Design Principles
- Typography: Use the right balance of font weight and positioning to create a visual hierarchy and help lead the eye to more content.
- Motion: Use consistent motion and animation to bring the interface to life.
- Content not Chrome: Remove all chrome to bring content to the forefront.
- Honesty: Design explicitly for the form factor taking into account the high resolution screen and touch-based interaction.
If you want to learn more about the Metro design language, you should check out the Metro Design Language for Windows Phone 7 tutorial on the Microsoft design .toolbox and From Transportation to Pixels by the Windows Phone Design Team.