Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 development team are on the home straight for the initial release of the Windows Phone 7 operating system and associated applications. “In recent days Microsoft released an updated build of Windows 7 OS and an associated emulator so developers writing apps for WP7 (Silverlight or XNA Studio) can test them. This build is 6176 and is clearly labelled as being from WM7_RC1Escrow branch (see screenshots below) – highlighting that development team is now focussed on finalising the software so it can be provided to mobile handset makers. It’s unclear exactly how far it’ll be until the RC1 is completed, or if there’ll be a second release candidate (RC2) for Windows Phone 7. The current build (see screenshots below) includes a pseudo functional radio (via an FM simulation driver), dialling (via a GSM simulator) along with a number of other semi-functional apps and features – including Microsoft Office which allows creation, editing and formatting of documents in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote,” noted Paul Spain.