Reports: Windows Phone 7 handsets to arrive 21 October

Smartphones running Windows Phone 7 will hit shop shelves around Europe on 21 October, according to several reports.The devices will go on sale then in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, the reports said.

Smartphones running Windows Phone 7 will hit shop shelves around Europe on 21 October, according to several reports.

The devices will go on sale then in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, the reports said. Microsoft will splash out on a number of launch events in the run-up to release, with Orange joining forces with the software maker for the UK debut, according to Neowin, quoting "sources familiar with the software giant's plans".

The date fits the likely timeframe, given that Microsoft completed development of its new mobile OS at the beginning of September and looks set to hold an open house to promote it in New York on 11 October. Despite this, it isn't expected to arrive in the US until early November, and then only on GSM networks.

Windows Phone 7 marks a clean break with its predecessors, and the fresh start includes the use of technologies such as Silverlight. The new mobile OS has come under fire for its lack of some key features, such as the ability to cut and paste.

HTC, Samsung and Dell are among the handset makers that have signed up to sell Windows Phone 7 smartphones at the launch, and details of some devices have started to leak out.

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