Microsoft recently announced that nine different phones runiing Windows Phone 7 would ship before year end. Windows Phone 7 is their new mobile operating system (OS).
The Windows Phone 7 OS differs from its rivals by organizing activities around hubs rather than individual applications. Microsoft says disparate applications can tend to confuse and overwhelm disorganized phone users.
Another innovation is the use of tiles rather than icons, which Microsoft says will let users see essential information and real time updates without opening a specific program.
According to Microsoft they have partnered with HTC, Dell, Samsung and LG to bring the devices to 60 operators in 30 countries during the coming weeks.
Microsoft SA said that devices running Windows Phone 7 would be available to South African consumers in time for the December holidays.
This has been reaffirmed by John Press, Business Development Manager for Windows Phone at Microsoft SA.
“I can confirm that Microsoft in conjunction with its partners will be bringing devices to the SA market before the end of the year, the details of which will be communicated in the coming weeks,” said Press.
These won’t include devices from Samsung, nor the elusive ASUS device that got caught on video at Gnomedex, a technology conference held in the USA.
Paulo Ferreira, who handles mobile product and business solutions at Samsung South Africa, says that the plan is to have Windows Phone 7 handsets in the local market by the first quarter of 2011.
There is a concern that Samsung’s support for Windows Phone 7 would come at the cost of support for their other smartphone platforms, such as Android and Bada.
When questioned about this Ferreira said that it’s all about offering consumers a choice of device and platform. Ferreira added that the amount of research and development invested in any platform will be linked to that platform’s market share.
This implies that the platform that enjoys the largest user base will also receive the most R&D spend on support.
Steven Tu, marketing manager at ASUSTeK South Africa said that they can’t comment on the phone that had appeared at Gnomedex.
“As always, Garmin-Asus seeks the best for our consumers either on Android platform or on Windows platform. However, we see the potential of Android platform devices, so we are focusing on Android platform currently,” said Tu.
It also seems unlikely that we’ll see Garmin-Asus in South Africa anytime soon, whether they’re running Android or Windows Phone 7.
“Our first priority is to meet the growing demand of ASUS products already in the country by expanding our consumer retail footprint, only thereafter will we be expanding our South African product portfolio,” explained Tu.
LG, Dell and the distributors of HTC products in South Africa (Leaf International Communications) were contacted to provide details on potential local availability of their Windows Phone 7 devices but didn’t provide comment by the time of publication.
Windows Phone 7 in South Africa: Samsung, ASUS details << Comments and views