Windows Phone 7 hits US wireless carriers today

U.S. Wireless network operators AT&T and T-Mobile began selling their first three Windows Phone 7 devices today: the Samsung Focus, HTC Surround, and HTC HD7. These are the first of ten Windows Phone 7 launch devices to be made available to United States customers.

Today is an important day in the life of Microsoft's new mobile operating system; it's the first day it steps out into the U.S. smartphone market where Google's Android and Apple's iOS operating systems have been gaining momentum.

Fortunately, these first steps are very strong because WP7 is launching right between the "extremes" created by Android and iOS.


Android is regarded by tech pundits as a sort of runaway train of form factors and OS development branches which result in serious fragmentation.

Apple's iOS, on the other hand, is frequently regarded as too limited, with only a single handset option for consumers and harsh guidelines for software development.

Microsoft's approach to WP7, as Greg Sullivan, Senior Marketing Manager, Windows Phone told us back in January, was to give strong guidance to their hardware partners so they could tightly integrate the software platform, without sacrificing the flexibility in handset design.

What has resulted is a good selection of devices with a fairly uniform experience among them.

Across the ten WP7 smartphones from HTC, LG, Samsung, and Dell, for example, the base hardware specs and retail prices are all the same, though the handsets may differ in design.

Of course, there are a couple of immediate limitations. Such as the fact that Windows Phone 7 will be available exclusively on GSM networks until 2011. So Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and other CDMA networks are sitting out of today's launch events. They will, however, have WP7 devices soon enough.

In its advertising push to the public, Windows Phone 7 is being painted as the smartphone environment that users don't have to constantly stare at in order for it to be useful; and that it can help users shed the bad real-world habits many smartphone users have developed.

US Consumers will be able to get their hands on a WP7 device for the first time today at AT&T and T-Mobile stores, and the one-on-one marketing of WP7 can finally begin.

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