Microsoft on Monday unveiled the final version of its long-awaited Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system, which it hopes will give it a greater presence in the rapidly expanding market for smartphones.
The software was introduced at a news conference in New York City led by Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive officer. He said the new operating system would be available on nine handsets next month from a variety of hardware manufacturers — LG, Samsung, HTC and Dell. Some of these phones will have keyboards, Mr. Ballmer said, and others will be exclusively touchscreen.
The new phones will be available on AT&T’s network starting Nov. 8, he said, and later in the year on T-Mobile. Verizon and Sprint will offer the phones in 2011. AT& T will offer three phones, at $200 apiece.
Microsoft has a lot at stake with the new phone software. Over the past several years the smartphone market has grown exponentially. The Apple iPhone, Google Android and RIM’s Blackberry have taken the lead in customer sales.
Microsoft, which does not have a quality competing smartphone, has lagged behind. With the new operating system, it hopes to become competitive.
In his remarks, Mr. Ballmer stressed the features on the new phones that will allow people to customize their devices. “We focused in on how real people really want to use their phones when they are on the go,” he said, adding that the ability to customize the phone is what he thinks distinguishes his company’s product from others.
The AT&T phones will have its U-verse TV service, allowing users to watch live television on their devices, said Ralph de la Vega, president and chief executive officer of AT&T’s mobility and consumer market unit, who also spoke at the news conference.
Joe Belfiore, Microsoft’s corporate vice president and program manager of the Windows Phone 7 platform, demonstrated the new operating system at the news conference. He showed a homescreen that can be customized to each user, integrating social networks, messaging and integration with the Microsoft Xbox.
Mr. Belfiore also showed other unique features, including Microsoft’s Power Point slide presentation software and in-depth search integration.
Another feature is Office Hub, which offers a free integration with Microsoft’s One Note software, making it easy to share and edit documents between a Windows phone and a Web-enabled version of the software.
Consumers can also link their phones to other Microsoft products, including Xbox LIVE for gaming, Zune music and video content, and the Bing search engine. [Microsoft via NY Times, Wall Street Journal and IntoMobile]
Here’s the full list of Microsoft Windows Phone 7 Handsets:
- HTC Surround: a 3.8-inch offering slated for AT&T and Telus. Offers a sliedout peaker and 16GB of storage. Previoulsy known as the T8788.
- HTC HD7: The 4.3-inch successor to the HTC HD2, landing on T-Mobile and internationally. Known to us as the HTC Schubert.
- HTC 7 Trophy: a 3.8-inch offering that offers the lowest specs of HTC’s five WP7 handsets. Leaked as the HTC Spark.
- HTC 7 Mozart: The mother of all leaked Windows Phone handsets. Offers a 3.7-inch display and is slated to debut internationally.
- Dell Venue Pro: Previously know as the Dell Streak. The Venue Pro will land on T-Mobile with a 4.1-inch display and portrait-sliding QWERTY keyboard.
- Samsung Focus: The Samsung Cetus rebranded with its new name and launching on AT&T with a 4-inch Super AMOLED display.
- Samsung Omnia 7: The Omnia 7 is the rumored i8700 and offers a 4-inch Super AMOLED for customers in Europe.
- LG Optimus 7: A 3.8-inch offering from LG that first debuted in leaks as the E900.
- LG Quantum: a 3.5-inch side-slider slider that will land on AT&T in November. Known previously as the C900.
Note: not mentioned on this list is the HTC 7 Pro, a 3.6-inch QWERTY slider slated to land on Sprint in 2011 and the LG Optimus 7Q, a QWERTY variant of the Optimus 7.
These above handsets form the core of Microsoft’s initial Windows Phone 7 offerings. Each handset will launch on one more carriers worldwide. This exhaustive list of Windows Phone handsets organized by carrier is as follows:
In North America:
- HTC Surround, United States
- Samsung Focus, United States
- LG Quantum, United States
- HTC HD7, United States
- Dell Venue Pro, United States
- HTC 7 Surround, Canada
- LG Optimus 7, Canada
- LG Optimus 7, Mexico
- HTC HD7, United Kingdom, Germany
- HTC 7 Mozart, including France, United Kingdom
- Samsung OMNIA 7, including France, United Kingdom
- HTC 7 Trophy, France
- Samsung OMNIA 7, France
- LG Optimus 7, Spain
- HTC HD7, Spain
- Samsung OMNIA 7, Spain
Deutsche Telekom AG
- HTC 7 Mozart, Germany
- Samsung OMNIA 7, Germany
- HTC 7 Trophy, including Germany, Spain, United Kingdom
- LG Optimus 7, including Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom
In Asia Pacific:
- HTC HD 7, Singapore
- LG Optimus 7, Singapore
- HTC 7 Mozart, Australia
- LG Optimus 7Q, Australia
- HTC 7 Trophy, including Australia
All these above handsets will be available for sale starting October 21st in Europe and Asia and in early November in North America.