Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 will launch in early November with AT&T as its exclusive U.S. carrier, according to a Wall Street Journal report, presumably before expanding to other carriers.
Microsoft and AT&T will release a set of Windows Phone 7 smartphones
through the carrier in early November, according to a Sept. 30 report in The
Wall Street Journal. That would follow the smartphone platform's widely expected
to the Journal, AT&T will be the "initial exclusive U.S.
carrier" for Windows Phone 7, releasing three devices manufactured by HTC,
Samsung and LG Electronics. The Journal's sources included unnamed "people
familiar with the launch plans."
Speculation abounds that Microsoft will host a high-profile launch for
Windows Phone 7 in New York City
Oct. 11. However, Microsoft's only official New York
event that day-at least so far-is its annual Open House. A Microsoft
spokesperson's Sept. 30 e-mail to eWEEK declined to mention the products
on-view at the Open House, but suggested: "This season is a big one for
Microsoft with the launch of Xbox Kinect and Windows Phone 7, as well as new
stuff from Windows Live, new Windows 7 PCs, great shopping services from Bing
If the Open House follows in the footsteps of Microsoft's summer events,
Windows Phone 7 and Kinect will indeed make appearances. Microsoft will host a
party the evening of Oct. 11 that could also double as a Windows Phone 7 "launch."
Microsoft is making a considerable bet that Windows Phone 7 will reverse the
company's mobile market share slide. In addition to the Apple iPhone and Google
Android, the company also faces competition in the enterprise from Research In
Motion, which seems determined to revive its own fortunes with new devices such
as the BlackBerry Torch 9800.
"We missed a generation with Windows Mobile. We really did miss a
release cycle," Microsoft CEO Steve
the audience during his July 12 keynote at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner
Conference. However, he promised, "We will give you a set of
Windows-based devices that people will be proud to carry."
Unlike Android and the Apple iPhone, which rely on gridlike screens of
individual apps for their user interface, Windows Phone 7 aggregates Web
content and apps into a series of subject-specific "Hubs" such as "Office"
Deutsche Bank analyst Jonathan Goldberg has estimated Microsoft's Windows
Phone 7 marketing tab at $400 million, not including the already-substantial
development costs for the platform. On top of that, Microsoft has reportedly
offered financial incentives to mobile-applications developers, trying to
entice them into building apps and games for the platform.
Windows Phone 7 will appear first on GSM-based cellular networks such as
AT&T's, before being available on CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access)
carriers-including Verizon-in the first half of 2011.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.