York – Microsoft promoted the launch of the first three smartphones shipping
with the new Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) OS at a Herald Square outdoor event that
kicks off a six-week tour designed to familiarize consumers with the OS.
The three new phones, in stores
today at prices ranging from $49 to $199, are the first 4G HSPA+ Windows phones
available in the U.S., and they will be the first Windows phones to be
supported by TV ads placed by handset manufacturers, the company said. Handset
suppliers are more actively promoting Windows Phones now because they are more
confident about the OS’s prospects a year after the launch of the first Windows
Phone 7 smartphones, Microsoft Windows Phone division president Andy Lees told
TWICE. The first wave of phones generated great reviews, high customer
satisfaction rates and low return rates, he said.
The three new phones, previously
announced without prices or specific availability dates, are the $49 Samsung Focus
Flash for AT&T, the $99 HTC Radar 4G for T-Mobile, and the $199 Samsung
Focus S for AT&T. The availability and ship date of the HTC Titan 4G for
AT&T will be announced “shortly” by AT&T, Lees said.
The Windows executive declined to
say when new Windows 7.5 phones would be launched for U.S. CDMA carriers. Earlier
this year, CDMA carriers Sprint and Verizon launched 3G CDMA Windows Phone 7
To support the new Windows Phone
7.5 devices, Microsoft is launching a series of two-day Night Markets with live
bands in five cities to familiarize general consumers with the smartphone OS’s
capabilities and ease of use, said Bill Cox, senior communications director of
the Windows Phone division. The consumer promotions will be the first such
promotions aimed at general consumers who aren’t using Windows-based phones rather
than to user-group members or “super-users” involved in the Windows Phone
community, he said.
The first of the five two-night
events start here, today.
Over the next six weeks, the
company will host similar one-night events in 20 more cities, all at
nightclubs, bars or restaurants.
The events were promoted through
Facebook and Twitter.
With the launch of Windows Phone
7.5 phones in the U.S. and other countries, Lees said he expects Windows share
to grow in part because of availability at a broader range of price points. Almost
all of the Windows Phone 7 phones introduced late last year and this year, in
contrast, were priced at $199.
Windows share will also grow, he
told TWICE, because of new OS features such as Cloud-based backup, the addition
of Nokia to the Windows family, the addition of more radio standards for use in
more countries, greater promotional activity by handset makers and the planned
purchase of Motorola by Android OS inventor Google.
Current BlackBerry users are also
looking for a new home, said Cox.
In its first year of the Windows
Phone 7 OS, Lees noted, more Windows-based phones were sold compared to Android
phones in the first year of Android’s availability. About 2.2 million Android
phones were sold in Android’s first year, he said.
Besides supporting 4G HSPA+
technology for the first time, many of the new phones also sport other upgrades
compared to the first wave of Windows Phone 7 phones. Samsung’s Focus Flash and
Focus S for AT&T, for example, feature 1.4GHz processors, and the planned
HTC Titan for AT&T features a 1.5GHz processor.
Lees is optimistic about 7.5’s
chances even though the new iPhone 4S sports 1GHz dual-core processor and other
new Android phones sport 1.2GHz and 1.5GHz dual-core processors. He pointed to
Windows Phone’s graphics accelerator processor, contending the new $49 Windows
phone will offer smoother graphics and faster HTML5 processing than dual-core
Androids phones. A graphics processor “gives the user the most amount of
perceived performance,” he said. “If you balance performance, battery life and
other aspects, in many cases we will give you a far better experience,” he
The three new Windows phones
available today include AT&T’s $199 Samsung Focus S with a 1.4GHz
processor, 4.3-inch 480 by 800 capacitive touchscreen, 16GB of memory,
8-megapixel rear camera and 1.3-megapixel front camera, HD video capture, more
than six hours of talk time and a 119-gram weight.
The $99 HTC Radar for T-Mobile
features a 1GHz processor, 3.8-inch 480×800 screen, 8GB of memory, more than
seven hours of talk time, 5-megapixel rear camera, VGA front camera and a
The $49 Samsung Focus Flash for
AT&T features a 1.4GHz processor, 3.7-inch 480 by 800 screen, 8GB of
memory, HD video capture, rear 5-megapixel camera, VGA front camera, more than
six hours of talk time and a 115-gram weight.
The planned HTC Titan for
AT&T, due sometime this year at an unannounced price, features a 1.5GHz
processor, 4.7-inch 480 by 800 screen, 16GB of memory, 8-megapixel rear camera,
1.3-megapixel front camera, HD video capture, more than seven hours of talk
time and a 137-gram weight.
All existing Windows Phone 7
phones around the world were given a Windows Phone 7.5 update during a 30-day
period ending Oct. 27, the company noted.
New Windows Phone 7.5 phones will
be unleashed in multiple waves, in contrast to the first Windows Phone launch
11 months ago in which nine
different phones were announced in one day for availability in late 2010 in
more than 30 countries. The new strategy is designed to meet carrier and vendor
schedules and needs, said Cox.