Admit it: you're curious about Windows Phone 7. It's impossible to look at those sexy screenshots and not be.
Of course, short of driving to your local cell phone emporium and standing there like a dweeb, there's no easy way to test-drive the OS. (It's not like anyone you know has a Windows Phone. Am I right?)
As it happens, you can test-drive Windows Phone 7, and you can do it right on your Android phone or iPhone. For reals! Microsoft just introduced an interactive, browser-based Windows Phone 7 demo, one that gives you both the look and flavor of their please-won't-somebody-buy-it mobile operating system.
What you'll see next is an HTML5-powered page that shows you the Windows Phone 7 home screen (in all its photo-flipping glory) and lets you try all the main features: Phone, People, Messaging, Outlook, Family, and so on.
Tapping any one of these tools leads you through a semi-guided demo, one that allows you to scroll screens and flip pages along the way. If you tap where the glowing swipe and/or tap indicators tell you, you'll eventually get to the "end" of that particular demo, with the option of starting over. (On my iPhone, I discovered I could also tap Safari's Back button to return to the Windows Phone home screen.)
Truth be told, this was my first exposure to Windows Phone 7--and I liked it. The interface is just lovely, a monumental improvement over the train wreck that was Windows Mobile. There's a logic and elegance to it that, quite frankly, is lacking in both Android and iOS. I'm not saying I'd abandon my iPhone for it, only that I could see myself using and enjoying a Windows Phone.
In other words, mission accomplished, Microsoft. You gave me a little hands-on time with your redheaded stepchild of a mobile OS, and got me thinking about adoption.
What do you think of the demo? Cool? Meh? Something in between?