In what’s likely a surprise to everyone used to waiting months for local releases after any US launch, Microsoft has announced that Australia will get receive Windows Phone 7 before customers in the States. 21 October is the day to mark in your calendar for the latest phones – if you’re yet to be seduced by the allure of an iPhone.
Microsoft announced the new phones at an event in New York on Monday, which include ten models slated for release in 30 countries.
Of those, four devices will be available in Australia this year, including the HTC 7 Mozart, LG Optimus 7, LG Optimus 7Q, Samsung Omnia 7, and HTC 7 Trophy. (You may notice a theme in those model names.) Optus will be launching the Samsung Omnia 7 and LG Optimus 7 from next week, and will bundle them with an Xbox 360 Kinect or HP Mini netbook. Telstra will be launching with the HTC 7 Mozart, with LG Optimus 7Q (with QWERTY keyboard) to follow later in the year. Vodafone is launching with the HTC 7 Trophy. For more information on the plans, check out Gizmodo’s guide.
Microsoft is touting Windows Phone 7 as a ‘fresh start for the smartphone’, and analysts are clear that it’s make or break for Microsoft.
“If Windows Phone 7 devices sell in large numbers, Microsoft will rightfully be able to congratulate itself for starting with a clean sheet of paper in its efforts to return to the smartphone top table – a strategy launched by CEO Steve Ballmer in early 2009,” says Ovum principal analyst Tony Cripps. “If it fails to claw back market share lost to iPhone and Android, then Windows Phone 7 may well mark the point at which Microsoft turns its back on smartphones forever: targeting its mobile resources at creating compelling services and attracting advertising may prove a better option than beginning again with another mobile operating system, in that instance.”
“Microsoft has clearly also borrowed a lot from Apple’s smartphone toolbox by tying the device and its user experience to some tempting content and application proposition, especially the long-awaited tie up with its impressive Xbox Live service,” adds Cripp. “This should mark out Windows Phone 7 devices as favourites for committed gamers, although there’s also plenty here for media hungry and web savvy users.”
It does indeed appear that Microsoft is targeting gamers: Windows Phone 7 will launch with a number of games available via the Xbox Live service, including a few made popular on the iPhone (though Angry Birds won’t be one of them – the icon appeared on a Windows Phone 7 website, though Rovio has said it has not committed to making a WP7 version).
Also interesting about the launch is the fact that apps for Windows Phone 7 devices will be available for purchase via your phone account (Telstra has announced it will support the feature), rather than by credit card, as is the case for the iPhone.
It’s too early to see how WP7 will perform, but let us know in the comments what you think of the announcements.