Microsoft today took the wraps off its long awaited Windows Phone 7, the company’s latest iteration of its mobile operating system. In all, Microsoft announced nine new handsets that will run the new software for 30 countries, 60 mobile operators, with launches coming in Europe and Asia on Oct. 21.
Devices running the new platform will come to the United States on Nov. 8, according to the company.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer stressed two catch phrases – "always delightful" and "always mine" – that exemplify Microsoft’s focus on user experience and personalization for the new platform. As for the user experience, Ballmer said the idea was to simplify things to the point that users can get in and out of their phone as “fast as humanly possible.”
Additionally, he stressed that making Windows Phone 7 flexible was key to allowing users to craft their own device. "Everybody should be able to take a look at a Windows Phone and say, I can represent me with this device," Ballmer said.
In the United States, AT&T customers will be the first carrier to get the device. AT&T's customers will be able to get the Samsung Focus for $199.99 when that phone is released with that carrier on Nov. 8. The HTC Surround and the LG Quantum will be available for $199.99 a few weeks later.
Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, praised Microsoft’s work on the new platform, saying that Windows Phone 7 represents a major addition to AT&T’s smartphone portfolio.
he AT&T Windows phones will come with uVerse functionality, which will allow users to watch and record shows on their phones. Additionally, de la Vega said that users can use their xBox as a uVerse receiver.
oe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Windows Mobile program management at Microsoft, gave an extensive demo of the new platform. Belfiore showed a product that is built around core Microsoft products such as its Office suite, as well as music offerings and gaming experiences that come from its Zune and xBox Live products, respectively.
Belfiore noted one glaring omission from Windows Phone 7. He said that while copy-and-paste will not ship with the phone, it will be available via an update in early 2011.