Windows Phone 7 Arrives In U.S. - InformationWeek

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Windows Phone 7 Arrives In U.S.

Microsoft believes the OS's slick new interface will keep people from bumping into trees and dropping their phones in toilets.

Windows Phone 7, considered by many analysts to be Microsoft's last chance to be a player in the increasingly important smartphone market, officially went on sale in the U.S on Monday.

Microsoft's Windows 7 Revealed
(click image for larger view)
Microsoft's Windows 7 Phone Revealed

AT&T Wireless is Microsoft's primary launch partner for Windows Phone 7.

The carrier is now offering the Samsung Focus and HTC Surround, both for $199 with a two-year contract.

The devices also require a minimum data plan priced at $15 per month in addition to standard minutes charges. AT&T also is offering no-contract versions of the phones for $499. It subsequently plans to introduce a third Windows Phone 7 smartphone, the LG Quantum.

T-Mobile, the other U.S. carrier for Windows Phone 7, is currently selling the HTC HD7 for $199 with a two-year contract and minimum, $15 data plan. T-Mobile also will launch the Dell Venue Pro at a later date.

Consumers' best bet for getting their hands on a Windows Phone 7 device quickly appears to be the carriers themselves. Best Buy is only advertising the HTC Surround as "coming soon," while Amazon is already hawking the LG Quantum, but notes the phone is on a back order of eight to nine days.

Windows Phone 7 devices, regardless of manufacturer, will deliver a common user experience based on an interface Microsoft calls Live Tiles. The tiles, six in total, allow users to quickly access calling, social media, messaging, photo, e-mail, and personal applications and services. They also deliver real-time information to the main interface.

In ads that are part of a $400 million marketing push behind Windows Phone 7, Microsoft says the design allows users to, "Get in, get out, and get on" with their lives. In a somewhat bizarre press release Monday, Microsoft claimed the Live Tiles interface will "end bad phone behavior."

The company cited a research study that, among other things, found that 19% of phone owners between 18 and 24 have dropped their phone in a toilet. The study also found that 49% of adults have bumped into something or tripped while texting or e-mailing. What's not clear is how Windows Phone 7's design is supposed to end such accidents—unless the company believes devices based on the OS won't be used very much.

Gartner predicts the release of Windows Phone 7 will help bump Microsoft's share of the worldwide mobile OS market from 4.7% in 2010 to 5.2% in 2011, but says the company's share will ultimately fall back to just 3.9% by 2014 as competitors Apple and Google continue to gain steam with the iPhone and Android, respectively.

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