Samsung Devices Featuring Windows Phone 7.5 On Sale in US
Microsoft and AT&T announced the immediate availability of Windows Phone 7.5-based Samsung devices at a launch event in New York City.
Starting Monday, AT&T, which can make the modest boast of selling the most Windows Phone 7 devices, is selling two new Samsung smartphones with Windows Phone 7.5 pre-installed.
Windows Phone 7.5 has been available for several weeks from most U.S. carriers, but only as a software upgrade for Windows Phone 7-generation devices. The availability of a second generation of Windows Phone devices purpose-built for the upgraded phone OS is a milestone.
The premium device of the two is the Samsung Focus S, the successor to the Samsung Focus, which was the best-selling Windows Phone in the United States. The Samsung Focus S has a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, a 1.4 GHz processor and an 8 megapixel rear-facing camera. It costs $199.99.
The lower-end offering on AT&T is the Samsung Focus Flash at $49.99. It has a 3.7-inch Super AMOLED screen and a 5 megapixel camera.
Samsung Focus S
Samsung Focus Flash
In a major distinction from the Nokia Lumia 800 and 710 devices unveiled in late October, both the AT&T Samsung offerings have front-facing cameras. The feature should theoretically be well-integrated into the Windows Phone 7.5 experience in the near future given Microsoft's completion of the Skype acquisition and its expansive plans for the Microsoft Lync communication server.
In an announcement Monday, Microsoft also noted that T-Mobile USA Inc. has been carrying the HTC Radar 4G, another smartphone built with Windows Phone 7.5 in mind, for several days. The Radar 4G has a 3.8-inch screen and costs $99.99 from T-Mobile after a $50 mail-in rebate card.
Microsoft noted that the HTC Titan will be coming soon from AT&T as well, although it's not available yet. That smartphone's most striking feature will be a 4.7-inch screen to go with a 1.5 GHz processor and an 8-megapixel camera.
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.