Microsoft has officially launched Windows Phone 7, with ten new smartphones running the tech giant's much-anticipated operating system set to hit the market from October 21st.
Handsets unveiled at simultaneous press events in New York and London included the HTC Surround, HTC 7 Mozart, HTC 7 Trophy, HTC 7 Pro and HTC HD7. Alongside these were LG’s efforts the Optimus 7 and Optimus 7Q, while Samsung and Dell are coming to market with the LG Omnia 7 and LG Focus and the Dell Venue Pro respectively.
The Surround and 7 Pro are surprise additions to HTC’s line-up, having failed to show up in any of the welter of device leaks prior to the official launch. Optimised for entertainment, the Surround is exclusive to the US and packs a slide-out speaker with integrated Dolby Mobile as well as a 3.8-inch touchscreen. The 7 Pro features a 3.6-inch screen, plus a five megapixel camera with HD video recording and 16GB of storage.
The 7 Mozart offers a 3.7-inch touchscreen and an eight megapixel camera with flash and Dolby Mobile audio. The handset, which was perhaps the most familiar of the new handsets to tech fans after repeated leaks, is an Orange exclusive. Meanwhile, HTC’s 7 Trophy is exclusive to Vodafone in the UK and teams a 3.8-inch WVGA touchscreen with a virtual surround sound via SRS WOW HD technology.
Finally, the HD7 – the latest in HTC’s range of HD-branded, media-optimised handsets – packs an industry-leading 4.3-inc touchscreen and a five megapixel camera. O2 has secured exclusive rights to sell the HD7 in the UK and will be free on a £40 per month 24-month tariff.
LG has sought to distinguish its two Windows Phone 7 handsets by bundling them with some impressive services. Not least among these is the Play To DLNA multi-media sharing platform, plus the Scansearch augmented reality-style search assistant. A voice to text service is also featured to make it easy to compose emails and and update social networking profiles on the go.
The South Korean company’s deadly domestic rival Samsung's handsets are the Focus and the Omnia 7. The latter is home to a 4-inch super AMOLED display of the kind that helped the Galaxy S stand out in the crowded Android phone market and a five megapixel camera with HD recording.
3 has become the first UK carrier to a pre-order date for the Omnia 7. The black edition of the phone will be available to pre-order from October 12th black on The One Plan for £40.00, the Internet Texter 900 for £38.00 and Internet Texter 500 for £35.00 per month.
Dell’s contender, the Venue Pro, is perhaps the handset that attracted the least fanfare and offers a spec sheet very much in line with its competitors. As such, onboard you'll find a 4.1-inch touchscreen, a 1GHz processor and a five megapixel camera.
HTC’s devices are widely expected to garner the lion’s share of sales for the handsets. Not least because of the company’s new found appeal to the mass market and huge success with smartphones running Google’s Android platform.
Peter Chou, Chief Executive Officer of HTC Corporation, said: “Windows Phone 7 is an entirely fresh mobile experience, on which HTC is excited to be going big. We see tremendous customer opportunities with the integration of Microsoft’s most popular services like Xbox LIVE and Zune.
“The value Microsoft is bringing to mobile customers around the world sets a new benchmark for the industry.”