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Microsoft Unveil Windows Phone 7 with Partners

Windows 7 Mobile Images
Windows 7 Mobile Lineup
\r\n\r\nMicrosoft today joined its partners in revealing nine new Windows Phone 7 handsets that will be available this holiday season from leading mobile operators inNorth America,  Europe and Asia Pacific. With more than 60 mobile operators in over 30 countries worldwide committed to bringing Windows Phones to market, the millions of people around the world looking for a phone that plays as hard as it works will have a variety of phones from leading device-makers to choose from.As for the two other major U.S. wireless carriers, Microsoft promises that Verizon and Sprint will have phones in 2011, and that “select models” would be sold at Microsoft Stores and on Amazon.  Microsoft is gearing up for another attempt to take on RIM’s BlackBerry, Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android, and other smartphone contenders.\r\n\r\n The hardware \r\nAT&T’s phones include the HTC Surround, LG Quantum and Samsung Focus, all pictured up top. They all have 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, capacitive touch screens and 5-megapixel cameras. They will each sell for $199.99 with a two-year contract.\r\n\r\nThe HTC Surround has pop-out speakers and uses Dolby’s mobile technology, for better sound when watching movies. It has a “kickstand,” so that it can be propped up on, say, an airplane tray table, without the use of severely bent paperclips, intricate origami or a $30 case.The LG Quantum has a slide-out real QWERTY keyboard, so it will be favored by BlackBerry converts and people who don’t like software keyboards. AT&T says it will also play music and video wirelessly via home networks to compatible devices, so you can, say, stream a song to a Sonos wireless music system with a tap of the screen. The Samsung Focus, scheduled to be the first Windows Phone 7 device to hit retail in the U.S., on Nov. 8, is the thinnest. At 9.9mm, it’s nearly (but not quite) as thin as the iPhone 4.\r\n\r\n T-Mobile’s core offering, due out mid-November, will be the HTC HD7, also with a 1GHz processor and a 5-megapixel camera. The HD7’s distinguishing feature is a 4.3-inch touchscreen, which is the same spacious size as the HTC Evo and Motorola Droid X. Like the Surround at AT&T, T-Mobile’s HD7 also has a kickstand. \r\n\r\n The sales pitch \r\nMicrosoft CEO Steve Ballmer as saying that Windows Phone 7 is “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.”\r\n\r\nClearly, the marketing strategy Microsoft is employing is to show how different Windows Phone 7 is, interaction-wise, from Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android. The trouble is, Android is doing gangbuster business precisely because it resembles the iPhone (while selling on all four carriers and in many configurations). Microsoft’s zag-while-everyone-else-zigs strategy may be risky, but no more risky than being perceived as more of the same.\r\n\r\n Why you’d buy \r\nSo what does make Windows Phone 7 “different”?  For starters, there’s the “glance and go” interface of “Live Tiles,” customizable plates on the home screen that update regularly, so that users don’t have to open apps, or wait for pop-up alerts, to receive new information. (Android users could argue that “widgets” serve a similar purpose, though they tend to be app-specific). Another differentiator is the Xbox Live integration. Microsoft is definitely sticking it to its gaming console competition.\r\n\r\nAnother differentiator is the Xbox Live integration. Microsoft is definitely sticking it to its gaming console competition.\r\n\r\n


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