Live from New York, it’s the Windows Phone 7 launch

I’m in New York City this morning for the Windows Phone 7 press conference and other launch-related events. But you don’t need to be here to see the press conference: Microsoft is going to stream it live on the web as well.

It’s not up as I write this–the press conference starts at 9:30 am ET–but you can visit this Microsoft Press page as we get closer to that time to watch the event live. Press conferences are always interesting and exciting, so this will probably be no exception. :)

Microsoft also has a press-oriented video gallery for Windows Phone 7 here. And of course the public Windows Phone 7 pages on Microsoft.com have gone live as well.

My news story about the Windows Phone 7 announcement and other events is now on WinInfo.

Some photos from before the press conference:

wp7_launch_01

wp7_launch_04

wp7_launch_05

wp7_launch_06

wp7_launch_07

So far, I’ve seen Steve Ballmer, Joe B. and Brandon Watson from Microsoft, and the CEO of AT&T, who looks like the villain from a Harrison Ford movie.

T-Mobile has announced the HTC HD7, its new Windows Phone 7 smartphone.

And the event starts. Some notes from the press conference:

Steve Ballmer on stage.

Different kind of phone. Not just what, but how. Design creativity. The things you love. Focus on how real people really want to use phones on the go. Let you get in, out, and back to life. Thoroughly modern. Embraces what people do today with Internet services. Very different tact.

Two key themes. Always Delightful … Wonderfully Mine. For the consumer and for developers. Everybody should be able to represent themselves in their Windows Phone.

Twitter app shown on Ballmer’s phone. Also a pinned OneNote To-Do. Hm.

Variety of devices carted out. Lots of different form factors. 9 phones available here in the US in November. Range here. LG, Samsung, HTC, and from Dell. Some with keyboards. Some can Play To TV. Super beautiful screen. Ruggedized.

wp7_launch_06

“They are beautiful.” The hardware and software is always delightful.

Partners. Hardware makers. Over 60 mobile operators around the world. AT&T. Orange. T-Mobile. Vodafone. Etc.

Ralph de la Vega. Mobility CEO, AT&T.

Congrats, exciting day. Etc. Breakthrough smartphone experience.

Long history of working with Microsoft. First Windows Mobile device in 2003. U-Verse TV a few years later. Making history again with WP7. More smartphone customers than any other US carrier. We knew WP7 was going to be a winner.

Launching 3 amazing new devices from LG, HTC and Samsung

LG Quantum. 4.3 inch screen. 16 GB of storage. Hardware keyboard. DLNA support for Play To. $199.99.

HTC Surround. Media and gaming centric. 3.8 inch screen. 16 GB of storage. 5 MPX camera. Only smart phone with 2 speakers, Dolby Surround Sound. Sound quality is terrific. Kickstand on back. $199.99.

Samsung Focus.  Best looking screen. 4.3 inch display OLED. Amazing. 8 GB of storage. 5 MPX camera. Thinnest WP7 phone. $199.99. November 8 launch. (Other two come a few weeks later.)

New entertainment option for WP7 customers – U-Verse Mobile. Nationwide, for low monthly fee, even if you don’t have service at home. New capability: On Xbox 360 as well. Coming soon. First TV provider in the US to add this.

Joe Belfiore, corporate VP – Demo

I’ll be looking for new features, changes here.

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Smart design + Windows Phone Hubs – anticipates what you want and need, and can be customized – hubs are dedicated destinations – go there, get benefits of web services, content on phone, and third party apps

AT&T U-verse Mobile double-wide tile on the Start screen. Also the Twitter app, IMDB, eBay. Live tile for the Amazon web site (from IE).

Photo demo. Filmstrip mode by pinching to zoom on taken photos.

Outlook Mobile. Says something a bit inaccurate about Outlook for PC integration. Yes, you can flag emails in Outlook/PC and have them show up that way on the phone. But that’s Exchange Server integration, not Outlook. There’s no direction connection between the phone and Outlook/PC.

Text entry in email reply. Spent a lot of time on this. Uses the hardware keyboard. Auto-corrects on the fly. Gets applause for accuracy. Touch mistaken word to correct, correction bar pops up. (Nothing actually new here, just a good demo.)

Quick sidebar: Windows Phone apps are public now in Zune 4.7:

wp7apps

OK, back to demo…

Calendar demo. Address links launch Maps app. Zoom in close enough and it switches to satellite view. (Also not new.)

Bing – built-in search capabilities. Find stuff in the real world with dedicated hardware button. Auto-recognizes your location. Suggestions as you type. Rich experience to help you make decisions. Web, local, and news pivots. (None of this is new.)

Talk to the phone – press and hold Start. Uses Tell Me technology. (Not new.)

Hubs. There are 6. Post to a Facebook wall right from a contact card in the People hub.

Pictures. Windows Phones will be amazing for taking pictures and enjoying pictures. Gorgeous screens. Online services integration, What’s New feed. Browse photos in the cloud and on the device, simultaneously. Can add comments to photos stored on social networks. Very natural. (Nothing new.)

Office. Business scenario. Documents on phone. SharePoint access. (Not mentioned: No SkyDrive, which is pretty inexcusable when you think about it.) To-Do list in OneNote. This is the one app that syncs to SkyDrive. Can access from OneNote Web App. (Nothing new.)

Music + Video. Open to third parties. Lyrics. You Tube. iheartradio. Slacker. In a new Marquee pivot. This is actually “new” in the sense that we knew it was coming but hadn’t seen it live yet. Zune and Zune Pass stuff.

eBay, third party app. Nice use of WP pivot UI.

IMDb. Another third party app. Hub-like experience.

AT&T U-verse Mobile. Enable our partners to make meaningful value-adds, integrated in elegantly. User gets a natural experience. Hub-type experience.

Games hub. Two Game Invite requests in the Requests pivot. Collection view with Fruit Ninja Xbox LIVE game. Spotlight feed. Xbox LIVE pivot with Gamertag, avatar, achievements. New: Touch avatar, runs Xbox LIVE Extras. Change My Style and Change My Features options to change the avatar.

Games. Switches phones because they have startup time. Hm. Eelo Meelo (sp?) – Fun looking 3D puzzle game. Real 3D. Great performance. Will be available exclusively on AT&T phones this holiday season. (WTF???)

We will have EA available at launch as a gaming partner. Suite of games. The SIMS3 for Windows Phone. Xbox LIVE game.

Updates. Heard feedback. Feature we’re adding in early 2011, copy and paste. Woo!

Steve Ballmer is back

A different kind of phone. Beautiful devices from partners. Video of them.

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41 Responses to Live from New York, it’s the Windows Phone 7 launch

  1. gpsarakis says:

    What about the other press event with T-Mobile? Any idea if they’re going to be showing that one as well?

  2. jkavanagh58 says:

    Want to swap out my Droid for one of these WP7 but my hesitation is the carrier.

    • rjohn05 says:

      Dude, same here. But I am for sure going to call Verizon today and find out how much it will cost to break my contract.

  3. Pingback: Windows Phone 7 launched!! | Luca

  4. sclaflin says:

    I thought that Joe Belfiore did a great job walking us through the phone. I am not sure whether I would enjoy the WP7 experience or not. It certainly has a lot of flexibility and a lot of bells and whistles. I do like the tiles on the front page and some of the automatic functions built into it. I hope that it will be a very successful product as we need another different competitor with the iPhone and the Android phones.

  5. Ryan says:

    These look great, but they also have great competition. Honestly, I think they would be wise to try to buy their way into the market the way they did with Xbox. A win-win for them would be if they offered a free year of Zune Pass for every phone–it would boost two platforms (mobile and Zune) for one cost.

    • ne2000 says:

      According to ATTs site they’re offering a month free of zune pass and att uverse mobile with their phones, not a bad start

  6. gpsarakis says:

    So Paul which phone are you going to get now?

    • Paul Thurrott says:

      I’m trending towards the Samsung Focus. That’s the one Brandon Watson was referring to on the podcast, by the way.

      • gpsarakis says:

        I like that one as well but since I’m not in the US it seems we’ll be getting the Omnia which is a bit more square but I don’t mind.

        How do you feel about the storage options though? I think 8GB isn’t enough, and 16GB is the low end of what I’d like to get.

      • jkimrey says:

        Ditto Paul (although I’m just going by what you guys who are there show/say). :)

        Looks like it has the best screen.

        I just like the design better of the Omnia (square look), but it doesn’t sound like it’s going to be available in the US, so the Focus looks like the best option.

        One question I have – does this phone have the ability to add a memory card? Some sites are saying yes, some are saying no. That’s the only thing that worries me about this one – the 8gb storage…

      • Paul Thurrott says:

        Windows Phone doesn’t support external storage expansion.

      • sk says:

        I wish Samsung Omnia 7 was on AT&T.

      • jkimrey says:

        Paul,

        According to IntoMobile:

        One cool thing about the Focus is that it is, as far as we know, one of the only (if not the only) WP7 phone to rock an external memory card solution. Windows Phone 7 doesn’t really make any UI considerations for dealing with external memory cards, so most WP7 devices will lack a microSD card slot. Samsung confirmed to us that the Focus has a microSD card slot but it “marries it to the OS and becomes part o the device’s internal memory.” In other words, the phone “sees” the extra storage as part of its onboard memory – an impressive workaround that might make the Focus the gotta-have Windows Phone 7 device for quite some time!

        Think you could confirm whether this is true?

        Thanks

    • ne2000 says:

      on the topic of expandable storage I saw a post on Engadget that said it did support expandable storage and now this Channel 9 video says the same.
      http://channel9.msdn.com/posts/A-closer-look-at-the-new-ATT-Windows-Phone-7-Devices

      • Paul Thurrott says:

        It doesn’t support removable storage. It is apparently expandable, however. What you can’t do is plug and unplug different memory cards.

    • techesc says:

      Paul;

      I’m a little confused. When you say that Windows Phone 7 “doesn’t support external storage expansion,” are you talking about an SD card slot in the phone as supplemental storage or something else?

      A Microsoft site refers to the Windows Phone 7 OS being able to use, in some fashion, the SD slot and added memory.

      Here is the site where I caught that information:
      http://www.microsoft.com/windowsphone/en-us/howto/wp7/basics/sd-cards-and-my-phone.aspx

  7. cditty says:

    Wait for it on Verizon. I switched from an iPhone 4 (Proximity Issues after 4.1 and 4 replacement phones). I have had nothing but comments from people about how clear I sound now (and they didn’t know I switched). And, I am in a market that just got AT&T 3G about 8 months ago.

    Stay with Verizon and Droid… Switch when your contract comes up. There will be some great Windows 7 Phones then. That is what I am going to do.

  8. sk says:

    Crunchgear is already talking about how WP7 will fail. Apparently, the world doesn’t need another OS. I’m sure we’d be saying the same thing if Apple had released a new OS.

    • interframe says:

      Yep, Crunchgear and others who think like that are idiots. They’re stuck in their own little world where they think normal people actually know that Android is an OS, and that everyone in the world already has a smartphone and they will never, ever buy a new one.

      People from the Silicon Valley-area don’t understand the real world, and what people actually think/use in regards to technology.

  9. eugb says:

    What phone was Joe Belfiore demoing with?

    Thanks.

  10. techesc says:

    Very interesting event… I watched the Microsoft streaming version.

    There didn’t appear to be any new developments since the initial introduction of the interface and operating system. However, a Windows Phone 7 device is my next smartphone for sure come November 8.

    Did you see or hear anything big that didn’t find its way into the book, Paul?

    Since I am ditching the iPhone 3Gs, I will stay with AT&T and use my Samsung Focus. I have a sneaking suspicion that I’ll drop fewer calls. It will be fun to watch people react when they realize, like I believe, the connection problems are not the fault of AT&T but belong to Apple.

    I wrote a blog post about my feelings on the announcement here http://bit.ly/bj2dnn if anyone cares to take a look.

    Thanks for all you do, Paul.

  11. ne2000 says:

    Paul you have the screen size listed incorrectly on the Quantum. See ATT’s page.

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsphone/en-us/buy/7/phones.aspx#cmpid=14303000&wt.mc_id=insidernl

    I am leaning towards the Focus myself, but am amazed by how low the quoted Battery Life is compared to the others. Is that all because of AMOLED?

  12. sk says:

    Any news on email enhancements, Paul? I know there were some concerns about the lack of a universal inbox, etc. in the previous release. Has this been fixed (if so, what about the book)?

  13. pkirby11 says:

    I’m very excited but the one thing that bugs me to this day is why the delay? These look ready to go, they are polished and run well but yet we in the United States have to wait until November 8th and from the sounds of things only one phone will be availalbe that day on only one network. It’s kind of a bummer really, a bit dissapointing I have to wait almost a month and even then I’m not sure there will be a phone I want. Thats the only thing I’m dissapointed about, what happened to supporting the country that allowed you to be where you are today?

  14. garymount says:

    You might be able to add an memory card according to an article about the Samsung Focus,
    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2370586,00.asp
    “an AT&T spokesman at the launch said a MicroSD card up to 32GB could be added”

  15. dkzweitausend says:

    Hey Paul, WP7 supports SD cards!

    I think I have seen a mobile with a SD slot in its specs and the official WP7 FAQ confirms it:
    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsphone/en-us/howto/wp7/basics/sd-cards-and-my-phone.aspx

    Wrong again monkeyboy! ;)

    • Paul Thurrott says:

      Not exactly. I’ll post about this soon.

      The way to think of it is, Windows Phone does not support removable storage. You can’t pop the WP card into a PC and read it. And if you do take it out, WP will complain until you put it back. What this is, I was told, is a way to let users upgrade the storage in supported devices. But it’s semi-permanent and can’t be swapped out as on an Android device.

      • dkzweitausend says:

        Yeah I understood this too in a manner where you put your card into the device before you switch it on the 1st time.
        It still kinda behaves like Windows Mobile where you could use the SD card to store apps n stuff but now the OS won’t ask you where to put content / apps to but decides for itself.
        Therefore you may not remove / replace the SD card.

        Or do you think there is even some real “merging” here going on like on that homeservers where you put a 2nd and 3rd harddrive and it’s still only one (now bigger) drive in windows explorer.

  16. Matthew Smith says:

    Smaller availability here is Oz, but I’m looking to get probably either the Samsung Omnia 7 or the HTC HD7 which according to reports in the local newspaper (http://www.theage.com.au/digital-life/mobiles/microsoft-releases-windows-phone-7-in-australia-20101012-16gse.html) will be available in January 2011. Have to see if I can wait that long!

    Looking forward to some decent hands-on reviews.

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  18. dcavina says:

    I was curious to know if the initial release of Windows Phone 7 supports visual voicemail like the iPhone. I can’t find search results for this. One of my friends with an iPhone says that it’s probably one of the best features about that phone on AT&T. He ended up returning an Android phone he was trying out because it’s implementation is through a third party and does not work reliably (it missed quite a few voice mails). Any idea if WP7 will have a native support for it like the iPhone?

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