The launch hasn't exactly been a secret. The mystery has always been the launch date. In late 2010 after WP7 launched, Verizon was offering a special promotion just for Microsoft employees, allowing them to pick up a phone for $199, receive a $100 credit on their bill if they renew for two years, and get some accessories for free. The signup for the original promotion ended December 31, 2010. They extended that offer a few months later to end on May 5, a date a bit closer to the actual release date. The deal was sweetened a bit too. Microsoft will reimburse the employee for the cost of the phone, so basically, Verizon will apply a $100 credit to the Microsoft employee's bill and give them a leather case and car charger while Microsoft will pay for the phone itself.
So what is the HTC Trophy? Verizon lists the specs as 1-GHz Snapdragon processor with a 3.8" WVGA screen. It has 16 GB of onboard storage and is a world phone, an important feature if you travel the world and need to get on GSM networks when abroad.
The phone costs $199, but there is a $50 mail-in rebate they are counting on you forgetting to send in. Minimally, you have to subscribe to a $39.99 nationwide voice plan and a $29.99 unlimited smartphone data package.
The phone's specs aren't bleeding edge, but it will hold its own against the competition. The question now is how will this help Windows Phone's share? Just being sold by Verizon isn't a guarantee to move the needle. Palm's share with webOS barely blipped in 2010 when Verizon started carrying the Pre Plus. To be successful, WP7 needs to be on as many networks as possible, but it will need more than that to really gain share. The Mango update later this year may help some, but the biggest kick should come once Nokia starts shipping devices. You'll have to stay tuned to see how that goes.
In the mean time, if you are on Big Red and have been wanting to try out Microsoft's new OS, next Thursday is the day.