Samsung bets on Windows Phone 7 as it phases out Symbian

Samsung said Friday that it had committed to Microsoft's new Windows Phone 7 operating system, planning to release "several" devices in the US, Europe, and Asia by the end of the year. The Wall Street Journal also indicated that the first Samsung WP7 phone would be released on AT&T on October 11, citing sources.

The Korean phone manufacturer's announcement coincides with its phasing out of Nokia's Symbian platform. Developers registered with the company received an e-mail this week alerting them that Samsung planned to drop support completely for the platform, yet another blow to the now aging OS.

Samsung did not provide details on the actual phones themselves, nor were any official release dates announced. Even though the WSJ report has given a date, other press reports have placed launch dates as far away as November 8 of this year.

While Symbian holds a little under half of the market share for smartphones sold worldwide, much of its success has to do with the fact that Nokia has been able to convince its competitors to use its platform. Losing a major manufacturer like Samsung is sure to speed its decline.

"Samsung's new Windows Phone 7 based smartphones will play a key role to reinforce Samsung's leadership in [the] smartphone market," Samsung product strategy chief WP Wong said in a statement.

WP7 is also equally as important to Microsoft. The company's mobile phone division has been struggling at best over the past few years, and has been unable to compete against RIM, the iPhone, and now Android. If Redmond's latest try doesn't succeed, it could spell trouble for its future plans in the space. "Windows Phone 7 is an important release," OEM chief Steve Guggenheimer said.

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