The October 11 Windows Phone 7 launch date has been floated around for several weeks now. Citing sources "familiar with the launch plans," the Wall Street Journal says that not only is Microsoft going to announce Windows Phone 7's availability that day, but it will do so with AT&T and offer up not one but three handsets.
The three handsets, which were not named, will be made by LG, HTC, and Samsung. On Thursday, Samsung confirmed plans to offer Windows Phone 7 handsets later this year. The Journal's sources say that the devices will become available starting the week of November 8, which is just ahead of the holiday shopping season.
AT&T will -- at least from the start -- be the only carrier to offer Windows Phone 7 devices. Microsoft has been aggressive at shoring up its smartphone portfolio in recent months, adding several high-end Android handsets in addition to BlackBerries, the iPhone and now Windows Phone 7.
At this point, it is no secret that Microsoft is holding an event on October 11. The company has, however, said the event is focused on its worldwide businesses and isn't to be focused solely on mobile. The Journal says that satellite events will take place in other cities on October 11 in conjunction with the NYC launch.
If the Journal's anonymous sources aren't enough to convince you, it's worth noting that Microsoft plans to begin accepting applications for approval in the Marketplace for Windows Mobile starting in early October. Microsoft has said that it expects most apps to be approved within five or so days. That fits into the October 11 launch date very well, as it means there should be a solid number of apps available in the Market when the handsets go on sale in November.
Windows Phone 7 is Microsoft's complete reboot of its mobile operating system. Microsoft's older Windows Mobile 6.x platform lags the smartphone competition badly. The company needs this launch to be successful for many reasons. If WinPho7 fails, it is possible Microsoft could lose its relevancy in the mobile space.