Microsoft’s struggles in the smartphone realm have been well documented. This year’s Kin debacle embarrassed the Redmond-based company, while the Apple iPhone, Google Android, and RIM BlackBerry continue to dominate smartphone market share.
Steve Ballmer and the rest of Microsoft hopes the new Windows Phone 7 platform changes their mobile operating system luck. Three promising smartphones from a variety of manufacturers are being offered at the platform’s launch by AT&T.
The Samsung Focus Windows Phone 7 Smartphone Provided by AT&T
Samsung’s Focus is their first Windows Phone 7 smartphone for the American market. Essentially a WP7 version of the Android-powered Galaxy S, the Focus features a 4-inch capacitive touchscreen sporting a WVGA Super AMOLED display.
A 5-megapixel camera and microSD memory support up to 32GB are also included in the Focus. The new Samsung WP7 smartphone retails for $199 through AT&T with a voice and data contract.
The HTC 7 Surround Windows Phone 7 Smartphone Provided by AT&T
The HTC 7 Surround smartphone differentiates itself from the other two AT&T WP7 handsets by providing a slide-out speaker that offers simulated surround sound through software by SRS and Dolby Mobile. A small kickstand allows the device to be placed standing up for easy media consumption.
It sports a 3.8-inch capacitive touchscreen, microSD support, and a 5-megapixel camera. The speaker makes it weigh a bit more than the other two phones. It is also available through AT&T for $199 with an associated contract.
The LG Quantum Windows Phone 7 Smartphone Provided by AT&T
LG’s Quantum provides a slide-out keyboard as its main difference when compared to the HTC and Samsung WP7 smartphones. The Quantum’s touchscreen is the smallest of the three phones at 3.5 inches, but pundits have praised the quality of the slide-out keyboard.
Most of the other features match the other two WP7 phones. A 5-megapixel camera is included, as well as the Snapdragon processor which also powers the Focus and 7 Surround. Once again, the Quantum costs $199 and an AT&T voice and data contract.
While all three phones look promising, there is little new in these WP7 phones compared to the iPhone 4 and the host of Android-powered smartphones. Microsoft is hoping that Windows Phone 7’s unique features, like Xbox Live integration, help it make up the ground lost in the last few years while Apple, Google, and RIM have grown their market share.