Microsoft has finally unveiled its Windows Phone 7 (WP7) with carriers AT&T and T-Mobile. The stakes for success are high: Several analysts have stated that given the failure of the Microsoft Kin social networking phone, this is Microsoft’s last chance to make an impact in the smart phone arena. The first WP7 devices will reach stores Oct. 21.
The initial launch features phones based on the new operating system from Dell, HTC, LG and Samsung. T-Mobile showcased two phones: the HTC HD7, with a 4.3in screen with built-in kickstand, Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and preloaded entertainment apps including Netflix and T-Mobile TV (which includes free programming from ABC News Now, Fox Sports and PBS Kids); and the Dell Venue Pro, with a 4.1in touch screen, slide-out QWERTY keyboard, 5-megapixel camera and Snapdragon processor.
AT&T will release three WP7 smart phones by the holiday season: the HTC Surround, which features a 3.8in screen, Dolby Mobile and slide-out surround-sound speakers; the LG Quantum, with a preloaded app for streaming videos, music and pictures to DLNA-enabled TVs, stereos, Windows 7 PCs and other CE devices, as well as a slide-out QWERTY keyboard for Office Mobile; and the Samsung Focus, with a Super AMOLED screen and a thin form factor.
AT&T plans to release its upcoming Windows Mobile 7-based smart phones with U-Verse Mobile preloaded. The preloaded U-Verse Mobile app will enable all users, whether they are current U-Verse subscribers, to search available programming for download over WiFi. For current U-Verse TV subscribers, the app will allow them to manage home DVR recordings.
Also on tap for a WP7 phone is Sprint Nextel, which plans to sell the HTC 7 Pro in the beginning of 2011. Samsung plans to release several WP7 devices by the end of 2010, and Verizon Wireless said it would release a WP7 device in 2011.
According to Windows Phone engineering Vice President Terry Myerson, the WP7 has been rigorously tested on almost 10,000 devices with more than 500,000 hours of active self-hosting use, 3.5 million hours of stress tests and 8.5 million hours of automated test passes. Handsets will ultimately be available from more than 60 operators in 30 countries worldwide.