Loads of choices with Windows Phone 7

windows 7 phone imageWindows has finally announced launch dates for nine new WP7 handsets. Despite the name, the new Windows 7 phones are more than Microsoft’s desktop OS simply jammed onto a handset (an often-stated and apt criticism of the unpopular Windows Mobile).  Some models will be available in European and Asian markets by October 21st, and by early November in the US.  Established manufacturers like Dell, HTC, LG, and Samsung are producing these handsets, which will be compatible with most carriers world-wide. The handsets produced by these companies will include the latest Snapdragon processors.  A full list of the handsets can be viewed over at the blog Engadget.

Microsoft’s slogan for the Windows 7 phone OS, “Glance and Go”, fits with their plan to deliver a product that streamlines everyday tasks.   This would be partially accomplished by using WP7’s customizable “Live Tiles”, which is what they call their updated interface. The difference between Windows Phone 7, and competitors is that other platforms are fundamentally app launchers with screens full of icons, WP7 has a set of  dynamic tiles which update with changing content from the phone’s apps. The idea is that all that’s relevant to a user is not buried inside apps, but highlighted on the phone’s primary screens.

EA Games has also announced Xbox Live-enabled games for Windows Phone 7 in the fall. Titles include “Need for Speed Undercover”, “Tetris”, “Monopoly” and “The Sims 3.” Xbox Live integration is a feature that I’m excited about, since I (like most tech folks) love video games.  Windows also touts Metro, their slick new UI, and integrated support for  Microsoft Office Mobile, Zune, Bing, and Windows Live (which includes a free “Find My Phone” service).