Many of those trying to get one of the smartphones running Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 that debuted this week have been running into problems finding devices in stores.
Despite the “7” in its name, this is a almost completely new operating system with a completely different user interface from its predecessor, Windows Mobile 6.5. So it’s not surprising that potential customers want to try out a Samsung Focus or HTC HD7 before buying one.
Unfortunately, numerous shoppers are reporting that AT&T’s and T-Mobile’s brick-and-mortar stores are sold out of all Windows Phone 7-based devices. Included in these reports are often complaints that these stores don’t have functioning demo units, either.
A Microsoft spokesperson said:
“As is sometimes the case with the launch of a new product, initial supplies are tight. We understand some customers are disappointed to learn their local stores are already out of stock. We hear their concerns and are working diligently with our partners to bring more phones to stores in the coming weeks.”
All of AT&T’s devices and one of T-Mobile’s are available online for those who are willing to buy a smartphone sight unseen, or who were able to get a demonstration from somewhere.
More about Microsoft Windows Phone 7
Windows Mobile smartphones were primarily used by business people, though many pro-sumers owned them too. Microsoft is aiming its new mobile operating system almost entirely at consumers, Its new UI emphasizes social networking, pictures, multimedia, games, etc.
It works with Microsoft’s Zune music service, as well as the Xbox Live gaming service.
Still, this operating system includes some hold-overs from Windows Mobile that business users want: Microsoft Office Mobile and support for synchronizing with Microsoft Exchange.
Windows Mobile was created in the days when most people controlled their smartphone with a stylus or D-pad. Windows Phone 7 has also been redesigned to be fingertip-friendly.
Those with devices running earlier versions of Microsoft’s mobile OS should be aware that their third-party software won’t run on the latest models.
The New Devices
Microsoft requires all models running its new operating system to confirm to a set of hardware guidelines. This means that every device running it has a high-end feature set, including a WVGA capacitive touchscreen, 3G, Wi-Fi, and 1 GHz processor.
AT&T is offering three Windows Phone 7 products. The Samsung Focus has a tablet shape dominated by a 4-inch, AM-OLED touchscreen. The HTC Surround has a 3.8-inch display and an unusual addition: a panel that can slide to expose a pair of Dolby Surround Sound speakers. The LG Quantum is AT&T’s only Windows Phone 7 model with a landscape oriented keyboard. It also includes a 3.5-inch touchscreen.
T-Mobile’s HTC HD7 has a 4.3-inch touchscreen, the largest display of any model running Windows Phone 7. The Dell Venue Pro has a portrait-oriented sliding keyboard and a 4.1-inch screen.
So far, there are no models with Microsoft’s new OS that support the CDMA cellular-wireless networking standard, which leaves Verizon and Sprint out in the cold.