Microsoft is jumping into Windows Phone 7 with both feet. There'll be nine WP7 handsets available globally this year (three from AT&T and two from T-Mobile in the U.S. next month starting Nov. 8), and at least one more — The HTC 7 Pro for Sprint, the first CDMA Windows Phone 7 we've seen — in the first half of next year.
Here are the nine (plus one) handsets:
Dell Venue Pro (T-Mobile)
LG Quantum (AT&T)
LG Optimus 7 (Europe/Asia)
HTC HD 7 (T-Mobile)
HTC Surround (AT&T)
HTC Mozart (Europe/Asia)
HTC Trophy (Europe/Asia)
HTC 7 Pro (Sprint)
Samsung Focus (AT&T)
Samsung Omnia 7 (Europe/Asia)
Most of these phones share common hardware and software attributes: slab-style with a 3.5-inch or larger display, 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 5MP digital camera and HD camcorder, 16GB of memory, stereo Bluetooth, integrated Mobile Office, Outlook and OneNote, multiplayer Xbox Live gaming, and U-Verse subscription video. Variations we know of: the Samsung Focus will have just 8GB built in, the HTC Surround features a slide-up Dolby stereo speaker and a kickstand, as does the HTC HD7, and both the LG Quantum and the HTC 7 Pro sport slide-out QWERTY keypads.
Navigation and usage is smooth and easy on all the models. Scrolling and screen swiping is instantaneous and natural as on an iPhone. The autocorrect software on the touchscreen QWERTY's produced nearly perfect, mistake-free text, and is sure to convert hardcore physical keyboard lovers.
On the down side, the accelerometer on all the phones I played with seem to be slow, as if the phone were waiting for us to confirm our orientation choice. While the physical camera key got us to the camera quick, they all seemed a bit firm and are likely to produce blurry shots indoors.
Two of these phones stand out: The lightweight 9.9mm thin Samsung Focus, a doppelganger to the company's Galaxy S Fascinate (the Verizon model) with its 4-inch super bright AMOLED screen (although the camera shutter is sluggish) , and the HTC HD7, a doppelganger to the company's Incredible, featuring with a crisp 4.3-inch screen, the largest in the Windows Phone 7 portfolio.
For the latest tech stories, follow us on Twitter at @dvice