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Windows Phone 7 devices available in October

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, unveiled Windows Mobile 7

So Windows Phone 7 is out there and pretty slick it looks too. Even Stephen Fry, a long time critic of Microsoft’s mobile strategy was present at the launch event in London to say, ”Microsoft finally gets it”.

There will be a handful of devices available in the UK from October 21, with HTC, as you might expect, leading the charge. LG, Samsung and Dell were also present in the lineup. By the time the platform launches in the US in November there will be nine devices in total.

The interface marks “a renewed focus on the consumer” and is a pleasant detraction from previous versions of Windows Mobile, finally doing away with the stylus and the need to drill down through several layers of menus. In fact, with its ‘Live Tiles’ feature, Microsoft has gone one better than the rash of icon-based interfaces, pulling out contextual information from apps and displaying it on the home screen. Naturally, there is direct integration with the Xbox Live and Zune services, as well as social network streams such as Facebook and twitter.

All the devices unveiled at the launch borrowed the now familiar ‘glass slab’ form factor, and it has been noted that Microsoft has clearly borrowed a lot from Apple’s smartphone toolbox by tying the device and its user experience to some tempting content and application proposition, especially the long-awaited tie up with Xbox Live. “This should mark out Windows Phone 7 devices as favourites for committed gamers, although there’s also plenty here for media hungry and web savvy users,” said Ovum principal analyst Tony Cripps. But “If Microsoft does fail to make the headway we’d expect with Windows Phone 7, it may decide that it’s not worth the time, expense and uncertainty of heading back to the drawing board again.”

Yes, there’s a huge amount resting on the launch of Windows Phone 7 and if it fails to claw back market share lost to iPhone and Android, then this may well mark the point at which Microsoft turns its back on smartphones forever. But, said Cripps: “If Windows Phone 7 devices sell in large numbers, Microsoft will rightfully be able to congratulate itself for starting with a clean sheet of paper in its efforts to return to the smartphone top table – a strategy launched by CEO Steve Ballmer in early 2009.”

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One comment

  1. Phones4Education 13/10/2010 @ 12:12 am

    This all looks very interesting and I am sure it will be a big hit but, what will be the compatibility with programs such as Act? And incorporating it with SIP extensions?

    Will you be able to connect with Microsoft Lync? formerly Office Communications Server.

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