Microsoft is holding an official launch event for its new Window Phone 7 mobile operating system today. There aren’t many new details about the OS to report, since Microsoft has been showing off WP7 for months. But now we know that WP7 phones will go on sale October 21st in Europe and Asia and will start arriving in the US on November 7th.
HTC, Dell, Samsung, and LG have all introduced new handsets designed to use the operating system, with displays ranging from 3.5 inches to 4.3 inches in size. Some models have TV out capabilities. Others have slide-out keyboards. Samsung’s models will have the company’s Super AMOLED displays.
Carriers will include AT&T, T-Mobile, Vodafone, O2, Orange, and others.All told, Microsoft says 60 mobile carriers in 30 countries will be offering devices with Windows Phone 7.
EA Games has announced it will bring a series of games to the platform this fall, with Xbox Live Integration. That involves the Sims 3, Tetris, and Need for Speed Undercover.
Microsoft showed off a sneak peek at the Find my phone feature which lets users locate their missing phones from the web. This is similar to the Find my iPhone feature available for iPhone users who subscribe to Apple’s $99 MobileMe service — but Microsoft’s version will be free.
Microsoft has also launched an updated version of its Zune desktop software. Version 4.7 now includes support for Windows Phone 7 devices as well as Zune media players. There are also now more than 80 apps available for download from the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace in the Zune desktop software — although that number is expected to increase by the time phones actually go on sale.
The company has also promised that it will release an update for Windows Phone 7 that adds support for copy and paste in early 2011 — something that Microsoft has been criticized for not including in the initial release. It sounds like that update should be available for all phones from all carriers — although we’ll have to wait until next year to see if it rolls out at the same time on all carriers.
You can check out more photos from a Windows Phone 7 demo at the launch event today after the break. Overall, Windows Phone 7 is the most dramatic change Microsoft has made to its mobile operating systems in 10 years — but is it enough to help Microsoft fend off challenges from Apple, Google, and other mobile software companies?
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