Windows Phone 7 Launch: What Handset Goes Where?

The big news on Columbus Day here in America is Windows Phone 7. It's a mobile operating system from Microsoft that was originally launched months back at Mobile World Congress, and it has grown and evolved over the months leading up until today. At launch events in New York City and in the UK, Microsoft revealed the next major part of their plan: hardware.

A mobile operating system is only good as the hardware that it's loaded on, and the company is making sure that consumers have a wealth of hardware options. Windows Phone 7 handsets are expected to launch later this month in Europe, while Americans will not see their phones until November. In both cases, they'll arrive before Christmas, so that's huge for Microsoft and their stockholders. At the very least, Windows Phone 7 is offering a compelling alternative to Android and iOS, particularly for those who enjoy Netflix, Xbox LIVE and U-verse TV. Microsoft's WP7 OS ships with native integration of Netflix streaming, Slacker Radio, Xbox LIVE (access to Xbox LIVE features such as Friends, Avatars, Achievements, Messaging and more), Zune and a totally customizable home screen. You'll see social networking updates flow in from your friends (something that resembles the Kin user interface), and you'll be able to do a lot of tweaking right from the start.

But the OS has been around. You know what to expect there, but what about hardware options? A lot of phones were introduced today, so here's a guide about what phone is coming to what carrier:

LG Quantum and Optimus 7Q - will cost $199.99 on a 2-year contract with AT&T in the U.S.
LG Optimus 7 - international release available in over 35 countries; pricing is TBD

Dell Venue Pro - available only on T-Mobile USA for $199.99 on a 2-year contract

HTC HD7 - available only on T-Mobile USA; pricing is TBD

HTC Trophy and Mozart - international release (UK, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany) on various carriers; pricing is TBD

HTC 7 Pro - coming to Sprint in early 2011 for $199.99 on a 2-year contract

HTC 7 Surround - coming to AT&T in the U.S. and Telus in Canada; $199.99 on a 2-year contract on AT&T

Samsung Focus - coming to AT&T in the U.S. for $199.99 on a 2-year contract
Samsung Omnia 7 - release and pricing is TBD

Another interesting point is that a number of these phones have screens that are larger than 4", and many of them have unique form factors. There's a very eclectic bunch launching in just a few weeks/months for Microsoft, and it's fairly robust as far as new mobile OS launches go. You'll notice that only the HTC 7 Pro is on a CDMA carrier, and it won't come until next year. This means that Sprint and Verizon consumers will have to wait much longer to get WP7 phones, and exact release dates and model numbers are very scarce in that regard.

Also, these launch models all rely on 1GHz processors, so performance should be rather unified across the board. It should be interesting to see which phones end up selling the best -- with so many to choose from, we're sure Microsoft will be viewing carefully to see what designs work and which do not. And we're sure Android / iOS teams are ramping up their next builds as we speak in order to stay one step ahead.