Microsoft officially launched its Hail Mary pass in the U.S. smartphone market Nov. 8, with the release of Windows Phone 7 on AT&T and T-Mobile. The software company is betting that the new smartphone operating system and accompanying array of devices will help it recapture mobile market share lost over the past several quarters to the likes of the Apple iPhone and Google Android.
AT&T is offering the Samsung Focus and HTC Surround for $199 with a two-year contract. T-Mobile's first Windows Phone 7 device, the HTC HD7, retails for the same price with data plan.
Windows Phone 7 relies on six subject-specific "Hubs," such as "People" and "Games," as opposed to the iPhone's or Android's grid-like screens of individual apps. Microsoft has also imposed fairly strict hardware requirements on its manufacturing partners, dictating that all devices feature three mechanical buttons, a 1GHz processor and a generously sized touch screen. Those manufacturers, in turn, tweaked that basic design with their own hardware editions: the HTC Surround features a slide-out speaker and kickstand, while the Samsung Focus boasts a slim body.
Windows Phone 7's availability is restricted to GSM-based networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile until early 2011, when the smartphones are slated to appear on Verizon.
For more, read the eWeek article Windows Phone 7 Launches on AT&T and T-Mobile.