Updates to this story
Microsoft has today revealed its Windows Phone 7 lineup, which will include nine new smartphones launching in more than 30 countries, with over 60 different mobile operators, an attempt by the software giant to take the market by storm and become a contender to the iPhone and Android.
While the spec of each phone will differ, depending on manufacturer and target audience, all of them will feature one of Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors which have become a staple for many smartphones on the market.
HTC is one of the main contributors to the new lineup, announcing four Windows Phone 7 handsets. It will be releasing the Surround, HD7, Mozart, and Trophy.
LG will launch the Quantum and Optimus, while Samsung will release the Omnia and Focus. Dell will launch the Venue Pro, which sounds less impressive than its peers.
Windows Phone 7 will come packed with a variety of apps and features, including Bing for search, Zune for music, Windows Live calendar, Office OneNote Mobile, and a new Find My Phone service which will allow users to remotely ring, lock, or erase data from their phone for free, a service which usually requires a subscription on other devices.
It will also be Xbox LIVE-enabled, allowing access to a variety of mobile games based on successful Xbox titles, while Live Tiles will allow users to customise their experience.
“We have a beautiful lineup in this first wave of Windows Phone 7 handsets,” said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. “Microsoft and its partners are delivering a different kind of mobile phone and experience — one that makes everyday tasks faster by getting more done in fewer steps and providing timely information in a ‘glance and go’ format.”
A little birdie told us that Stephen Fry, who is usually out talking up the iPad was speaking at the London launch event, ditching his iThingies for what we presume is a bigger cheque. E-Week's Peter Judge reported Fry as saying: “WP7 is fun to play with. Has faults, but so did iPhone at start.”
We were also informed of the planned opening of a new Microsoft store in the Mall of America which is directly opposite and only feet away from an Apple Store. Talk about direct competition. At least Fry won't have as much walking to do.
The Windows Phone 7 devices are expected to have a large global appeal, with launches planned for North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. Carriers will include AT&T, T-Mobile, TELUS, América Móvil, O2, Orange, T-Mobile, SFR, Movistar, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, Three, SingTel, and Telstra.
Many of the phones will be release in the run-up to Christmas, with the first becoming available in the UK on October 21. Others in the range will launch in early 2011.
Microsoft launched a video to advertise Windows Phone 7. It's fun - but it raises questions about what Microsoft truly wants from its OS. If it's truly engaging it will contribute to the behaviour seen in the clip. If it's not, then it's probably no good.
Dell Venue Pro