Meet the New Windows Phone 7 Smartphones

Windows Phone 7 had its coming out party earlier this month, and with it came the first official look at a host of WP7 devices that will go on sale in the coming weeks. Microsoft showcased phone models from Dell, HTC, LG, and Samsung; there were nine models in all, though several of them aren't bound for our shores (they'll be sold only in Europe and the Asia Pacific region).

Windows Phone 7's beefy minimum hardware specs limit handset diversity somewhat-all models listed here use 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, a 5 megapixel camera, and 800x480 resolution displays, for example--but the half-dozen models coming to the US and Canada in the near future still manage to offer an interesting array of features and physical designs. (Unfortunately, none of them offer a front-facing camera.)

Although the shiny new hardware was the major focus of Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 launch event, there was a notable announcement regarding the operating system itself. Copy and paste-- conspicuously absent from the initial Windows Phone 7 release-- will be coming hot on its heels. Due to customer feedback, it will be delivered to all Windows Phone 7 devices in "early 2011".

It's also been revealed that contrary to prior assertions, at least some Windows Phone 7 devices (including the Samsung Focus) will provide storage via micro SD cards, but this won't make for easy upgrades since replacing a card will require a hard (destructive) reset of the phone.

The Hardware

AT&T will get first crack at Windows Phone 7 with the aforementioned Samsung Focus, available November 8th. Two more devices from AT&T, the HTC Surround and LG Quantum, will go on sale a few weeks later. T-Mobile's first Windows Phone 7 device, the HTC HD7, will hit the streets in mid-November, with another model, the Dell Venue Pro, to follow in time for the holidays. For its part, Canadian carrier Telus will also offer the HTC Surround (which it calls the HTC 7 Surround, though it's the same phone) plus one additional model, the LG Optimus 7.

AT&T has announced that their Windows Phone 7 devices will sell for $200 (with the customary two-year contract), while T-Mobile and Telus hadn't yet announced pricing of their models as of this writing. It's worth noting that other than the HTC (7) Surround which will be available from both AT&T and Telus, the models are exclusive to their carriers and markets, at least for now.

Read on for descriptions of the new crop of Windows Phone 7 handsets that will be available in the US and Canada in the near future.

AT&T

Samsung Focus

At .43-inches thick and tipping the scales at about 3.9 ounces, the first-to-market Samsung Focus is the lightest and thinnest of the phones announced so far. The Focus also sports the same 4-inch Super AMOLED display found on the company's Galaxy S series of Andriod phones.

LG Quantum

The LG Quantum has a 3.5-inch display and is the only WP7 device out of the gate with a slide-out horizontal keyboard. It also has a voice-to-text capabilities and support for DLNA media streaming.

HTC 7 Surround

Although it lacks a slide-out keyboard, the HTC 7 Surround sports a slide-out Yamaha speaker bar that offers SRS and Dolby surround sound. There's also a built-in kickstand for hands-free use.

T-Mobile

HTC HD7

The HD7 is the spiritual successor to the Windows Mobile 6.5-based HD2, which while popular, had the misfortune to launch in the wake of the Windows Phone 7 announcement earlier this year. (The HD7 is essentially an HD2 with an added kickstand and three front panel buttons instead of five.) The HD7's distinguishing feature is its 4.3-inch display, the largest of the initial crop of phones. Due out Nov. 8.

Dell Venue Pro

Dell's Venue Pro is the most physically unique of the bunch. It's the only model with a slide-out vertical keyboard, a la Palm Pre. The Venue Pro also has a 4.1-inch AMOLED display covered with the scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass found on the iPhone 4 and some other smartphones.

Telus

LG Optimus 7

The LG Optimus 7 lacks the LG Quantum's physical keyboard, but makes up for it with a larger display (3.8 inches instead of 3.5) and has the same DLNA streaming and voice-to-text features as the Quantum.

But wait, there's more…

Sprint

HTC 7 Pro

Although it wasn't shown at Microsoft's launch event, HTC announced that its new HTC 7 Pro would be available from Sprint sometime in the first half of 2011. Like the LG Quantium, the HTC 7 Pro has a slide-out physical keyboard but it also boasts a 3.6-inch adjustable tilt screen similar to the current HTC Touch Pro 2.

Windows Phone 7 Handset Quick Reference Chart

Model

Carrier

Display size

Internal Storage

Physical Keyboard

Price (w/contract)

Dell Venue Pro

T-Mobile

4.1-inch AMOLED

8GB

Yes (vertical)

TBA

LG Quantum

AT&T

3.5-inch

16 GB

Yes (horizontal)

$200

LG Optimus 7

Telus

3.8-inch

16 GB

No

TBA

HTC HD7

T-Mobile

4.3-inch

16 GB

No

$199

HTC 7 Surround

AT&T/Telus

3.8-inch

16 GB

No

$200

HTC 7 Pro

Sprint

3.6-inch (tilting)

8 GB

Yes (horizontal)

TBA

Samsung Focus

AT&T

4.0-inch AMOLED

8 GB

No

$200

 

TAGS:

Microsoft, mobility, mobile, smartphones, Windows Phone 7

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