LG Electronics' Windows Phone 7 Smartphone Launches on ATandT

LG Electronics' first Windows Phone 7 smartphone, the LG Quantum, has now launched on AT&T. Microsoft hopes Windows Phone 7 will prove a hit.

LG Electronics' first Windows Phone 7 smartphone, the LG Quantum, is now available through AT&T. That marks the fourth device running Microsoft's new smartphone platform, which is hopes will carve market-share away from both Google Android and the Apple iPhone.

The LG Quantum features a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and 3.5-inch touch-screen. Under the hood, the smartphone includes a 1GHz processor and 16GB built-in memory, 5.0-megapixel camera with flash, and a 720p HD video recorder. The Quantum retails for $199 with a two-year contract.

In a bid to attract users who might otherwise gravitate towards a rival device in the Windows Phone 7 ecosystem, LG is offering 10 new apps every 60 days, through the Application Store preinstalled on its devices. The 10 apps will hail from a variety of categories, including social connectivity and gaming, and supposedly have a $30 retail value.

"When we pledged early this year to support Microsoft's smartphone strategy, we knew we were making a decision that had the potential to create ripples in the ecosystem," Chang Ma, vice president of LG's mobile communications strategy team, wrote in a Nov. 4 statement. "Microsoft's commitment to the developer community is well known and respected in the industry, and we look forward to seeing this partnership with Microsoft lead to greater things."

Windows Phone 7 made its debut in the U.S. market Nov. 8. In addition to the LG Quantum, the first devices out of the proverbial gate include the HTC Surround ($199) and Samsung Focus ($199), both offered on AT&T, and the HTC HD7 ($199) on T-Mobile. Despite one early report indicating that some 40,000 Windows Phone 7 smartphones sold during the first day of release, neither Microsoft nor its carrier partners have confirmed any hard figures.

Microsoft realizes that third-party developers are a vital component of whether Windows Phone 7 will succeed or fail. Over the summer, as it prepared to launch the platform, the company reportedly offered cash and other resources to developers in hopes of enticing them to build applications for the platform.

Microsoft's overall smartphone strategy rests on three self-described pillars: smart design, integrated experiences, and an optimized ecosystem. "The problem is that smartphones are just app launches; they're a grid of icons," Andy Lees, now president of Microsoft's Mobile Communication Business, told an audience during this summer's Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington, D.C. "We figured there's got to be a better way than going app by app by app, so two years ago we fundamentally reset our strategy."

Windows Phone 7 offers six subject-specific "Hubs," including "Office" and "Games," which aggregate applications and Web content. No matter what the device running the operating system, Microsoft hopes that the user interface and apps will attract those consumers who might otherwise gravitate towards a smartphone-and allow the company to reclaim market-share that steadily declined during the days of its Windows Mobile franchise.