Slowly but constantly Microsoft gets serious with its upcoming Windows Phone 7 launch. What was announced back in February as an upcoming launch during this year's holiday season (whatever it means for a European aka Microsoft means Christmas), today Microsoft reached the biggest milestone for the internal Windows Phone 7 team: The release to manufacturing (RTM) of Windows Phone 7! This means, while the final integration of Windows Phone 7 with Microsoft's hardware and software partners software as well as carriers is underway, the work of the Redmond-based internal engineering team is largely done and the code is good enough to be released to the partners as it is!
According to Microsoft's Window Phone blog, Windows Phone 7 is the most thoroughly tested mobile platform Microsoft has ever released and Microsoft said that it has nearly ten thousand devices running automated tests daily, over a half million hours of active self-hosting use, over three and a half million hours of stress test passes, and eight and a half million hours of fully automated test passes:
We've had thousands of independent software vendors and early adopters testing our software and giving us great feedback. We are ready.
That said, Microsoft has received some further feedback since it released the Technical Preview milestone which it was able to respond to and improve the design throughout the OS. According to Microsoft, folks loved the Facebook integration in the People Hub, but they also wanted ways to filter their contacts so only the Facebook friends they really know will show up in their contact list (I've also mentioned this in my Windows Phone 7 hands-on thoughts) and therefore Microsoft has added this feature! Furthermore, Microsoft unveiled, that it also made it easy to "like" a post right from the People Hub, or quickly post a message to someone's Facebook wall directly.
While ODMs are now receiving the golden code of Windows Phone 7, it's still unclear when exactly Windows Phone hit a carrier or store but if Microsoft unveils that it has reached the RTM-stage, it couldn't take too long anymore.
Cheers ~ Arne