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By Bob Kovacs
Using the catch-phrase “Always delightful, wonderfully mine,” Microsoft today formally introduced its Windows Phone 7 operating system with a kickoff at a New York City press conference. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (right) said that over the next few weeks, various manufacturers will release seven Windows Phone 7 devices, with the first reaching customers on November 8.
The first Windows Phone 7 phone to be shipped will be the Samsung Focus, which features a four-inch AMOLED display, 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 8 GB on-board storage, and it will be the thinnest of the Windows Phone 7 devices in the US. The Samsung Focus will sell for $199.99 with two-year contract on AT&T.
The bulk of the announcement was a demo of Windows Phone 7 by Joe Belfiore, a corporate vice president for Microsoft. Belfiore ran through the new operating system’s features, particularly its “Windows Phone Hubs” organization.
Stating that “Windows Phone 7 will be a lot quicker and easier for people to use,” Belfiore demonstrated the tight integration that the OS has with social sites such as Facebook, as well as Microsoft’s Outlook and other productivity applications. Windows Phone 7 will also provide a smooth transition between Microsoft’s Xbox game system and the phone.
Belfiore raved about the photo quality of the new crop of Windows Phone 7 devices, and showed how quickly photos could be uploaded to Facebook for nearly instantaneous sharing. He also demonstrated how a Windows Phone 7 device can coordinate events on a personal calendar, including finding restaurants and notifying participants of a change in location.
In addition to Samsung, manufacturers releasing Windows Phone 7 devices in the next few weeks include HTC, Dell and LG.