Windows Mobile 7 'Maldives' test program reportedly on track for Q1 2010 release to OEMs

Ballmer may have wanted it to be out yesterday, but it looks like the initial release of Windows Mobile 7 may now finally, actually be in sight. According to ZDNet Taiwan, the mobile OS is now on track for a release to OEMs for testing (the so-called "Maldives" program) sometime in the first quarter of 2010, and will be launched publicly sometime in the third quarter of the year (or about a year after the release of Windows Mobile 6.5) -- all of which more or less lines up with earlier rumors of a release to manufacturing in Spring 2010. If past history is any indication, however, it seems likely that the earliest builds of the OS could be circulating around the usual channels well before that -- probably right on the heels of the release to OEMs.