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.
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.
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.
With the LG Panther, MP3s can be moved over to the LG Panther and Windows Phone 7 Series simply by dragging or dropping, and the Zune player will automatically download your album art for you. Pocket Lint went on to say that the LG Panther runs the operating system very smoothly, with an intuitive touchscreen. Better yet, its definitely going to go on sale when Windows Phone 7 Series is ready.
The LG Panther has more than a hint of Nokia N8 about design, with a thin chrome strip around the display and edges that also feature a familiar shape. The LG Panther is about as far as you can get from the Nokia N8, however, as this handset also features a full sliding QWERTY keypad, and runs Microsofts brand new Windows Phone 7 Series operating system.
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.