Earlier this morning Microsoft officially unveiled its Windows Phone 7 launch portfolio. We were expecting the launch today, but now we have official word on what devices are coming out and on which operators / carriers.
According to the press release for the launch, nine Windows Phone 7 handsets, from device-makers such as Dell, HTC Corp., LG and Samsung will be available this holiday season in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and Australia. In addition, more than 60 mobile operators in over 30 countries are on board to bring Windows Phones to the masses. I should also mention that Windows Phone 7 is launching on GSM first, but other non-GSM carriers, such as Sprint and Verizon, have plans to bring Windows Phone 7 devices to market in 2011.
Here's a quick rundown of which devices are going to be available worldwide, in time for the 2010 holiday season:
United States AT&T: HTC Surround, Samsung Focus, LG Quantum
T-Mobile USA: HTC HD7, Dell Venue Pro
Canada TELUS: HTC 7 Surround, LG Optimus 7
Mexico América Móvil: LG Optimus 7
Europe O2: HTC HD7, HTC 7 Mozart, Samsung Omnia 7, HTC 7 Trophy, Samsung Omnia 7, LG Optimus 7, HTC HD7, Samsung Omnia 7, HTC 7 Mozart, Samsung Omnia 7, HTC 7 Trophy, LG Optimus 7
In Asia Pacific: SingTel: HTC HD 7, LG Optimus 7, HTC 7 Mozart, LG Optimus 7Q, HTC 7 Trophy
The other big news around the launch is gaming. According to Microsoft, EA plans to have a number of games for Windows Phone 7 available this fall, with all of them being Xbox LIVE-enabled.
So, what's the true reason why someone would switch to the Windows Phone 7 platform? According to Microsoft it's going to be about Glance and Go. Windows Phone 7 was designed to
"deliver a mobile experience that has the phone working better for people, bringing together the things they care about most and helping them to get things done faster."
I'm all about optimizing my phone time, and having a "Glance and Go" experience, but I have yet to see that experience delivered with Windows Phone 7. Perhaps I'm too used to my Android and iPhone experience to fully appreciate the optimization that Windows Phone 7 is promising? That said, if I'm too used to it, the masses are probably in the same boat as me. Then again, if I'm a gamer and can bring my Xbox LIVE experience with me on the go, that could be enough of a differentiator.
I'm definitely excited to see these phones finally come to market. I've been playing with a pre-production unit for a while now, and even though it wasn't running final hardware or final OS, it was snappy and a far better experience than I had expected.
Now that Microsoft has shown the world that it's committed to mobile, it will be more about price point. As we've seen, Microsoft could be delivering a far better experience than what's available today, but if the company doesn't work with the carriers to deliver a great product at a great price point, Windows Phone 7 will suffer the same fate as the KIN.
Now that Windows Phone 7 is officially released, I'm hoping to flash my pre-production device and test out some of the new features. Let me know in the comments if there's anything in particular you'd like me to try.
One more thing: Matt Miller has posted a great piece on what Microsoft has learned. It takes a look at what the other players in the space have done right in the market and how this time around, Microsoft is copying some of the most successful parts.
UPDATE: Windows Phone 7 devices won't be available until November 8th, but you can get an idea of what's coming to market by clicking around the official launch page.